Many of us have laminate flooring in our homes and businesses. One of the great things about laminate floors is that it’s easy to clear up spilled liquid or debris on this surface. You can just mop up a puddle or sweep up the dirt, without worrying it will stain or get stuck in the carpet.
However, laminate flooring is not safe from water damage. Flooding, leaks, and serious spillage are difficult to clean. If you don’t know what you are doing, it can be a costly and time-consuming problem to solve.
From the team of experts at IDC Restoration, here is our step-by-step guide to dealing with damage to your laminate floors.
First up, you will need to get to grips with the task at hand. Assess the extent of the water damage and — if you haven’t already — find the source of the water damage.
These are important questions you will need to ask yourself from the beginning:
- Does the entire floor need replacing, or just a few damaged planks?
- Is the source still leaking?
- Does this look like a job I can handle myself, or should I call in a team of experts?
It’s ok to admit that this job is out of your comfort zone; it’s better to call a restoration team than to start a job you can’t finish. However, if you think you can take on your damage, start by assessing the laminate flooring for the following:
These are all sure signs of long-lasting water damage to laminate floors. Bending and cracking result from water saturation that destroys the structure of the laminate flooring. Mold and discoloration suggest water damage has been ongoing for a long while.
In both cases, it is important to remove them before the damage gets worse. Go over each tile and mark the damaged tiles.
2) Stop The Leak
Before you start replacing your laminate floors and damaged planks, you need to halt the water flow. This won’t be necessary if a one-off event caused your water damage.
Any repairs you do will be worthless if you can’t remedy the source of the water damage. You shouldn’t need to repair laminate flooring again if you prevent further risk of water damage by doing the following:
- Turn off the water in your home or building to make sure no further damage builds up. Plug the leak if you can.
- The leak may be coming from a faulty appliance or a broken pipe. In both cases, call a professional out to fix the problem as soon as possible.
3) Preparing To Remove The Damaged Planks
Once you have stopped the leak and assessed the damage, it is time to start ripping up floorboards. Before you do, there are a few things to consider:
- First, make sure you have all the required tools and materials. This includes a measuring tape, pliers, hammer, replacement underlay material, safety glasses, and utility knife.
- Also, make sure you have matching laminate flooring. Sometimes it is difficult to find matching boards, so many people elect to replace the entire floor. This is a decision to make before you start work.
- When deciding what to rip up, err on the side of caution and take out more boards than you are sure are damaged. It is possible that some boards adjacent to obviously damaged planks are more damaged than they appear, or are suffering from water damage. So it is best to be safe and replace those, too.
4) Removing Damaged Boards
With all your preparations made, it is time to replace the damaged boards.
Recommendations vary on the best tools to pry the damaged boards free, ranging from a crowbar and a hammer to a utility knife and a putty knife. Even a butter knife works if you don’t have the latter.
However, you choose to pry the damaged planks free, make sure to wear eye protection. Also, remove the baseboards beneath, and clean the exposed floor of any dust, debris, or mold.
Ensure the floor is completely clean, as any dirt can prevent your laminate flooring from sliding in naturally next to other laminate planks.
5) Installing Your New Laminate Planks
When you are installing your new wood flooring, follow manufacturer instructions. Mistakes can make it a struggle to fit your laminate flooring properly.
You will likely need to buy new laminate boards, which you can buy at any flooring store. If you are not replacing the entire floor, make sure you buy your wood materials from the same place.
Buy laminate boards that use a locking system to save you the trouble of using too much glue or another adhesive. Carefully slide the new planks into place next to the existing boards.
They should slide in easily. Leave large enough expansion gaps between planks so that you can apply adhesive to the new boards. Place something heavy on the new boards to help them settle in place as the adhesive dries.
6) After Replacement
Your floor is as good as new once you have replaced the planks. But if you have had to replace them owing to water damage, it is worth being more careful from now on.
Clear up liquid spills immediately, make sure your laminate flooring is protected from potential water sources, and fix leaky pipes or appliances.
7) Additional Tips and Advice
If you are doing this yourself for the first time, here are a few things to bear in mind:
- Only deal with one board at a time, when you are removing and when you are replacing. Trying to do more than one at a time can lead to splinters and injuries or mistakes.
- Purchase more boards than you need. There is always a chance you may need to replace boards again and you’ll want to ensure your laminate floors are matching.
This guide covers every step you need to know to repair your laminate floors. However, not every homeowner is capable of finishing a big job like this. You might begin your DIY project and realize you’re in over your head.
Instead of working on your own, call IDC Restoration. We’ll evaluate your laminate floors and treat them for water damage, so you don’t have to.
Call us today to get started on the process and make your laminate floors like new again!