Yes, it is quite possible to burn laminate flooring, but obviously, it is something that’s neither recommended nor preferred. Before you do anything in that direction, you need to be well aware of all that’s involved when it comes to avoiding burning the laminate flooring and if it happens, how to fix it quickly.
Laminate flooring is a multi-layered synthetic flooring material. Generally, it’s created to seem exactly like natural wood to enhance the appeal and value of your home while enduring normal wear and tear. Although there are various types of laminate flooring, overall, laminate flooring is regarded as a robust, cost-effective, and low-maintenance surface. Since we are trying to understand different issues around burning laminate flooring, it is important to figure out if it is even safe to burn it.
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Risks of Burning Laminate Flooring
Due to the fact that this sort of flooring is constructed from linked layers of pressed wood fiber that are coated in beautiful foil, it is not fireproof. These are joined using melamine resin, which is then lacquered with a protective covering. This protective covering has both formaldehyde and phenols, which generate various harmful gases such as nitrogen oxide when burned. The laminate flooring is combustible as a result; however, it will only burn briefly and at a low temperature.
Despite the fact that wood accounts for 80% of laminate flooring, it should never be scorched or burnt in the same way that other wood products are. The top layer of the composite’s aluminum oxide coat would scorch the air and make it unsafe to breathe. To protect both the environment as well as our health, burning laminate products must be avoided whenever possible. In this sense, laminate flooring might be regarded as toxic because both the top layer and the glue that binds the wood to comprise and release toxins.
How to Burn the Laminate Flooring?
Some of you might still be wondering if you could ever accidentally burn the floor, say by accidentally dropping a match stick or some other burning object. The answer, unfortunately, is yes, it is entirely possible to burn laminate flooring. While it will not burn like other things made of wood, despite being 80% wood itself, it will definitely get burn marks that can penetrate the lower layers of flooring.
If you dropped a matchstick, it would most likely take one or two minutes for it to burn or scorch the laminate floor. So, beware because laminate floors are just as likely to catch fire as any other type of wooden flooring. However, whether on accident or on purpose, laminate flooring should not be burned.
There are various layers in laminate flooring, and the level at which it is burned will have different remedies. There are multiple levels that makeup laminate flooring: a foundation, a thick core layer, a layer with a photo-realistic pattern (You may print this with anything, including stone, wood, or bricks), and a layer that protects against wear.
How to Fix a Burned Laminate Floor?
It is possible that some burning material, like a cigarette, falls on the laminated floor which will create a burnt mark and ruin the overall beauty and grace of the flooring. In order to maintain the appearance and luster of your flooring, you must know several techniques for recovering or erasing those burn traces.
1. Scrub Away Using a Sandpaper
The simplest solution to get rid of a minor burn mark on laminate flooring is to give it a gentle sandpaper rubdown. When rubbing, you need to be extremely careful not to harm the gloss or the flooring. Shortly afterward, apply an oil or wood-shining oil to polish that region to restore the shine of the laminate. Pour some oil on a cotton pad or a towel and then gently rub the textured area. Allow the oil to rest for a while so the floor can absorb it. This will restore the shine and luster of the flooring.
2. Simply Use Some Toothpaste
This one is only going to work for surface-level burn marks. All you will need for this is toothpaste and an old toothbrush with soft bristles. First, you need to wipe the burnt area with a cloth, preferably damp, and make sure there is no dirt or dust on the area. After that, using a toothbrush, cover the area with toothpaste and leave it for a few minutes (i.e., around half an hour).
Then, using the same toothbrush, scrub the area vigorously, but you can also use a nylon cloth for scrubbing. Stop after a few seconds to see whether the mark is gone or not, and keep scrubbing till it is. Then use room-temperature water to clean the toothpaste. Remember to not use any harsh material or tools for scrubbing the area since that will damage the sub-layers beneath the laminate.
3. Use a Regular Sander
If you have selected this method, then, the defect must therefore be removed layer by layer to begin. It is obviously quite time-consuming and requires a lot of effort as well. You should also be well aware of the etiquette of properly scrubbing it off, for instance, you must avoid concentrating on one area only because to keep the surface undamaged you need to scrub around evenly. For working on the finish, you can always use an orbital sander (usually a 150-grid one).
Next, take a 180-grid sandpaper and slowly grind at the mark. Avoid going too fast, because this can damage the layers. After grinding for a couple of minutes, switch to a 220-block of sandpaper and slowly sand to level it. For the residue, use the microfiber towel and get rid of all the dust and debris. Use a two-inch brush with fine bristles to cover the area with water-based polyurethane, polishing the flooring with a semi-gloss finish.
Avoid going against the grain, pay extra attention to the center, and remember to highlight the edges. Now, you’ll need to let this coat rest for about 50-60 minutes, then repeat the process again, starting from a 220-block of sandpaper. Go in with the third coat once the second has dried up. This method can also help when getting rid of deep burn marks.
4. Try to Patch It Up
If the burn mark is only a surface level one, scrubbing it with toothpaste or a brush might be useful, but if it is deep enough to create a hole in the flooring, you may have to patch it up instead. This method usually requires more work than simple scrubbing but can prove to be extremely effective.
Take an epoxy wood filler, and fill the hole. Make sure to level the filler with a putty knife. If the filler still isn’t flat, try sanding it with sandpaper, but make sure to not sand the areas around the filler since that can cause further unevenness. Cover the area with a coat of wood grain paint to hide the mark, let it dry, and apply another coat. If the burnt mark is near the edge, you don’t have to be too careful with the paint coats. However, if it is somewhere in the middle of the room, make sure to carefully apply the paint, so the area does not stand out from its surrounding planks.
5. Consider Placing a New Laminate
If a deep burn mark cannot be eliminated by polishing, you may need to remove the laminate after that area and calculate how much replacement laminate is required. This method is much more time-consuming than the previous two methods, but this is the only way to remove really deep burn marks.
Remember to take exact measurements of the area before cutting up a new laminate. While removing the old laminate, ensure that you’re leaving about half an inch of edges just to avoid accidentally damaging the layers below the laminate. Carefully cut the required area or use a chisel if you are worried about damaging the planks around the burnt one. Take the damaged piece out with a pair of pliers.
Take a utility knife, and carefully remove the tongue from one side and the bottom of the grooves on the new plank. Use a carpenter’s glue on the tongue of the new as well as the adjacent plank. Now, carefully slip the new plank in such that its tongue fits in the groove and push it into position. Once the plank is set in its place, either stand on it for a few minutes, approximately 5 to 10 minutes at least, or place a heavy item or weights until the glue dries off. Try walking on the plank to see if it is fit or not.
Despite being made of wood, laminate flooring will not burn as other woods would; however, this does not make them fireproof. The top layer of flooring has an aluminum oxide layer that could dissolve and release toxic fumes into the air. Save the earth and yourself by not burning laminate. Lighting a fire on laminate flooring is not recommended. Not only will it be extremely unhealthy to inhale, but it will also have a negative impact on the environment.