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How to Replace Damaged Laminate Flooring Planks

You just got that new home or you’re moving the furniture back into place after the remodel and all of sudden it happens…that sound, that feeling, shame, guilt, that uh oh moment and you don’t know how to solve it. Perhaps it is a blessing in disguise. Yes, we know… you damaged the laminate plank. So you think of how to replace damaged laminate flooring planks.

It is important to make a plan before you move forward so you can save yourself worry, money, and time. Before you start thinking about how to replace damaged laminate flooring planks, take a quick glance at your room. Is your damage close to the wall or it is in the middle of the room?  There is a different procedure to follow depending on where the damage is located. If the damage is located next to the wall then you simply may want to disconnect those planks. If the damage is located in the middle of the floor then you may want to try a different procedure as we have highlighted below.

Damaged plank is close to the wall

Procedure:

The easiest way to replace the planks is to simply disassemble them by unlocking them. First, you’ll want to locate the wall that is closest to the damaged plank, then, you’ll want to lift the molding. Now you have to reach the damaged plank, the only way to do it is to disassemble all the planks around by disconnecting the locking system.

When you disconnect the tongue of one plank from the groove of the other plank, they’re unlocked. You may have to do this several times before you can reach & replace the damaged laminate plank. You will have to reset the wall base moldings back to normal after you have replaced the damaged plank and reconnected every plank.

There is another way for you to go about laminate flooring repairs though; we highly recommend you consult with an installation expert.

If in the event that you want to try this yourself, here is a guide to assist you along the way. If you’re not capable or doubt yourself then we advise you to consult with an installation expert. If you follow this guide, please take safety precautions with your tools, your adjoining planks, and your body (wear safety glasses, etc).

Damaged plank is in the middle of the room

   Procedure:

  1. To repair damaged laminate planks, start with drilling a ½” hole on each corner. You will want to be as close as possible to the plank end joints.
  1. Drill two or three more holes on each side of the damaged laminate plank approximately 4” to 5” from each other.
  1. Draw a straight line between the holes to prevent mistakes and use it as a cutting guide. Let’s keep this simple? I’m sure you agree. You may have to pull out that ruler from grade school again.
  1. Make sure you stick to the exact depth of the laminate when using the saw so you prevent cutting into the underlayment or sub-floor which you definitely do not want.
  1. Begin in the center of the laminate plank, cut along the lines to the inner holes and continue to the holes that you drilled.
  1. Cut out the center piece or lift it out. If necessary you can use a utility knife to lift it up.
  1. Remove the remaining pieces of the board by rocking them up and down. Be gentle and very careful during this step because you could cause damage to the laminate floor planks next to the damaged one. You definitely want to pay attention to the adjoining laminate floor planks. We wouldn’t want to create more laminate floor repairs!
  1. Make sure the area is cleaned up from any excess. You want it to be nice and clean!
  1. Now it comes time for the replacement laminate plank. You have to cut off the tongue on both sides, the short and long edge of the board. Laminate flooring brands may also require trimming of the groove along a short edge so the new plank will sit in place. The best tool to do it will be a vibratory undercut saw.
  1. Now that the damaged laminate plank is out of the way, it is time to install the new laminate plank. Apply a few drops of glue to the groove of the uncut plank (the one that was connected to the damaged plank). You should apply glue to all seams and joints but only a few drops. Wipe off any extra glue that you may have before it dries.
  1. You should place something heavy on the plank and let it dry for the day.
  1. Laminate floor repairs can be easy if you know what you’re doing and follow the proper steps. Be safe and don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion!

The process of unlocking the planks can be some work but in the end, it is worth the effort. Remember to begin from the closest wall so that way you can work efficiently. Once you have unlocked the necessary laminate planks, you can replace the damaged laminate plank correctly and be sure to re-install the molding. If you follow the guide provided then we advise you to take every safety precaution possible for you and your floor. Do your research and be sure to ask for the opinion of an installation expert.

The key is to take your time if you are by yourself, lift each board gently and work your way down the row until the entire row is at the proper angle to take it apart and then remove the row by grabbing it in the middle of the row and gently pulling it apart. It wouldn’t hurt to have a person or two there to help you out with disassembling the floor, just take your time and work together.

Now that you know how to replace damaged laminate planks, you will be able enjoy a beautiful floor! We welcome feedback and any suggestions you may have on how to replace a damaged laminate flooring plank. If you’ve followed any advice from this article then please share your experience with us. We would love to hear about your experience. Feel free to interact with us so we can provide the best experience possible for our readers!

Thank you for reading our post. If you have any questions or need help then we advise you to visit Bestlaminate.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2010 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

37 comments

  1. Dog urine creates an instant buckle in plank seams. Consumers. Would not have chosen laminate flooring for my entire house with 2 puppies in the house. Dogs are now housebroken but floor is ugly.

