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How to Replace Damaged Laminate Flooring Planks

by Bestlaminate
Published: Updated: 66 comments 6 minutes read

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 Close To The Wall


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, 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).

  • You’ll want to locate the wall that is closest to the damaged plank, then, you’ll want to remove the molding along that wall.
  • 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.
  • After, you will have to reset the wall base moldings back to normal after you have replaced the damaged plank and reconnected every plank.

Damaged Plank In The Middle Of The Room


Unfortunately, this type of fix does take some time and can require some skill. 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, 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).

  • To repair damaged laminate planks, start with drilling a ½” hole on each corner of the damaged laminate plank. You will want to be as close as possible to the plank end joints.
  • Drill two or three more holes on each side of the damaged laminate plank approximately 4” to 5” from each other.
  • Draw a straight line between the holes to prevent mistakes and use it as a cutting guide.
  • 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.
  • Begin in the center of the laminate plank, cut along the lines to the inner holes and continue to the holes that you drilled.
  • Cut out the center piece or lift it out. If necessary you can use a utility knife to lift it up.
  • 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.
  • Make sure the area is cleaned up from any excess. You want it to be nice and clean before you install the new plank.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • You should place something heavy on the plank and let it dry for the day.

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 in the comments below!

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Patrick November 7, 2012 - 4:49 pm

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?

Fred November 16, 2012 - 10:16 am

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.

peggy August 26, 2012 - 10:16 pm

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?

Fred September 5, 2012 - 9:36 am

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

Riley August 25, 2012 - 5:30 pm

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?

Fred September 5, 2012 - 9:34 am

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

chuck May 19, 2012 - 11:29 pm

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.

Fred May 25, 2012 - 2:31 pm

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.

Nisha April 4, 2012 - 6:52 pm

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!

Fred April 16, 2012 - 4:02 pm

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

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