Hiding burn marks in laminate countertop?
August 8, 2007 7:20 AM   Subscribe

How should I treat burn marks in a bathroom laminate counter top so that my corporate landlord doesn't ding me? Any advice before I start into it with sandpaper, chisels and paint?

My internet research suggests replacing the counter top entirely, as laminate can't be easily repaired. However, I don't need it perfect, I just need it to be not obvious to the corporate employee that walks through when surveying the apartment.

I've got my "normal wear and tear" arguments ready to go. I'm pretty sure I understand the legal, ethical, and interpersonal ramifications of my situation. I'm really after handyman advice.
posted by GPF to Home & Garden (15 answers total)
Are these from cigarettes left on the counter?
posted by mds35 at 7:26 AM on August 8, 2007

My internet search shows...
posted by Blue Buddha at 7:27 AM on August 8, 2007

Burns are from wife's hair tools.

Blue Buddha - your google fu is strong.

Any personal experience?
posted by GPF at 7:34 AM on August 8, 2007

So, most of the sources Blue Buddha links gs="repair laminate counter" suggest cures for small cuts, and peeling. Anything beyond that they recommend replacing the counter entirely.

The burns in question have caused some bubbling of the plastic and would require sanding or cutting into the surface. To fine-tune my question, "will sanding or cutting in preparation for applying putty or paint make such a mess that an amateur would just make matters worse?"

Thanks for the replies!
posted by GPF at 7:42 AM on August 8, 2007

Are they burns or discolouring? Have you tried using a Magic Eraser?
posted by dancinglamb at 7:42 AM on August 8, 2007

When I rented, I used wallpaper on an old, cracked bathroom counter. Was a bitch to maintain, but looked nice. The only laminate repair I've done was use a ceramic filler type of product (for use on appliances) on a white countertop. That didn't look great because the damage was too great, like a crater with the sides upturned from the previous tenant not taking care of it quicker. I'd go with the simple DIY methods first.
posted by Blue Buddha at 7:43 AM on August 8, 2007

Oops. Just saw your clarification. Is the sink separate from the counter or is it one of those all in one tops? If it's all in one, it might just be more cost/time efficient to replace it with a stock piece from Home Depot/Lowes. All you really have to do is slap it on, install the faucet, and caulk.

Then again, it might just be easier to eat the cost and let your landlord deduct the amount from your security deposit.

Definitely get your wife one of these.
posted by dancinglamb at 7:47 AM on August 8, 2007

As long as they are just "marks" and not "melts," I have had tremendous success with soft scrub (with bleach) for all sorts of marks.
posted by Eringatang at 8:03 AM on August 8, 2007

This is hard to answer w/o an idea of the size and number of the burns.

Remember that you're not looking to repair, you're looking to change the appearance to make it as inconspicuous as possible. You hope they overlook it or make it such that you can claim it was missed on the previous inspection.

Remove the surface imperfections as necessary and try to get the scorch out or cover it with a matching color. You can buy small 3oz paint samples at Benjamin Moore or other paint companies and apply it with your fingertip to try to blend.
posted by phearlez at 8:05 AM on August 8, 2007

I have had success in the past using specialist paints like this melamine paint. It goes on pretty easily and it's not that expensive. If the total counter area is relatively small, paint the whole lot and probably no-one will be any the wiser. Unless the bubbling is gross, I would suspect that it might be less obtrusive just to paint over it rather than try to remove it.
posted by Jakey at 8:16 AM on August 8, 2007

Tangentially, that silicone trivet is half the price or less if you buy it from the kitchen department of any store or website rather than hair-related sites.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:24 AM on August 8, 2007

To summarize what's been said and suggest you don't specifically need to buy laminate filler:

Carefully gouge out the burns. Fill the depressions with anything super-hard, such as a good epoxy. Carefully sand down the epoxy so you don't scratch up the existing undamaged surrounding laminate. If you apply the epoxy carefully it may "pour" and gently coax into the depression and settle flat, making sanding unnecessary. Apply some appliance paint or a heavy enamel (potentially with epoxy-like stuff in it, like the paint used to repair scrapes on ceramic covered metal washing machines) to your filler. If the countertop is white, it's a breeze--just buy white hard-drying appliance paint. If the countertop is a mottled faux-marble or somesuch, buy some brown and black (or whatever colors you need) and kind of dab them on filler for a mottled effect that blends in with the marbling.

It's a theatrical effect, but most people just never examine countertops closely enough to notice.

This has worked brilliantly for me.
posted by Shane at 10:49 AM on August 8, 2007

Oh, and if the countertop is white or mottled-white, you can often just gouge out the burns just a little and fill right up with white appliance paint (the kind with epoxy in it for repairing ceramic-covered metal appliances.) This type of paint is often so thick that one or two coats act as a filler as well as cover paint.
posted by Shane at 10:56 AM on August 8, 2007

There's a putty that body shops use to fill in dents. You can get it at car supply places.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 3:28 PM on August 8, 2007

Thanks all!
posted by GPF at 4:58 PM on August 8, 2007

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