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Q.During a countertop installation, one of the screws popped through and chipped off a 1/4-inch-diameter piece of laminate. Is there a way to make a repair without replacing the whole countertop?

A.Merrill Glos, engineer at Formica Corp., responds: Since a repaired countertop will never be equivalent in performance to a perfect top, you will have to negotiate with the homeowner to discover whether they would be willing to accept a repair, perhaps in exchange for a discount price.

If the chip is intact, it can be super-glued back into the divot; super-glue is waterproof. If the chip is missing or broken, a cosmetic repair with paint is still possible.

Scrape away any loose debris from the divot. Use artists’ acrylic paint, in a color that closely matches the laminate color, to fill the divot. If the paint shrinks as it dries, re-apply paint to achieve a level surface with the surrounding laminate. After three or four days, when the paint has dried very hard, it will probably be shinier than the laminate. Matching the light reflectance of the repair to the laminate is even more important than matching the color. Use a pencil eraser with light strokes to dull the repair until the gloss achieves a close match.

Such a repair will still be susceptible to heat damage, and the acrylic paint will always be softer than the laminate. If the repair deteriorates, it can be repaired again.

If such a repair disappoints your customers, they will always associate your name with the repair job. In the long run, installing a new countertop may be the best solution.