Repairing a Screw Hole in a P-Lam Desktop

Repair options for a punctured plastic laminate desk. January 14, 2013

I installed a plastic laminate top at a commercial job a few months ago. The electrician put a screw through the counter right above the keyboard slide. Can anyone think of an easy fix without replacing the laminate? Not a good spot for a grommet. They don't want a fast cap plug. Laminate is hard to color match with burn in sticks. They want a price to fix, but I am really busy now and don't have time to monkey around with it. It fits between two walls and is already caulked and finish painted.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor C:
Hammer out the estimate and give them a 45 day time frame and sub it out. Get a written estimate from an installer and tack on 35%.

From contributor B:
Charge him enough so it'll be a teachable moment.

From contributor P:
Could try Seamfil. Otherwise you're looking at full replacement.

From contributor D:
Plunge router with a 3/16" (or 1/4) bit. Plunge it in and make a plug with a plug cutter.

From contributor A:
If you're going the patch route, check out Fastcap's cutting system that'll make a cap and corresponding hole for setting it flush. Not recommended for plam, but might be worth a try.

From contributor E:
I've fixed holes with Form Fill. For me it seems to work so much easier than Seam Fill. If it has ragged edges, you'll need to replace.

From contributor M:
I second the FastCap punch/drill bit thing. Especially for textured or grained laminates, it looks pretty darn great. You can do it yourself using two exactly sized hole saws (the ID of one must equal the OD of the other), but it never looks as good. Hope you still have some left over to cut the plug from.

From contributor K:
Any repair you do on plam will show, whether a plug or Seam-fil. That said, it is a hole from a screw, so it is probably about 3/16" diameter max, and I would simply Seam-fil it with multi-colors to match the laminate.

1. Painters tape over the hole.
2. Push nail with same diameter as screw through hole so it breaks the surface of the tape, then use your knife to cut around the nail to remove tape and create a hole.
3. Plug the hole underneath so the seam-fil does not flow through.
4. Fill hole with base Seam-fil color for that color laminate, then dab with complimenting colors to blend it in.
5. Remove tape. Flush out the fill.

Collect a check that includes repair time, material, travel time and profit. Other option is to replace the top, which would be my suggestion if they want it to disappear. If you decide repair, be sure to state in your estimate that because of the material, any repair other than replacement will be visible, but all efforts will be made to blend the colors.

From contributor U:
The repair on this project will depend on who has to pay for it. Of course the owner wants an estimate for a full fix, but in reality they will settle with the electrician for what they can get. The only real solution would be a full replacement. Anything less is just scamming for a discount.