Replacing damaged laminate planks in the middle of a floor is tricky but possible if you've installed a good quality laminate. A laminate thickness of 8mm or more is recommended to uninstall and reinstall the planks successfully. Thinner laminates may not withstand the wear and tear of taking up the floor and laying it back down. If you have seven or eight damaged planks to remove and enough replacement planks on hand, it is well worth the time and effort it takes to repair your floating floor.
Acclimatise the replacement laminate planks in the room 48 hours prior to installation. Unwrap the planks and make sure they are subject to the same conditions as the rest of the floor.
Use a pry bar to remove the baseboards and shoe moulding. Use a pencil to mark the order in which they were removed.
Remove the "T" moulding, metal track and reducer moulding at the doorway.
Use a pry bar to gently lift the first row of planks. Store the planks so that you can reinstall them in the same order.
Continue lifting the floor until you reach the damaged area. Remove the damaged planks.
Replace the damaged planks, a row at a time, using a skill saw to cut the end piece of the row to fit. Assemble the row end-to-end, then tilt and click it into the previous row. Press down on the joint, using a tapping block to make sure the locking mechanism is engaged.
Once the damaged pieces are replaced, reinstall the rest of the laminate floor in the same order as it was previously laid.
At the doorway use a screwdriver to replace the metal track. Click the "T" moulding and reducer moulding into place.
Nail the baseboards and shoe moulding back into the wall in the same order and placement as before.
If you only need to replace a couple of pieces in the middle of the floor consider hiring a professional installer to make the repair. A professional will remove the damaged planks with a skill saw, then shave, glue and fit the replacement planks into place. This method works well about 75 per cent of the time.
Always leave 1/4 to 1/2 inch for the expansion gap on all walls and at the doorway when installing laminate. Without a proper expansion gap the floor may buckle.