Options for fixing laminate counter tops
Dear Angie: I have laminate countertops and it seems somehow part of them got discolored, they are dark counters and it looks like a coffee mug with bleach on the bottom was set on the counter. Is there any way to have that small area 'touched up' or do I need to replace the entire counter? – Angela B., McCordsville, IN
Dear Angela: Bleach might not be the culprit, as it typically doesn't harm laminate tops, unless the top surface of the countertop – the melamine – has worn off. Other household products that have high acidity or harsh chemicals, drain cleaners for example, could be the source of the problem.
Unfortunately, there aren't many effective ways to repair laminate countertops. You do, however, have a few options.
Depending on the age of the countertop, you might be able to track down the manufacturer to find a replacement piece for just that section. One drawback is that adding a replacement section usually means more seams on the countertop, so the transition won't be as seamless. Another downfall is that the color of the existing laminate countertop surface has likely faded over time from the ultraviolet light from the sun. Since the patch piece probably has not been affected, the repair would be more obvious in the color discrepancy.
One relatively inexpensive option would be to add a counter saver. These cutting boards can be installed in a damaged countertop by cutting out that section of the top, putting the counter saver in its place, and sealing it with a metal trim. Depending on where on the counter the stain is located, though, this might not be practical.
There are some companies out there that do spot repair, where repairs are blended to match the existing surface. If the area is too large for a spot repair, you could have the countertop refinished in a color of your choice. Many companies refinish laminate countertops for less than what it would cost to replace them.
Ultimately, you might not be happy with the aesthetic appearance of the repaired countertop. It might be a better value to replace it rather than spend hundreds of dollars repairing the existing one, only to find you're still not happy with its appearance.