How to fix water damage to laminate flooring

Updated February 21, 2017

Laminate flooring is usually a layer of wood encased in plastic laminate over a composite wood or plastic base. As such, it can't be refinished in the way that a regular wood floor can if there's water damage. That's the bad news. The good news is that laminate flooring today is almost always laid in a glueless, "floating" system in which the boards clip together like puzzle pieces and aren't attached to the subfloor. This allows you to take the floor apart so you can get to the damaged area and replace the boards.

Pry off the floor trim around the perimeter of the floor with your prybar and hammer, keeping it intact. Knock out the nails with your hammer. Set the trim aside.

Move to the edge of the floor that's running parallel to a wall and closest to the damaged area. There will be a gap of 9 mm to 1.2 cm (3/8 to 1/2 inch) between the edge of the floor and the wall (exposed by the removal of the trim). Push the boards at the edge of the floor forward, toward the wall and into the gap, until they separate from the boards next to them. Don't take the loose boards up, but leave them lying loosely in place.

Repeat the process, pushing each course of boards loose from the floor, leaving them in their place in the order they were in, but unattached. Work your way across the floor toward the damaged boards.

Take out the damaged boards when you get to them. Slide the replacement boards in their place.

Put the floor back together in the opposite manner that you took it apart, locking the boards against each other course by course, working your way toward the wall. Re-assemble all of it.

Set the trim back in place around the perimeter of the floor. Secure it with trim nails and your hammer.

Things You'll Need

  • Prybar
  • Hammer
  • Replacement laminate floor boards (same style and size as the water-damaged boards)
  • Trim nails
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author