Can damaged laminate flooring be replaced?
Assess the laminate floor damage
You can fix minor chips and scratches in a laminate floor with filler products. But if the damage is severe, you have to replace the plank (you did save a few from the installation, right?). It’s a job you can do yourself in about two hours. In addition to a spare plank, you’ll need a circular saw, hammer and chisel, router or table saw, drill and wood glue.
Some flooring experts recommend removing the base molding and unsnapping and numbering every plank until you get to the damaged portion. That works if the damaged plank is close to the wall. But trust us, if the damaged section is more than a few rows out from the wall, it’s actually faster to just cut it out.
Replace ‘snap-together’ planks:
Remove the center section. Start by drawing a cutting line 1-1/2 in. in from all four edges of the plank. Drill a 3/8-in. relief hole at each corner of the cutting line and again 1/4 in. in from each corner of the plank.
Cut out the center section with a circular saw, cutting from hole to hole. Set the depth of your circular saw a tad deeper than the floor thickness. Then lift the blade guard and dip the blade into the cutting line.
Cut to the corners
Next, cut from the center section into each corner, stopping at the drilled hole. Don’t go any farther! Finally, cut a relief cut from the center section out toward the seam of each plank. Tap a chisel into each relief cut to break out the uncut portion. Then remove all the cut pieces.
Remove the bottom lip
The new plank has a groove at one end and one side, as well as a tongue at the opposite end and side. But you can’t install it until you cut off the bottom lip of both grooves and the side tongue. Score the tongue several times with a utility knife. Then snap it off with pliers. Shave off any remaining scraps with your knife.
Here’s a tip for cutting the groove: Stick the blade inside the groove and cut off the bottom from the inside (or use a table saw).
Apply a bead of wood glue to all four edges of the new plank. Insert the glued tongue of the new plank into the groove on the existing flooring and drop the plank into place. Wipe off any excess glue and load books on the plank until it’s dry.
Replace glued planks:
Raise the floor to gain leverage. Most of the early laminate floors were fastened with glue. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do an ‘in-place’ patch on those floors too. Follow all the cutting directions shown for a snap-together floor.
Slip a dowel or scrap piece of flooring under the seam. Grab the section with pliers and tilt it down until the glued seam cracks apart. Then snap it upward to break any remaining glue.
The old glue has to go
Use a flat-blade screwdriver or small chisel to chip out the old glue. Get the surfaces as smooth as possible for a flush fit and a good glue bond. Lay the new plank when done.
Repair minor damage in laminate flooring:
Scratches on Laminate Floor or Chips?
Drop a knife or other sharp-edged item and you’ll get an instant chip in your laminate floor. But you don’t need to call in a pro, because this repair is strictly DIY. If you have the chip or an extra plank, take it to a home center or flooring supplier and match it up with a tube of laminate floor patching material. You may have to buy the two closest colors and mix them to match. While you’re there, buy a matching brand of cleaning solvent.
Clean the flooring with the solvent and let it dry. Next, squeeze a dollop of laminate repair paste onto a scrap piece of flooring or a mixing board and mix it with a putty knife until it begins to dry. Then press a shallow layer into the chip. Don’t try to fill the entire chip in one application. Clean off any excess with solvent. Let the first coat set for one hour before applying the next.
After the filler hardens, use a knife to duplicate the grain pattern. Darken the cuts with furniture touch-up markers.
Replacing a Damaged Laminate Floor Plank Close to a Wall
Laminate floor planks look beautiful and add elegance to a home. However, if a plank gets damaged, it detracts from the beauty of the flooring. Do you call in a professional and pay tons of money to replace the plank? Thankfully, no. There actually is an easy way to replace a damaged laminate plank if you are ready to spend some time and have a little bit of patience.
If the plank is close to a wall, the easiest way to replace it is by unlocking the planks. As tedious as it sounds, it is worth the effort and time.
Find the wall that is closest to the damaged plank
- Lift the molding
- Begin disassembling the planks by unlocking them. This can be done by disconnecting the tongue of one plank from the groove of the adjacent plank.
- Make sure the plank you are replacing is the same size as the damaged one
- Replace the plank and then begin locking the planks you removed
Once you finish, reset the wall base molding to what it was
How To Replace A Laminate Floor Board In The Middle Of A Floor
When a board sustains damage in the middle of a laminate floor, you have two options for replacing it. One is to disassemble the floor down to the damaged board, replace the board and reassemble the floor. That option isn’t always practical, especially in large rooms filled with furniture. The other option is to cut out the damaged board and glue in a replacement. It’s a job that requires carpentry skills, but it isn’t as difficult as replacing a board on a hardwood floor. You’ll get good results if you measure carefully and cut with a sure hand.