  2. This is a useful guide but it’s definitely worth seeking professional advice if the problem can’t easily be solved independently!

  3. Had an overflow of water on my laminate. Was probably on there for an hour before it was vacuumed up. Brought in carpet driers and a dehumidifier. If I can live with the damage do I still have to worry about mold underneath.

    • Hi Sad, thank you for your question, the best you can do is try to keep most of the humidity out of the bathroom, it could cause mold down the road if all the water is not completely dried underneath the laminate. If you are concerned with the mold later oh you can always pull up the boards to check, it just depends on how often that bathroom gets used and if all the water is dried up. Best of Luck. – Brittany

  4. is it possible to remove a 3 ft by 5 ft area to level the subfloor and then reinstall the laminate. the area is in the middle of the room and i don’t want to take up all the laminate.

    • Hi Regina thank you for your question. It is possible to repair in the middle of the room but you have to start from the wall until you are at the spot where you want to fix. Click Here to learn how to replace laminate!Brittany

  5. Help!
    I bought a house that has laminate wood flooring. The floor looks great but there is one damaged plank. I pulled one up and found a model number. Its 8mil but I cant find the manufacturer. How do I find one replacement plank without redoing all the floors?! The model number is :
    MM019538201069 – I dont know if the 3rd character is a zero or O. I have laid them before and tried to investigate on my own… its the uni-click flooring system — might be an old Shaw – system bought over by Mohawk- HELP!

  6. Hi! I have a dent the size of a quarter in my laminate kitchen floor, where my son dropped a science project. It is in a spot that is very noticible but NOT possible to take out planks and put in a new one. (We do have 2 extra cartons from the install) could we just cut out a square a bit bigger than the dent and drop in a matching square?
    I’m not sure about using a “filler kit”, just because I worry about the “chunk” coming out in the future. Thanks!

  7. We have pergo in our dining room that was damaged by a leaking pipe. It is a corner of the room about 6′ x 8′. We pulled up the planks and dried the floor underneath. We ordered more from Homedepot but when we received the boxes we discovered that pergo changed the plank size. The new planks are 1/8″ wider than our original flooring from 2005. They don’t match up and we’re not sure what to do next. Any suggestion are welcome.

    • Hi Danielle thanks for your question. I am so sorry to hear about the water damage to your floor. The best I could recommend would be to maybe try and shave the board down 1/8″ so it will fit into the spot correctly and use a siliconized caulk to fill in the joint to make a tight seem. I do hope this helps. Best of Luck.Brittany

  8. I know the article mentions using a circular saw for cutting out a bad plank, but is there a better tool for the corners? I looking to make a straight cut up and down and to get as close to the corners as possible, it seems like a circular saw is too curved to do the complete job. Any more recommended tool than a circular saw?

    • Frank, they do sell oscillating tools that have small flat blades that can cut very precise. You can try to go that route if a circular saw won’t work for you. Good Luck.

  9. We had a ‘family’ contractor lay the laminate flooring from Lowes. The planks are tile pattern style with grout lines to match. Unfortunately he cut around the door frame facings leaving horrible gaps that look very bad. Also in front of the sliding doors stationary window side he left one+ inch gaps that the floor wall trim won’t help to hide like the rest of the room. I didn’t know what was the right thing to do until I had someone else lay laminate in a bedroom and saw what a great job he did and undercut the door facings and closet corners. Also it lined up to the walls with no more gap that recommended. What can I do to ‘fix’ the ‘relatives’ mess he left behind? Would the floor filler repair kit work to fill around the door facings?
    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

    • Illenna, you may be able to fill in the gaps with color matched caulk or wood putty. Unfortunately once the flooring is cut and laid there isnt a whole lot that you can do to fix it. If you have extra boards left over you can try to replace the bad cuts with the extra boards. Those are really the only options that you have left at this point. Good luck. Fred

  10. door jam molding at the floor is lamianate over top of vinyl
    how do i remove the 1 1/4″ lamiante floor molding from the planks running into it?

    • Patrick, you should be able to pry up on the laminate floor molding with a dove-tail pry bar, it has a slender pry area that lets you slide into tighter spots.

  11. Just installed flooring and now we are noticing on the planks that come together end to end that the top layer of laminate is raised and is very noticable when walking on it and when the light shines on the floor. Did we do someitning wrong, or is it bad flooring?

    • Peggy, it is impossible to tell if it is installation damage or bad flooring without seeing the areas in question. I would recommend to call a professional laminate flooring installer to come over and inspect the damage. FRED

  12. I need to replace 4 planks in the middle of room. Its swiftlock commercial from lowes with individual strips vs large planks. Is this doable? The locking mechanism werent fully engaged and are “popping” out of place, slightly high at seams. I cant easily remove planks from wall. Would the drill saw pull way work?

