While laminate is a great, durable product, there may be times when you need to repair laminate flooring in your home. The good news is that you can make most of the repairs to a laminate floor yourself.
Common Laminate Floor Problems
You probably installed laminate flooring in your home because of its low maintenance and easy-to-care-for nature, so you may be unprepared to see small problems popping up over time.
The truth is that while laminate floors are durable and easy to care for, they aren't all created equal. Therefore there may be times when small issues crop up that will need some attention. Some of the most common problems with laminate floors include:
- Dents, gouges or chips in the melamine coating
- Surface scratches to the melamine coating
- Swelling or warping of seams and edges
- Peaks or hills formed at the joins between planks
How to Repair Laminate Flooring
Most of the problems that occur with laminate flooring can be repaired in a do-it-yourself application as part of regular laminate floor maintenance.
Light surface scratches caused by moving furniture, animal toe nails or hard soled shoes can be buffed out with an aerosol spray designed to repair scratches in melamine. Available at your local hardware store, products such as ScratchAway can reduce surface scratches as much as 80% with just a little spraying and rubbing.
Repairing Dents, Gouges or Chips
If a dent, gouge or chip has marred the surface of the melamine coating, a filler will be required to level out the surface of the floor. Most laminate floor manufacturers do make a repair kit to match their specific product, so your first step should be to consult the store you purchased the flooring from.
If you aren't sure who the manufacturer is, you can pick up a generic, laminate repair putty or wax stick at nearly any flooring retailer. These kits could be as simple as a single shade of putty that you apply to the dent and sand over lightly with sandpaper once it's dry, or as complex as to be able to reproduce swirls and wood grain. Depending on how large the dent or gouge is you can adjust material and technique accordingly.
Swelling or Warping of Seams, and Peaking of Floor Boards
The repair for any kind of seam problems, as well as severely cracked and damaged planks is the same. You'll need to pull them up and re-seat them. This is a lot easier than it sounds. Simply remove the baseboard molding on the side of the room closest to the damage. Then, use a pry bar to pull up the boards. Be gentle, since you don't want to crack the tongue-and-groove locking system.Pull up all the boards in the damaged section. Replace any that are severely cracked or damaged beyond repair, and re-set the old boards down with a little bit of space between them. Warping, peaking and swelling usually occur when moisture gets into the boards. They expand, and eventually butt into each other and have nowhere to go but up. By giving them just a little more space, you can even out the floor.
Once the floor has been leveled, just nail the baseboard molding back into place. If possible, you may want to keep a few extra planks on hand in a dry place, just in case you need to make more repairs like this in the future.
Make Small Timely Repairs to Avoid Big Repairs Later
Repair laminate flooring as these small problems crop up to keep the planks in the best condition possible. If the floors seem damaged beyond what you feel is your ability to handle, don't hesitate to call a professional to come take a look. Small damage can sometimes spread to become a bigger problem, so tackling these issues head on is the best approach to a long lasting, beautiful floor.