Removing a Damaged Board
- Draw a line down the center of the damaged board using a straightedge and pencil. The line should span the length of the board.
- Set the cutting depth of a circular saw blade to 1/8 inch more than the thickness of the boards. If the subfloor is concrete, set the depth exactly equal to the board thickness.
- Plunge the blade into the line near the center of the board and cut toward the one end. Stop cutting when the blade reaches the edge. Pull out the saw, reverse direction and cut to the same point on the other end. Finish the cut on either end of the board by tapping along the cut line with a hammer and chisel.
- Drill a 1/2-inch hole at each corner of the board. The hole should be 1/2 inch from both edges that form the corner. Draw a line at a 45-degree angle from each hole toward the cut line in the center.
- Plunge the saw into the center of the board and cut along each 45-degree line, stopping at the hole in the corner. This cutting procedure creates four triangular pieces that you can pry loose from the ends.
- Lift the pointed end of each triangle with a pry bar and pull the triangle toward the center of the board with pliers. Remove it when it snaps loose. When you have removed all four triangular pieces, pry out the two center pieces.
Installing a Replacement
- Prepare the replacement board by cutting off the bottoms of the grooves on one side and one end. You also need to cut the tongue off the opposite end. Cut the grooves and tongue with a utility knife, scoring several times and then breaking off the pieces with pliers.
- Spread carpenter’s glue on the tongues of the boards that are installed in the floor.
- Snap the intact tongue of the replacement board into the groove of the adjacent board on the floor. Lower the replacement board, press down on the edges and hold the board down with weights until the glue dries
How can I remove stains from my laminate floor?
Accidents happen all the time. No worries though: your laminate floor can take a dropped sandwich, cake or even a paint splash or two. Watch stains disappear into thin air with just a rag, Quick-Step Clean and a mop.
It’s best to clean up the stain right away, so don’t wait too long before removing as much dirt as possible with some paper or your hands. Rub a clean paper towel or rag over the stain to remove as much of it as you can.
Get out the mop and some Quick-Step Clean. Use the mop and Quick-Step Clean to go over the stain until it is gone.
Dealing with more difficult and persistent stains, such as marker, paint or even scuff marks? Water might not do the trick, but acetone definitely will. Put some acetone on a rag and rub the rag over the stain. Take care not to get the acetone into the joints of the laminate boards, though!
Patching Holes in Laminate Flooring
A hole in a laminate floor is not easy to patch. Laminate flooring is typically 5/16 inches thick and manufactured in layers with the top layer plasticized with a representation of wood grain, stone or tile, so finding a material that blends well enough to make a patch is challenging. Besides, laminate flooring isn’t attached to the subfloor, so there’s no place to attach the patch, even if you could make one. The best solution for a hole is to replace the damaged plank, either by disassembling the floor or cutting the board out and gluing in a replacement.
Disassembling the Floor
- Pry the baseboards off of one wall that runs parallel to the planks and the two perpendicular walls with a pry bar.
- Remove one of the corner boards with the help of a rubber grouting float. Hold the float securely against the board and push the board toward the wall. When it disengages with the floor, lift the edge nearest you and remove it. Remove all the boards in the first row in the same way.
- Remove the rest of the boards by lifting the free edge of each one and pulling sharply to disengage it from the board next to it. Separate the ends of the boards from each other in the same way. Stack the boards in an organized way so you can put them back in the same order.
- Disassemble the floor back to the damaged board and replace it. Reassemble the floor and nail the baseboards back to the wall with 1 1/2-inch finish nails.
Cutting Out a Damaged Board
- Draw a rectangle on the damaged board about 2 inches in from the edges, using a straightedge and a pencil. Drill a 1/2-inch hole through the board at each corner of the rectangle.
- Set the cutting depth of a circular saw blade to about 1/2 inch, cut around the rectangle and remove the off-cut. Cut a diagonal line from each corner of the rectangle to the corner of the board. Stop cutting before the saw reaches the edge of the board and finish the cut with a hammer and chisel. Remove all the pieces.
- Prepare a new board for installation by cutting the bottoms of the grooves with a sharp utility knife. Cut the tongue off the end of the board as well, but leave the tongue on the side intact.
- Spread carpenter’s glue on the grooves that you cut, using a cotton swab. Install the board by hooking the tongue into the groove of the board next to it, them lowering the board into place. Press down to make sure the glue makes contact, then place heavy books or some other weights on the board to hold it down while the glue dries.