Is there a way to make a worn laminate floor shine again? There are a couple of areas in my house where lots of traffic seem to have dulled the shine on our laminate (pergo) floor, as well as where I foolishly have used a rolling chair at my desk with no mat. Is there anyway to get something close to the original shine back?
According to their web site at http://na.pergo.com/HowTo_FAQ.aspx they state:
Pergo floors must never be waxed, polished, sanded or refinished and never use a wet or jet mop when cleaning.
Given that Pergo's surface is just a printed substrate, odds are the printing, itself, has faded. Probably time to replace.
An easy 'fix' might be to get some runners (narrow rugs) to cover the heavily trafficked areas.
That said, given that it's a printed surface, one option--if you don't want to pull it out and replace completely--might be to repaint it. Talk to a paint professional to see if there are any primers that would work on the Pergo. You could then roll on a new painted finish.
You can make the following test:
Damp mop the floor (A microfiber dust mop sprayed with 1/4 strength vinegar works for this)
Take a look at the floor while wet. This is the best you can hope for.
If the wear has gone through the aluminum oxide protective coat, and taken out the paper "wood coat" all you will get is a darker version of the blah base layer. If the problem is scratches in the oxide coat then you may be able to make some recovery.
Everything I've read says, "don't varnish laminate" If you are faced with "varnish it or replace it", it may be worth a try.
I HAVE NOT DONE THIS. Beware!!
Aluminum oxide is a very inert surface. Getting an actual bond between varnish and it will be difficult. You may be successful if you have a clean freshly sanded surface. Experiment in a corner, or on scraps of material from when you put it in.
I would suggest:
Sand lightly with 600 grit paper. Note: If you are through the oxide coat even light sanding will destroy the image. STOP.
Wash with 2 tsp tri-sodium-phosphate in a quart of water. Put it in a spray bottle. Wet a microfiber mop, and spray the floor or the mop as needed. This will remove foot oils, dog drool, stick bits from spilled food.
Clean the mop, and do it again. Repeat this until the mop is clean when you finish. This may take several passes.
Clean the mop, and do it one more time, this time with plain water. This removes any TSP residue.
Clean the mop. Leave it damp.
Put some water soluble floor varnish in a squeeze bottle, or narrow neck bottle like a beer bottle. Pour a 2" diameter puddle near one corner, and wet the mop in it. move the mop back and forth to get it uniformly wet. Do your floor.
As needed pour a thin stripe of varnish in a pattern that the whole mop will pick up.
This puts a VERY thin layer of varnish on the floor. This layer will be dry in about half an hour. Take a picture of the shine. Put on another coat. Let dry Take another picture. Is this coat shinier? (Put your mop in a plastic bag while the floor is drying.)
- Repeat until the floor is as shiny as you want it, or until it stops getting better looking.
The idea here is that the varnish is filling in the scratches in the oxide coat. As long as it's filling it in, it will get shinier. Once you have a complete layer over the top of the ridges, it stops. Overall you are putting more varnish in the cracks than on the ridges.
The varnish is NOT as hard as the oxide coat. You will likely need to do this every year or two. Likely you can repeat in the trafficked areas only sometimes. Or you may find that the edges of the room take only one coat while the centre takes 2 or 3.
If the varnish fails to get a grip on the oxide coat, it will peel. You can end up with a mix of peeling parts and well stuck parts. This will NOT make an image for Better Homes and Gardens, but may earn you karma posting it here on diy.SE. However if the option is replacing the floor, you don't have a lot to lose. Everything I've read says it won't stick. But that is said of polyethylene and paint too, and paint sticks just fine to PE pots. So far I can't find anything that says why it won't work, and what happens when you ignore the results and try it.