Laminate flooring is a strong and sturdy product that often lasts as long as 20 years. It's guaranteed against staining and UV damage, although it can't make the same guarantee against water damage or spills; these are the most common reasons for warping or cupping in laminates. The flooring replicates the look of stone or wood but is most often associated with the Pergo brand of laminate flooring, which resembles the look of engineered and solid hardwoods. The product, when maintained per the manufacturer's instructions, can withstand potential water damage if a spill is taken care of immediately. Also, using higher-grade laminates and making sure the product is properly installed or replaced can avert any problems with respect to water.
Removing a Spill
If an accidental spill does occur on a laminated floor, make sure you use a dry mop to sop up the residue. Do not disperse the liquid with a wet mop over the floor as this can lead to expansion of the floorboards and warping or buckling. Water spills can also be readily handled with a wet vac. This is an excellent tool for immediately suctioning up water and removing the threat of water damage.
Watch the Ratings
Make sure that the laminate floor you select is rated AC 2 or 3 for residential purposes. These ratings help reduce the possibility that your floor will succumb to damage from any spill or leakage of water.
Replacing a Section of Flooring
Should a water spill cause the ends of the floorboards to curl, the only measure you can take is to replace that section of flooring. Since most laminate floors are installed as a floating installation, this shouldn't present too much of a problem as this type of installation requires no glue and is installed over a subfloor such as concrete or vinyl. Once you remove the damaged floorboards and dispense of any mould or mildew by replacing the underlayment beneath the floor, you can readily incorporate new floorboards and underlayment in the area. Make sure corner joints fit tightly and fill in any expansion gaps with sealant. When you install a laminate floor, be certain you order an extra box or two of your chosen flooring should you need to replace any part of your flooring because of damage.
Maintaining the Floor
A laminate floor needs very little maintenance. Use cleaners recommended by the manufacturer. Many of these cleaners are citrus-based and non-abrasive and therefore reduce the damage that can result when using a soap-based solution in combination with water.
Avoiding Water Spills
Besides using the special cleaning products designed for laminates, avoid water spills and the resulting damage they can cause by using replacement pads that need no water and are designed for laminates to clean dirt and dust. Follow up with a vacuum if needed.