How to Repair Water Damage on a Laminate Floor

Rolled laminate flooring with water damage
Rolled laminate flooring with water damage (Image: printerr;

Laminate flooring, by design, will last many years with little effort. Wet mopping, plumbing leaks, major liquid spills and flooding will begin breaking down the composition of the laminate material. Fix any leaks to prevent further damage. All areas of laminate that become loose, discolored or warped need to be replaced. Placing a rug over the affected areas might disguise the problem, but it will also allow the damage to settle down into the wood subflooring. Accurate measurements and replacement laminate flooring materials will have your floor looking like new.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety glasses
  • Measuring tape
  • Putty knife
  • Small pinch bar
  • Utility knife
  • Flooring adhesive
  • Replacement underlayment material
  • Replacement rolled laminate, laminate tile or laminate planks

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Remove the damaged laminate tiles by running a putty knife under the loose edges. Start removal at an edge that has already separated from the floor, or cut a hole in the warped tile using a sharp utility knife.

Check the underlayment material and subflooring for signs of rot or mildew and mold. Measure and cut the amount of replacement underlay needed and attach it to the subfloor using flooring adhesive.

Pull the backing that protects the adhesive on the new laminate floor tile. Position it neatly in the vacated spot. Press firmly to adhere it to the floor.

Remove baseboards or moldings along any area needing to be replaced. Leave these in place if the damage is limited to areas away from the floor edging.

Use a sharp utility knife to cut and remove the smallest area possible of water-damaged laminate flooring. Roll out, measure, and cut a new piece of laminate. Match any designs on the flooring as closely as possible.

Replace any water-damaged underlayment with new material. Apply a generous amount of flooring adhesive to the back of the new laminate piece and install it into the open area. Place a heavy object over the new laminate to help hold it into place. Allow the recommended drying time stated on the flooring adhesive label. Replace any moldings or baseboards removed for the project.

Remove baseboards and floor molding and set aside. Use a putty knife or a small pry bar to separate the laminate planks from one another. Remove as many as needed to reach the area needing repair.

Inspect the subfloor and underlayment for damage and mold or mildew. Replace underlayment with fresh material by applying flooring adhesive to the back and pressing it firmly down onto the subfloor wood.

Measure and cut replacement planks using a circular saw. Lock the replacement planks into place. Add a small amount of flooring adhesive to the tongue and groove portions of all planks that will be bearing heavy traffic. Reinstall all floor moldings or baseboards.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep extra laminate flooring material around for repairs.
  • Wear safety glasses when using the circular saw. Keep the area well ventilated when using the flooring adhesive. Make sure the area beneath the damaged laminate flooring is dry and free of mold and mildew. The Environmental Protection Agency describes the possible harmful effects of mold and mildew exposure in their booklet entitled "Mold Remediation in Schools and Public Buildings" (EPA402-K-01-001; appendix B) and it recommends ways of cleaning this from your home in the booklet "A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home" (EPA402-K-02-003)


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