How to replace a damaged piece of laminate flooring

Updated November 21, 2016

Laminate flooring is a good choice for high traffic rooms because it is made of several layers that are laminated together. The top layer has aluminum oxide to protect it from wear, followed by a photographic layer of wood or stone, an inner layer made from High Density Fiberboard (HDF) and a bottom layer of resin saturated paper. The result is a sturdy floor designed to tolerate everyday use. But even the most careful users can have accidents that result in water damage, chipping and deep scratches. Minor scratches can be fixed with a laminate filler kit, but if the damage is more serious, the boards need to be replaced.

Start at the wall closest to the damaged piece. Lay a piece of scrap wood on the floor next to the quarter round moulding, which will help prevent damage to the floor. Sit a pry bar on the scrap wood. Push the claw under the quarter round and pull up to remove the moulding.

Wedge the claw of a laminate pull bar halfway under the laminate plank closest to the wall. Gently pry the piece up. Use your hands to lift the board to a 45-degree angle until you hear the click of the board unlocking. Remove the board.

Continue lifting the laminate planks to a 45-degree angle to unlock them from the rest of the flooring. Slide each piece out until you reach and remove the damaged piece. Check if the underpad is damaged as well, and if so, cut out the damaged portion of the pad with a utility knife.

Cut a new section of underlayment pad to fit the damaged section. The underlayment pad prevents moisture from damaging the bottom of the planks, so ensure that the replacement pad sits as close to the existing pad as possible. Use masking tape to attach it to the existing underlayment pad and seal it in place.

Use a circular saw to cut the replacement planks if necessary. Slide the new board into the existing floor so the tongue and groove fit tightly together. Hold the plank at 45-degree angle and gently push down until it locks into place. Continue until all damaged boards are replaced.

Reinstall the remaining boards. Install the last plank at the wall by using the laminate pull bar to hold up the plank. Push on the pull bar to lock the plank in place. Leave a 1/4-inch space between the floor and wall. Replace the quarter round moulding.

Things You'll Need

  • Scrap wood
  • Pry bar
  • Laminate pull bar
  • Utility knife
  • Underlayment pad
  • Masking tape
  • Laminate flooring
  • Circular saw
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