    • Riley, it is possible to remove the planks in the middle of the room by carefully cutting them out with a circular saw. When you go to put in new boards you will need to shave the locking system off of the replacement boards with a razor knife. You will need to glue all 4 edges of the board with wood glue. After you do that you need to place a heavy object on top of the replacement boards for 24 hours to make sure that the wood glue has fully cured. If you don’t feel confident doing this you may want to hire a laminate flooring installer to help you with the repair. Good luck with the repair. FRED

  13. Hi, I have some water/pet damage to boards that are side by side. I will have to replace both side by side and end to end boards.. Any thought? Thanks.

    • Chuck, I would definitely replace any boards that have suspected water damage while you already have the floor disassembled, it will save you from having to do it all over again if you didn’t notice the damage right away. Sometimes the water damage will not cause immediately noticeable/visible damage so proceed with caution and be sure to replace any boards that you think may have been exposed to the water damage. Good Luck! Fred.

  14. We too had water damage from a water cooler (approx 100 sq ft) in the dinning area. It leaked overnight and when we did notice it the next day, the laminate had already warped. The laminate we have has been discontinued by the manufacturer and the previous home owners who installed it didn’t leave any spares. We were lucky enough to find the same color,texture, thickness and the Uniclick locking system as our original laminate with another manufacturer.

    We’ve been asking local flooring installers to help us out and they suggest replacing the dinning area and the sitting room. However, there is no damage in the sitting room at all. We were thinking of replacing it ourselves, but weren’t sure of how we would go about replacing the plancks near the kitchen countertop. Since we don’t know if it goes under the fixture or if just stops at the border.

    Please advise. Thanks!

    • Nisha, First you will need to remove the baseboard or vinyl cove base near the cabinets to see if they ran the floor underneath the cabinets. If they did then it will be very time consuming to replace the entire floor due to having to remove the cabinets. If they didn’t run the floor underneath the cabinets then it will be an easy task to remove the flooring. I would recommend to replace the entire room where the water damage occured because even though some boards might not look warped right now they still could have water damage that can lead to problems down the road. From my experience it is better to remove all doubts and just do it right the first time instead of possibly creating another problem by not doing it the right way. Good luck with your project. Fred

  15. We had a small leak under the baseboard heater in our family room, about 6 of the planks warped quite bad at the joining seam, is it possible just to replace those planks ?

    • Tracy, Yes it is possible to replace those noticibly damaged planks, however, you need to thouroughly inspect all of your planks that were near the water damage because they may not look too bad right now but they may have soaked up some water and that could lead to problems down the road. Also make sure that no water has gotten under your underlayment, if it has then you will need to disconnect the floor and take the underlayment off of the floor to let the floor dry out completely before reinstalling the underlayment and flooring,

  16. My problem is that I have about 1 metre square area of water damaged planks to replace. They’re start from the wall but involves 2 planks that run along the wall that have been cut at one end to fit around different door frames. Also I don’t have any spare planks and can’t remember the make. Although I’m sure remember the fitters clicking the boards together rather than glue them together. Can i just pick up another brand of laminate floooring of the same colour? How do I cut them to fit around door frames. Is it easier to get the whole 18square metre area replaced? which would a shame as it’s this only small area needs replacing as the rest of it looks fine .

    • Tony, if you do not have replacement planks for the damaged ones than I would highly recommend that you do not try to do the repair with another brand of laminate as it will not look good and it will probably not last. Unfortunately without spare planks you will need to replace the whole room with new laminate and this time make sure to order at least 1 extra box so you don’t run into this problem again. It will be too hard to find the exact same material to do your repair unless you order it right away because manufacturers often discontinue their flooring products quite often. I hope this helps.

  17. For the first method (disassembling the planks back to the damaged area) you wrote “Lift up the laminate plank to disengage tongue and groove of the board and unlock the planks”. Please let me how can you lift a plank that is engaged in one long side and one short side? THe only wat I think is to lift the entire row on planks that are engaged onntheir width (shor side). In y case I have a lenth of 25 feet. Can I lift the entire lengh together and than disengaging the entire row? Needs few people to hold (at the ends and in between? Woudn’t that break the tongs if the entire row is not rotated in unisome the 15-20 degrees that is required for disengagement? HELP please.

    • Eli. I have disassembled large rooms by myself many times. The key is to take your time if you are by yourself, lift each board gently and work your way down the row until the entire row is at the proper angle to take it apart and then remove the row by grabbing it in the middle of the row and gently pulling it apart. It wouldn’t hurt to have a person or two there to help you out with disassembling the floor, just take your time and work together.

  18. My problem is I have to replace a laminate board in the doorway.the problem is the edge goes under the door trim. I can’t lift the board to interlock it. How do I replace this board. Please help!!!!

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