Can you fix water damaged laminate flooring?
When you originally bought your laminate flooring, you probably purchased it for looks as well as functionality. Most laminate is technically able to withstand occasional spills. Consequently, when you drop a glass of juice, it isn’t going to do any damage to the laminate.
Flooring is a different matter.
When laminate becomes super-saturated with liquid, whether it’s water or water mixed with dirt or sewage, it begins to absorb the moisture. Eventually, this can lead to a whole host of problems. For instance, you might notice that certain laminate planks are buckled. Others could be bent in unusual ways. And as you walk across the floor, some planks could “give” under your footsteps.
These are all dramatic — and unpleasant — indicators that your laminate floor needs to be professionally repaired by someone like an expert from ServiceMaster of Lincoln Park.
In the meantime, you should take some immediate actions to get the process moving and your home back to its pre-flooding condition.
How to Fix Laminate Floor Water Damage?
- Be Sure That the Source of Water Damage Is Contained
There is no point in fixing your laminate floor if it is just going to be damaged again. Find the source of the flooding or leaking and take care of it. By putting your laminate floor repair job on hold till you are sure that the flooding or leaking has ended, you will protect your floor from being waterlogged in future.
- Inspect the Locking System to Identify Damaged Plans
By doing this, you will determine the destroyed areas. This step should be easy, but it will require your undivided attention. Check for warping and bubbles, also be thorough in your evaluation. Mark the affected areas with a marker pen or sticky notes according to the severity of the damage. This way, you can quickly access how far-reaching the damage is and take the appropriate measures.
- Get the Right Tools for the Project
Here’s a checklist of the things you will need to get the job done: safety glasses, flooring adhesive, putty knife, utility knife, measuring tape, cleaning solvent, pliers, hammer and replacement underlayment material. You will also need to find a new laminate planks that match your existing flooring. It is not easy to find matching laminates and many homeowners opt to replace the entire floor instead of just fixing the damaged portion. Avoid last-minute shopping trips to the flooring store by having the mentioned materials ready ahead of time.
- Remove the Laminate Up to the Problem Zone
You will need to use the right tools for this task. If you don’t want to spend money on purchasing new equipment, you can hire a professional. Before you settle on a technician or flooring company, do a background check to ascertain their credibility. If you choose to do it yourself, carefully pull up the damaged planks by running a putty knife under the damaged edges. You must get rid of the entire plank even if only a small portion of it is damaged. This is because every plank is a single unit. Pry up the planks as well as the baseboard to expose the bare floor beneath. Check the sub-flooring for any sign of mold or mildew. If you don’t notice any damage, reinstall the planks that are popped up.
- Replace the Damaged Planks.
Replacing the damaged planks might be the biggest challenge. Ensure to replace using the same laminate planks you have installed. Unless you bought extra planks when you first installed them, getting exact replacements can be daunting as you could soon discover. To avoid replacing the whole floor, purchase from the same manufacturer or laminate flooring dealer, or at least find a suitable replacement that will balance nicely. Get rid of moldings in preparation for replacing flooring.
- Finish by Reinstalling The Flooring.
Remember to match any designs on the laminate flooring as closely as possible. Apply enough adhesive and place and heavy object on your new laminate. If installing in water prone areas, like the bathroom, allow the floor to dry completely before using.
Removing the Damaged Laminate Pieces
Pry up the damaged planks one at a time with a putty knife.
- If you don’t have a putty knife, use a butter knife. Wear protective eye gear during this step to prevent dust, dirt, or anything else from getting into your eyes
- Dispose of the damaged planks as you go to avoid clutter building up.
Remove the baseboards under the tiles.
- This exposes the bare floor underneath and lets you fully inspect your floor to check for buildup of dust or mold. Like with the planks themselves, remove the baseboards one at a time to avoid damaging the flooring even further.
- If you pry up a plank but don’t notice any damage to it, simply reinstall it back into the floor!
Clean the floor underneath the planks before replacing them.
- Things like water and dirt can build up under your floorboards, so use a broom and dustpan to sweep everything up. Then, take a cloth and wipe every inch of the exposed floor.
- If there’s anything on the exposed floor, it can prevent the planks from sliding in place next to one another. Go over the area to ensure nothing could get in the way of the planks.
Repair laminate flooring water damage with these steps
Regardless of whether you have major or minor water damage, these six steps will help you contain and repair damage and get your floors back to normal:
1. Stop the leak
source of vinyl floor water damage
If you can’t pinpoint the source of a leak, contact a professional immediately to prevent further damage.
What’s the first step in learning how to fix a laminate floor that got wet?
Stop it from becoming any wetter.
It’s impossible to fix the damage unless you stop the leak, first. With this in mind, the first step of repair is to locate the source of the water. While there are many causes of flooding when it comes to laminate flooring, faulty appliances (leaking dishwashers are a prime culprit), leaking toilets, and burst pipes are a few of the most common.
If you can’t find the leak easily on your own, contact a local contractor or a water damage contractor to help you find it.
2. Determine how much laminate needs repair
The next thing you’ll have to do is determine how extensive the flooding was, and how much laminate flooring you must repair.
Take a moment to evaluate your laminate flooring in each room. Note boards that are bubbled or warped, and boards that don’t fit together evenly. Mark damaged areas with a colored piece of tape or sticky note.
3. Remove damaged planks
Next, it’s time to remove the damaged planks and get to work fixing the areas that need it.
Before you begin this portion of the project, be sure you have all the tools you’ll need. As a general rule, you’ll need a hammer and a crowbar at the very least, although a utility knife will also come in handy.
4. Replace damaged planks
Once you’ve removed the damaged planks from the affected area, you’ll need to replace them with fresh planks.
While this is a very approachable DIY project, many people find it intimidating, since it can be difficult to match new laminate planks with the laminate planks you already have.
Because of this, this portion of the project will be easier if you have planks left over from when you first installed your floor.
If you don’t have any extra planks, head to your local home store to find planks that match your current planks as closely as possible. A slight variation won’t make a large difference once the planks are installed.
Once you’ve found the replacement planks, fit them with your current planks, taking care to avoid nails and other hazards that may have been exposed when you removed the existing laminate flooring.
Ask for Professional Help
It is true that fixing laminate flooring after getting drenched by water is extremely time-consuming and if you don’t know how to do this, you will cause more damage to your laminate floor.
You should know that there are professionals who are ready to help you in times of need. You can look for a water damage professional to handle the repairs. They can fix the root of the problem and they can replace your flooring professionally.
You don’t have to do it yourself and you won’t have to worry about messing up the installation. You just need to hire the professionals and your problem will be resolved in no time.