Laminate flooring is affordable, quick to lay and easy to clean, making it an attractive choice for many families. Manufacturers such as Pergo offer a "lifetime guarantee" (50 years) against wear, fading, and damage from sunlight (for more details and a list of stockists, call 0800 374771, or visit www.pergo.com). However, there is a huge range of laminate floors on the market, and yours may well be starting to look shabby.
Products such as International's 2 in 1 Laminate Floor Reviver & Restorer (from most DIY stores) can give your laminate floor a new lease of life. One shade suits all types of wood laminate. It costs £6.99 for 500ml, covers about 25sq m, and can also be used on previously varnished or oiled wooden floors. Put it on, and it will dry in about half an hour, so this is a job that can be done in half a day.
A step-by-step guide to reviving a laminate floor
1. Sweep or vacuum the floor, then wash with normal floor cleaner, making sure to remove all traces of grease. Leave to dry.
2 Start at the far edges of the room, and work towards a door. Apply one coat with a clean, lint-free cloth, using light, even strokes — you don't need to rub it in.
3. The liquid will take about half an hour to dry to a glossy sheen and requires no polishing.
4. If the floor is very badly worn, apply a second or even a third coat, as necessary.
5. Leave floor for at least half an hour before use.
6. In high-traffic areas it may be necessary to re-apply the product every two to three months to keep the laminate's shine.
7. Between treatments, sweep or vacuum, then clean with a mild detergent and water, using a well wrung-out mop or cloth. Don't let the floor get over-wet.
For more details, see www.international-paints.co.uk, or for technical advice and a stockist list, call 01480 484285 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am-5pm).
Alternatives: Laminate Clean and Seal from Liberon removes dirt, grease and scuff marks and restores shine. The same company also does a Laminate Reviver, while the Laminate Repair Stick is for filling deep scratches and poor joints. The mixed set of three colours suits most flooring. See www.liberon.co.uk.