Does a part of your laminate flooring look swollen with patches on it? It may look like it’s been chipped off, or a part of the covering is coming out. This occurs due to water damage sustained from a water leak or an uncleaned spill.
Let’s find out whether repairing laminate flooring is possible.
What Causes Laminate Floor Water Damage?
Several factors cause water damage to laminate flooring.
Using too much water while cleaning can cause your laminate to dampen and expand. Any standing water on the surface will also damage your laminate flooring. It’s hard to fix a laminate floor that got wet for a long time.
Also, flooding can damage the floor. Coastal states like Florida, NJ, and Louisiana face flooding threats every year. Well, you can’t stop floods. Typically, you’ll replace floorboards; if not, you’ll install another type of flooring.
No Moisture Barrier
In an appropriate installation, there is a moisture barrier between the underlayment and the laminate. That moisture barrier prevents any moisture or spills from getting under and being trapped.
If you do not have a moisture barrier installed, water spills may find their way under the laminate and rest there till it’s damaged.
High humidity is the enemy of laminate planks. The laminate floorboards’ expansion and contraction are caused by humidity. It’s recommended to keep the humidity of the room between 30-60%. If the humidity is not within limits, you need few arrangements to control the humidity.
First of all, buy a humidity sensor so that you can keep track of humidity. Maintain proper ventilation. Finally, install a dehumidifier to control the humidity.
Poor Quality Glue
The glue used in installing laminate floors could cause water damage if it were poor-quality. Excess amounts of glue uncleaned during installation will also lead to a water-damaged laminate.
Any water leak in the flooring area will cause laminate floor expansion, swell, or buckle. Inspect the area closely for any leaks that may have damaged your laminate floor. The best way to do this would be to remove the laminate floors and inspect them.
Installation in Water Prone Areas
Laminate floors installed in areas such as a bathroom or a kitchen would be a bad idea if not used with proper care. Any static water would have the capability to damage your laminate floors.
Signs of Water Damage
How to Fix Laminate Floor Planks
If a laminate floor is damaged by water or moisture, the only solution is to replace them. Do not try to repair the swollen laminate flooring – it won’t work. Basically, a delaminated board is a trash.
It is quite different to replace water-damaged laminate planks from replacing laminate planks that have been damaged by other factors, such as dents, scratches, and chipping. The damage caused by water to laminates is extensive. You need to replace several pieces of laminate flooring planks in this case.
Well, let’s know how to replace water-damaged laminate flooring.
Planks that are damaged by water will be swollen, chipped, and expanded. It is easy to recognize those signs with a keen eye. Once you have gotten the appropriate amount of new planks, replace them with the damaged ones.
- Safety glasses
- Utility Knife
- Plunge saw
- Putty Knife
- Removing the baseboard with a pry-bar is an effective way.
- Start from the wall closest to the water damaged planks.
- If the damaged planks are in the middle, follow our laminate flooring plank removal method below.
Determining Damaged Planks
To fix the damaged planks, you need to determine how many of them have been damaged and how many replacements you need. The determination is necessary because you have to buy replacement planks based on it.
Mark the damaged ones by putting tape on the edges.
Let the Laminate Flooring Dry
Now, we need to mop excess waters and dry the laminate flooring before removing them. You can use a dry vacuum for this purpose. Additionally, you can use a fan to dry the laminate flooring as much as possible. In this way, laminate flooring planks that are barely damaged and can completely revert to their original shape will not be removed.
Remove the Baseboard
Removing the baseboard and molding is the first step in learning how to replace laminate flooring. Baseboards are at the corner of the wall; they are to be opened with a pry bar. Baseboards have different locking mechanisms, but pry-bar is a reliable tool.
There is no need to remove all the baseboards in the room. You can remove the baseboards attached to the damaged planks. In addition, remove planks that are between damaged planks and the wall.
Remove the Laminate Flooring Planks
To remove the planks, there are two cases; wet laminate boards are in the middle, and wet laminate boards touch one of the walls.
For the former case, start removing the laminate flooring planks one by one till you reach the wet flooring planks. The planks will come out when you use a pry-bar on the plank corner and lift it. If it’s sturdy, try wiggling it to unlock the mechanism. When removing damaged planks, remove them with force if needed; since we don’t use them anymore.
Make sure while removing the damaged plank, you’re not damaging the locking system of the undamaged planks.
For the latter case, three-cut one of the damaged boards, as shown in the below figure.
Next, remove any one of the two middle pieces. Use a plunge saw for this process. As shown in the figure, other pieces can be removed by sliding. In addition to this, all the laminate flooring planks in a series with the removed plank can be easily removed by sliding.
Continue the same procedure to remove the next paralleled damaged laminate flooring plank.
Install New Boards
It’s time to install the new boards. But, be sure that there is no water or moisture problem. If the problem is not fixed, the laminate floor will be damaged again.
Look around for any water leaks and carefully inspect the damaged area. Remember to dry the subfloor and install a moisture barrier if you haven’t already. Nevertheless, if you find any mold beneath the underlayment, the subfloor is damp.
Start the installation of the new laminate planks and baseboard. The boards are designed to float on the floor; however, you can use hot glue if you want.
Place some weight on top of the replacement board to hold it down. There will be a few days (1 or 2) of acclimatization before the laminate planks firmly grasp the floor.
- On the laminate floor, place a heavy object on top of the towels. (40 lbs)
- Let the it rest for two days.
This completes the process of laminate flooring water-damage restoration.
How to Prevent Water Damage?
There are several precautions you should be taking to prevent water damage in the future.
High Quality Product
Laminate flooring planks consist of multiple layers, including a printed material that mimics real wood. In high-quality and branded boards, the printed layer is much harder. Low-quality materials soak up water.
Check for Leaks
Before installing the planks, check for any water leaks that may prove to be harmful to the laminate flooring. Address the leaks. Furthermore, check water leakages from appliances like washing machines.
Installing a moisture barrier is beneficial to any laminate floor in the long run. Perhaps, it’s mandatory. It prevents moisture and water from damaging the planks, which are necessary across different seasons.
Consider investing in the moisture barrier, especially if the installation is in a water-prone area. You can also buy laminates with a moisture barrier attached.
Wipe Away Spills
Any spills on the laminate should be wiped away immediately with a dry towel. Seep away the water in the towel and use tissues to ensure no water stays on top of the laminate. Don’t let the water soak into the grooves between the planks. Also, don’t install them in the kitchen and bathroom.
Laminate planks are not affected by occasional spills since they have an aluminum oxide finish that protects them. However, if water accumulates on the surface for a longer period, it’s a bad sign.
If it’s difficult for you to remove, you can always take professionals’ services. Typically, it costs $1-$2 per sq ft to remove laminate floorboards. However, if the subfloor is damaged, you should hire a professional. Not to mention, you may not find your local professional willing to remove floorboards without replacing them.
Checking around for leaks once in a while, wiping away spills, and basic home maintenance is essential to keeping your laminate floors safe from water damage. Water damage is irreversible; hence you will have to invest in new planks. Thus, skip the plan to repair laminate flooring.
Feel free to call your insurance agency to inform them of the laminate flooring water damage. Many insurance agencies will cover laminate floor water damage. Also, you can take professionals’ help to fix a laminate floor that got wet and water-damaged.