Everyone knows that installing real hardwood flooring can be quite expensive. Today many people are choosing to install laminate hardwood flooring instead because it is so much more affordable. Not only is it more affordable, but the way it is made now also mimics the look of real hardwood fairly well. It is easy to clean and to take care of for the most part.
In a lot of cases, a handy homeowner can purchase the laminate flooring and can even install it themselves. It really isn't that difficult to do if you can use a saw and follow directions. The snap and lock pre-cut boards can go down fairly quickly. Most people can lay down an average size room in a day or so.
Water Damage Can Ruin Laminate Flooring
Unlike some other type of flooring, laminate hardwood can be damaged by water pretty quickly. It's one drawback is that it doesn't take a lot of water to make it warp. It can be damaged by water coming in around a door frame. It can get water damaged by leaking appliances or sinks. Of course if you have a plumbing or natural disaster flood, it could ruin the entire laminate floor and the wood underneath.
In the event of a whole room or whole house flood, chances are you are going to need a professional to come in and tear the whole floor up when it's laminate. They will have to check the plywood underneath to see whether or not it can be saved and depending on how long the water was in there and they will need to check for mold too.
When You Need to Patch a Laminate Floor
Thankfully, not all leaks will cause enough damage to need to replace the entire floor. This is a good reason to always buy a little extra laminate when you first install it so if you need to make a patch at some point, you will already have matching boards on hand.
First you need to determine where the closest wall is to the water damaged area. You don't want to have to take up any more boards than needed. You will need to take up any baseboards or other trim that is along the wall where you are starting. It is a good idea to label each board with a piece of easily removable tape or sticker and letter or number them so you can identify where it goes once your patch job is done. Slowly work your way back removing one board at a time until you reach the damage boards.
Tools You Will Need For the Job
You will definitely need some type of flat pry tool so you can get the boards to pull up easily, especially the first ones along the edge of the wall. Since you are not supposed to glue laminate hardwood down in any way, the rest of the boards should flip up and out fairly easily. A multitool with a small saw blade may or not be necessary depending on if you have to make a cut in a board that is underneath something like a cabinet that you can not take out. You will need a hammer or preferably rubber mallet to help tap the boards back in place once you have replaced the bad pieces. You may have to move some appliances around and out of the way if the damage is in a kitchen.
Basically, you will be taking a puzzle apart and removing the bad pieces and then putting the puzzle back together. Don't take up any more pieces of board than necessary. Make sure all of your pieces fit snugly together as you go. Once you get back to the wall where you started, it will be a simple matter of replacing any trim like the baseboards. If you take your time and work carefully, this is a job most home owners can do. If you doubt your ability at all, you can call in someone to replace the bad boards for you. What it will cost will depend on how large the area is and much board they have to take up and put back down.