If your once shiny laminate floors have become dull and smudgy, then you know how frustrating it can be to try to correct this.
Of course, laminate flooring has come a long way since the mid-1990s when Pergo introduced it to the U.S. retail market.
Back then, there were very few design options for laminate flooring. Laminate floors weren’t designed with “shiny” in mind.
But soon, Armstrong, Mannington, and others began manufacturing laminate floors as well. Where there are competitors, there’s competition.
As a result, today’s laminate floors are even harder and more durable than ever. You can select from many styles, colors, shades, textures, and sheens. They can truly be anything you want them to be.
Despite this, you may find yourself wondering why your laminate floors don’t look as good as they did when they were first installed. What do you do now that they aren’t as fresh-looking or they’ve become dull?
In this article, we’ll identify:
- Possible causes or reasons for your laminate floors’ dull appearance
- How to make your laminate floors shine
- How to keep your laminate floors looking shiny and new
Why Do My Laminate Floors Look Dull?
There are a few reasons for this type of situation. But few of these are likely to cause your laminate floors to become dull overnight. Dulling usually happens gradually.
Causes of dull laminate floors can include:
In high traffic areas, the cause is the traffic itself. This is the most common cause of dulling. This kind of dulling is also an example of the gradual kind.
Not all floor cleaning products are alike. Not all are intended for laminate floors. The wrong product can leave your floors with a dull film.
If your laminate floors have suddenly become dull, some thought should be given to the product most recently applied to your floors’ surface. If there’s been a recent change, this is the likely culprit.
A dusty film will leave any surface looking dull. Again, consider another cleaning product if dust seems to be returning more quickly than it once did. Something in the product might be attracting it or causing it to stick. This would cause small amounts to remain after dry-mopping.
The accumulation of dust, dirt and inappropriate cleaning products combined can leave your laminate floors looking dull and lifeless.
Of course, the finish on today’s laminate floors almost invariably involves UV protection. Where a floor is exposed to bright sunlight for several hours daily, it will remain protected from the damage caused by the sun’s ultra-violet rays.
However, while the most advanced form of protection from ultra-violet rays is blended into the floors’ finish, it is not a completely impenetrable armor.
Moreover, UV protection will do nothing to protect your floors from the heat that direct sunlight throws off. Heat takes its toll on the surface of almost anything. Even if a section of your laminate floors is exposed to temperatures that are only somewhat elevated, the duration of the exposure is where the difference lies.
Over the course of a few years, exposure to higher temperatures can cause the exposed section of the floor to become dull and worn out.
For hardwood and engineered hardwood floors, it’s possible to sand, stain, and refinish the affected section.
Laminate floors are a different story. Replacement of the affected section should be considered.
Will Polyurethane or Paste Wax Make My Laminate Floors Shine?
Laminate floors are prefinished when they leave the factory. The finish is described in terms of “sheen”. The most common types are high gloss, semi-gloss, satin, and matte.
Depending on the type of finish applied during manufacture, your laminate floors might not have been intended to have a very glossy look. This would be the case with satin and matte finishes.
If your laminate floor was purchased with a semi-gloss pre-finish, then it was intended to be, you guessed it; somewhat or semi-glossy.
Any attempt to change the sheen type is likely to result not only in failure but quite possibly, a ruined floor.
Laminate floors are somewhat more flexible than hardwood and engineered hardwood. Typically, any finish that you apply would be very rigid once it dries and cures. Application of a rigid finish over a flexible board would likely result in a compromised finish.
Ultimately, the new finish would crack and flake until the entire floor looked like it came down with a serious case of dandruff. Removing the most recent application without damaging the original finish underneath would be next to impossible.
More importantly, the application of anything not intended for your laminate floor can void the warranty.
Application of a polyurethane coating or paste wax is something that can’t first be tested in a small, inconspicuous area of your floor. The flexibility of the floor versus the rigidity of the polyurethane or hardened wax finish on top of it is what’s being tested.
With this in mind, applying the finish in an inconspicuous area will not offer an accurate simulation of the conditions.
How To Make Dull Laminate Floors Look Shiny and New
The best way to accomplish this is to first, get the floor as clean as possible.
If you’re considering a change of cleaning solution, you should know that solutions that contain acid in any form, should be avoided. This includes vinegar. The internet is filled with suggestions to use vinegar on finished flooring. Using vinegar in such cases is a big mistake. Acidic solutions do not help a floor’s finish. Acid is a corrosive that breaks down the finish. This makes it far more difficult to keep a floor clean and shiny.
There are better and more effective ways to remove the build-up of residue that’s causing your floors to look dull.
Things You’ll Need:
● Floor Vacuum: A floor vacuum is the best and fastest way to remove surface debris and dust from your laminate floors. If you don’t have a floor vacuum, you can use your carpet vacuum’s hard floor setting or floor accessory attachment. As long as whatever you use doesn’t have a beater bar, this will do the job.
● Flat Mop: A mop with a reversible head offers either side of the mop pad for use without the need of switching between mopping and dust mopping.
● Microfiber Cleaning Pads And Dusting Pads
● A Clean Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
● Deep Cleaning Solution For Laminate Floors: Some manufacturers of laminate floor cleaning solutions offer a deep cleaning solution in their product line-up. Others offer a general-purpose, laminate floor cleaning solution. In this case, the deep cleaning type is called for. If you can find one with a spray nozzle, this is even better.
Be sure to clear the room of furniture, décor, and other objects. It’s easier to simply move these than it is to try to work around them repeatedly during the process.
Use your vacuum to remove all dust and loose debris from your laminate floors. If your vacuum doesn’t pick up well along edges and around corners, consider using a dust mop in these areas.
Then follow the dust mop by wiping these areas with a damp cloth. It’s important not to have any loose particles on the floor before applying the deep cleaning solution.
Next, apply the deep cleaning solution according to the directions on the label.
This can be followed up with a laminate restoring solution. If you do this, try to use a product made by the same manufacturer as the deep cleaning solution.
Once you’re done with this process, your laminate floors can be cleaned regularly using a cleaning solution intended for routine cleaning of laminate floors.
Again, try to purchase items from the same product line. That way, if you need help or have any questions, you need only call a single source at a single phone number.
How to Keep Your Laminate Floors Looking Shiny and New
The less dust and debris that are allowed on your laminate floors, the better. Allowing either or both these things to accumulate can cause your laminate floors to become dull and tired-looking. Be sure to remove dust and debris regularly with a floor vacuum or microfiber dust mop.
Follow up the dusting frequently with a damp mop cleaning. Simply spray a fine mist of water from a spray bottle onto your laminate floors. Then buff the floor dry with the dusting side of your mop pad.
Damp-mop cleaning doesn’t need to take place every time you dust your laminate floors. But if your household has a lot of activity, pets, and heavy traffic, you should consider damp mopping every few days. Use a general floor cleaning solution for laminate floors every two or three weeks or as necessary.
Above all else, be sure to follow the recommendations of your laminate floors’ manufacturer and follow the directions on product labels.