Installing Laminate Flooring? How to Make Repairs

Extend the life of your laminate floor and protect your investment by learning to make repairs yourself when the need arises. Here are some basic tips on what to do when your floor is asking for a little TLC. Even if you decide to have a professional installer do the work, it's always wise to inform yourself so you'll have a sense of what the job involves. Check your laminate warranty and manufacturer's instructions before initiating repairs.

Glueless and Glued Laminate Repairs

Fixing chipped laminate is one of the easiest repairs to make. Over time you'll notice that a few of your flooring planks may have chipped around the edges or where a heavy object was dropped. Simply color match a wood or a laminate filler … available at most hardware stores – to your floor and follow the instructions.

If one or two planks are badly damaged the best option is to use a skill saw to cut out and remove the damaged pieces. Shave the bottom lip off of the grooves of the replacement plank along the length and the end of the plank, then remove the tongue on the end of the same plank. Glue the tongue on the length and end of the planks the replacement plank will fit next to. Slide the tongue on the length of the replacement plank into the groove of the floor plank and drop the replacement plank into place. Place something heavy on top of the replacement plank to press it down and ensure that the adhesive does its work.

Glueless or Click Laminate Repairs

Sometimes you'll note gapping between the joints. If gaps occur on the end-to-end joints there is a special tool professional installers use to click the planks together without removing baseboards, molding or planks; essentially the tool has double sided tape which allows you to adhere to the plank, push down and pull it into place. Gapping is the result of joints that are not clicked together properly during installation – a joint may appear flush and level at the time, but if it does not quite click into place the locking mechanism can not work to stabilize the floor and gapping is the result. If gapping occurs between rows of planks, you may need to remove the baseboard, shoe molding or quarter round and uninstall the laminate to where the gapping begins, then re-install, making sure that the joints click properly.

If you have several damaged planks – say 8 or 9 – and spare laminate to replace them, your best bet is to remove the baseboard and shoe molding, then uninstall the floor from the wall to the damaged area. Remove the damaged planks and make sure there is no moisture underneath or any other problem that might recur. Once you're assured of this replace the damaged planks with your spare laminate and reinstall the rest of the floor.

When uninstalling several rows of laminate flooring for a repair, be sure to set up a tracking system so that you're refitting the planks into the same space. The quality of the laminate you're working with will determine how well it stands up to the process of lifting and reinstalling. A thinner laminate's locking mechanism (6 or 7 mm thickness) may not withstand the wear and tear.