How To Repair Damaged Laminate
Laminate flooring is by far one of the most durable types of flooring on the market, but that does not mean it has no threats. Between moisture, sharp objects and improper installation, you may start to notice small or large imperfections with your laminate flooring. Not to worry, repairing laminate floors can generally be a DIY fix. Keep reading to see what we recommend.
Repairing Scratched Laminate Flooring
You slide your sofa to clean underneath. You push away from the table without felt pads on the chair legs. Your dog’s toy hits the floor in the wrong way.
No matter how your floors get damaged, scratched laminate floors can look worn, old, and ugly.
When these damages happen, you have a few options to repair the blemishes and hide the scratches.
Use a wax pencil.
Filling in minor scratches with a wax pencil is as easy as coloring on your floors. Find a wax pencil that matches the colors of your floors (these can usually be found at any home improvement store). Then, as you color in the scratch, rub the wax pencil back and forth in the opposite direction of the scratch. Use small, short strokes to keep the repair close to the scratch.
When you’re finished, rub a soft, dry cloth over the area where you colored. This will buff out the obvious coloring marks, blending your cosmetic repair.
Try repair putty.
If your scratch is too deep for a wax pencil repair, you will need to use repair putty. The manufacturer of your floors probably sell kits, or you can find them at a home improvement store.
Again, match the color of your floors as closely as possible. Then, use a putty knife to spread the putty into the scratch. Using the side of the knife, gently press the putty into the gouged area. Move in multiple directions to make sure you get every nook and cranny filled. Level the putty and let it dry for 24 hours.
Replace the Scratched Boards.
Sometimes, putty and wax is not enough. If your scratches are too deep, or you have several of them on one plank, you might need to replace the damaged boards.
Laminate flooring uses a glueless and nail-free system. That means that it’s easy to replace small portions of flooring when necessary. It is always recommended to store an extra box of flooring just for this reason!
- Remove the molding or baseboards.
- Remove the flooring plank by plank until you reach the damaged area.
- Replace the damaged plank with a new plank.
- Replace the flooring you removed to complete your floor again.
- Replace the molding or baseboards.
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 you can work efficiently. Once you have unlocked the necessary laminate planks, you can replace the damaged laminate plank correctly and re-install the moldings. If you follow the guide provided, 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.
If your flooring plank is in the middle of the room, it can be a challenge to remove half a room of flooring. In this case, you can try to repair just the plank in the middle of the room. We would recommend consulting a professional for this fix, but you can try the DIY way in this guide.
Buckling Laminate Flooring
Buckling laminate floors are most commonly created when either an expansion gap is not left or moisture has created swelling between boards. If laminate boards have no room to expand and contract, you will find them buckling, or creating a tent-like appearance. The easiest way to repair buckled floors is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Here are a few tips to help you stop your laminate flooring from buckling.
- Let your flooring acclimatize before installation. Your flooring should sit for 2-3 days in the boxes, in your home before installation begins. This allows them to expand and contrast before they’re installed. It’s a critical step that should not be missed. Be sure to leave these in a room that is temperature controlled.
- Leave a Proper Expansion Gap. It’s recommended to leave .25″ for smaller rooms, and .5″ for larger areas. You can use spacers or plywood scraps as a guide during installation.
- Reduce the Amount of Moisture in your Home. As a rule, try to keep the moisture levels in your house between 35% and 65%. For most homes, this will not be an issue.
- Install Underlayment. Installing underlayment protects your floors from the ground up. An underlayment with a moisture barrier will give your floors additional protection.
- Seal Joints in Water Prone Areas. Sealing the joints of your laminate in areas such as the kitchen will help protect the locking system from any spills or water damage.
What to do if Your Laminate Floors Buckle
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to prevent it, buckling happens. Usually floors will buckle if there is something traumatic, such as a flood or neglected puddle of water. When it does, you will need to repair the damaged planks.
Here’s how to do this:
- First, determine the cause of buckling and fix the problem.
- Remove the baseboard or molding in the area close to the buckled floors.
- Remove the boards starting from the wall until you reach the damaged area.
- Replace the damaged boards.
- Replace the rest of the boards that you removed by clicking them back into place the same way you did when you first installed the flooring.
- Replace the baseboards or molding.
That’s it! With laminate’s glueless, nail free installation you can easily replace small amounts of flooring and save the expense of having to replace all of your floors. It is always a good idea to save left-over laminate planks for the original install in-case damage would occur.
Replacing Damage Laminate Flooring
If only a few planks of your laminate flooring are damaged, you shouldn’t have to bare the expense of replacing your entire floors.
Replacing damaged laminate doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. In fact, the only expense you’ll have is the cost of the few planks you need to repair.
With the floating floor installation, it’s fast and easy to uproot any damaged pieces and put brand new, scuff free boards in their place, while re-installing the old boards back in their place. Here’s how to do it:
1. Remove the baseboards or molding.
To access the laminate, you will need to remove the baseboards or molding closest to the damaged pieces. Do this with care.
2. Slowly remove the laminate flooring planks until you reach the damaged area.
Starting from the wall, remove each of the laminate flooring planks until you reach the damaged area. Do this carefully so that you do not compromise the floors.
3. Replace the damaged planks with new planks.
Get a small number of new planks to replace the ones that were damaged, or use the ones you have left over from installation. If you do get new planks, make sure to acclimatize them to your home, just like you did when your flooring was first installed. Also, make sure your flooring model did not change in any way, such as thickness or locking system. Manufacturers will do this from time to time. Our experts will be able to let you know if there was a change.
4. Re-install the healthy planks piece by piece.
Re-install the healthy planks piece by piece until you reach the wall. You do not need to use new planks for this step. We recommend taking your time and being conscious of the locking systems when re-installing the boards.
5. Replace the baseboard or molding.
Once the flooring looks good and healthy, replace the baseboard and molding to finish the job.
Repairing damaged laminate boards is easy with the tongue and groove locking system. By simply working each piece apart and together like you would a puzzle, you can quickly repair any damages that harmed your floors.
When a laminate floor is cupping, you will notice the edges are higher than the middle of the board, often creating a peeling of the corners and edges. This occurs when there is too much relative humidity in the room or moisture is being absorbed from the subfloor. This can also include excessive mopping, steam mops or any excess moisture left on the surface.
Unfortunately, most boards that experience cupping will need to be replaced. If you have minor cupping, drying out the area and reducing humidity might help the moisture reduce within the place.