Laminate Flooring Repair How To's

    Photo: adrian 8_8/flickrLaminate flooring has been taking the home decor market by storm for over two decades now. And no wonder, with all it has to offer -- durability, low maintenance, and glowing good looks, for a modest outlay of cash. Yet, although the typical warranty is 20-30 years, laminate floor is not indestructible. Especially if you have children and/or animals in your home, laminate is subject to both normal wear and tear and occasional damage.

    An advantage of this type of flooring, however, is that it is installed as a "floating floor," rather than being nailed in place. This means that in case of damage, a small section can be fixed -- you do not have to replace the whole floor. Find out the facts about laminate flooring repair.

    DAMAGE PREVENTION

    To minimize the possibility of scratches to your flooring, cushion the feet of your furniture with felt floor protectors. And speaking of feet, keep your pet's claws trimmed too. Doormats at each entrance to your house will avoid the tracking in of potentially harmful sand and debris, as well as moisture.

    Wipe up any spilled liquids -- even plain water -- promptly to avoid staining and/or bubbling of the laminate floors.

    REPAIR PREPARATION

    Clean the floor with a microfiber mop before attempting any repair. Many of the fixes listed below will work best if no one walks on the floor for a period of up to 24 hours afterwards. In case of major damage or stubborn stains, consult your flooring contractor; repair may be covered by your purchase warranty.

    COVER-UPS AND FILLERS

    1. Touch-up Pen or Filler Stick

    To tackle minor scuffs, scratches, or nicks, try inexpensive, easy-to-use touch-up pens or filler sticks (similar to wax crayons). Pens may be bought individually, but for the most successful color match, it's best to purchase a set. This will include several wood tones varied from light to dark, such as oak, maple, walnut, mahogany, and so on, to blend as appropriate. The pens cost about $10 per set and dry completely in 5 minutes. They may be utilized for touch-ups on furniture, in addition to laminate flooring, but are only for indoor use. Filler stick sets are higher priced, but can fill small scratches and don't require any drying time.

    2. Laminate Floor Repair Kit

    A laminate floor repair kit is the most costly fix in the "cover-up and filler" category. However, in addition to giving a more precise color match, it can fill in somewhat larger gouges and holes. The kit may contain wax, paste, or putty, with a variety of tints that you custom blend to the shade you want. The tools you will need to prepare and apply the compound, such as a spatula and brush, are normally included.

    BOARD REPLACEMENT

    3. Remove and Replace

    In case of more serious damage to your laminate floor, repair will involve replacing the damaged board(s). For the neatest results, carefully remove the baseboard closest to the area of laminate flooring which you need repaired. Then disassemble the floor, unlocking board after board from its tongue-and-groove arrangement, until you are able to take out the damaged one. Attach your replacement and work backwards to put the floor back together.

    4. Cut and Glue

    If floor disassembly proves to be too difficult, you can slice out the blemished area only and then carefully cut a laminate "patch," measured to fit the empty spot. After gluing the patch in place, put a heavy weight on top and leave it to dry undisturbed for 24 hours. NOTE: The assumption here is that you have a few extra boards left over from your laminate floor installation. If this is not the case, take the damaged piece to your supplier to find the best match.

    Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.

    Updated June 13, 2018.

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