Laminates are an economical and superb choice in flooring. They are widely known for their durability in both residential and commercial settings. It is likely that if you have visited a retail store, medical centre, or even restaurant, you have seen laminates on the floor. Though it is incredibly hardwearing and tough, laminate flooring is prone to being damaged with enough force or impact from a blunt or sharp object. While some floors are impossible to fix, such as cracked tiles or rotting hardwood, it is still possible to rectify damaged laminate flooring if the issue is not too serious. Below, we take a look at three things you can do to fix your laminate flooring if they are in need of repair.
How Wood Laminates are Manufactured
If your laminate flooring is damaged, you may want to jump in and start fixing the issue right away. It does help, though, to understand how each plank is made and what the structure looks like. Laminates are made up of layers (usually four), with their core consisting of high-density wood fibre (HDF). Different products have varying qualities of HDF cores that influence how moisture-resistant, thick, and dense the planks will be. The thicker the HDF core, the more robust and stable the floor will be – so it is always a better option. What gives laminates that realistic “wood” look is the printed image that overlays the core. It is merely decorative and emulates hardwood, and the bonus here is that due to demand, laminate flooring comes in multiple shades and designs to mimic various types of solid wood.
Above the decorative print is a clear wear layer made with a laminated sheet. These sheets are rated according to Abrasion Class (AC) and the higher the AC rating, the more durable the product will be. Commercial-grade laminates usually have a very high AC rating to withstand a lot of foot traffic. The laminated sheet can then be embossed to add the texture of a real wooden grain. To the untrained eye, this will look like authentic hardwood flooring.
Assessing Your Damaged Laminate Flooring
Walking often on the floors with sharp high heels, a large piece of furniture sliding across the lounge, or a heavy piece of equipment hitting the floor can all cause damage. If the extent of the damage to your laminates is minor, it is still possible to fix it. In essence, small chips and scratches to the floor can be filled in.
1. Filling in Small Scratches
Scratches can be filled in or hidden, and there are a few ways to do so. Home improvement and hardware stores sell wax pencils or crayons that can be used to “colour in” the scraped laminates if the scratches are not too deep and wide. Ensure to purchase a shade that matches your floor and adequately rub the colour into the floor. The area can then be buffed out to remove any excess wax.
Some laminates are damaged too severely to hide the problem. Scratches that are deeper than the surface level can be filled in with repair putty created with laminate flooring in mind. Using a matching shade (or one that matches as closely as possible) spread the repair putty into and across the scratch using a putty knife. Once completely filled and compressed to create an even filling, clean up any excess and allow it to dry for the instructed period.
2. Fixing Buckling or Cupping Laminates
If the installation was not done right, there were likely inadequate expansion gaps left between the boards. During extreme temperature and moisture fluctuations, the boards can swell and contract. Without enough room between the planks, the swelling can lead to buckling which appears as a tent-like peak or small bump. Prevention is always better than cure, in this case. Avoiding moisture damage in laminate flooring is important, but proper installation is also key. DIY installations are easy, but also easy to botch. Having a professional install your floors to start with is generally the best option.
If your floors are currently buckling and damaged, the first course of action is to determine the cause. This will prevent further damage. Often, water damage is at the root of the issue, so look into any potential plumbing leaks or rising damp. In some cases, it may be possible to put a heavy weight on the buckling boards to allow them to flatten again as they dry out.
3. Replacing Only a Few Planks
Sometimes, scratches, chips and buckling are so severe that an entire board or two may need replacing. This is why it is essential to always purchase extra boards when investing in laminates, just in case repairs of damaged planks are needed. It may require that you carefully remove the baseboards and moulding, and then take out each board until you reach the damaged plank in need of replacement. You can also hire a professional to do this for you.
If your laminate flooring is damaged beyond repair and you feel it may be time for a complete overhaul, you can trust us at Top Carpets and Floors to provide innovative options, friendly service, and professional installations. For your customised quote, be sure to contact us today.