Laminate floors are created by placing an image of wood between resin layers to provide a wood-like appearance that is durable and easy to care for. Since laminate tiles often look like wood, it seems logical to add an additional protective layer to prevent scratching. However, the addition of such a coating is not advisable. Coatings will not stick properly to the laminate surface and will not provide much additional protection. However, if a coating is deemed necessary, a couple of options are available.
One way that moisture can seep into laminate floors and create problems is through the cracks between the boards. Crack sealers can be applied to help prevent this. These products are usually sold as laminate restorers or floor grout sealers. The package directions should always be followed. In general, apply the sealer over the cracks in the boards, allow the material to slip in between the boards, and then wipe away the excess from the tops of the boards. Allow the floor to dry for 24 hours before use. Some companies sell sealers that are specifically designed to help seal laminate floors.
Another way that laminate floors can be coated for extra protection is with a polyurethane coating. These coatings add a protective barrier to help prevent damage and moisture from getting to the laminate. However, polyurethane coatings will not adhere very well to the laminate because of the slick nature of the top layer of resin. Sanding laminate is not possible because of the nature of its construction. Apply a polyurethane coating by mopping it onto the floor and allowing to dry for one to two hours between coats, depending on the type of coating. Apply several coats.
Other Care Options
An alternative to the little-recommended laminate coating is to follow these care tips for making laminate last longer. Always use products designed for laminate use. Do not wash the floor with regular mop water. Use laminate touch-up kits to repair scratches in the surface. Use mats to cover high traffic areas. Put felt bottoms on all furniture in the room. A humidifier or dehumidifier can be used in regions with unusually wet or dry weather to prevent the laminate from buckling under the extreme weather conditions. Stains and spills should be cleaned immediately.