How to Repair Laminate Flooring
Compare the cost of replacing or repairing a laminate floor yourself vs hiring a professional contractor.
The nature of laminate flooring is such that, for the most part, damage to laminate planks can’t be repaired and instead require replacement. If just one or two planks have been damaged replacing them can be a fairly cheap option when done by a professional and cheaper still if you have the DIY skills to do the work yourself. If a larger area of your flooring has been damaged then you may discover that the most cost effective way to repair your laminate floor is to replace the whole floor completely.
For minor flooring repair, like fixing scratches, there are cheap laminate floor repair kits that can be bought online and will cost between $12 and $60. Some other small stains or cigarette burns can be fixed and repaired with simple cleaning techniques and small cracks can be repaired using a laminate repair paste. For these smaller problems we give you some resource links to sites that will show you how to repair laminate flooring yourself.
For now though we will focus on the more serious laminate flooring repairs that you may face and lay out the likely average costs per square foot when you hire a professional flooring contractor to undertake the work.
Reparing Laminate Flooring: Scenarios and Cost
Let’s define terms here to avoid confusion:
- Laminate floor repair: Removing and replacing only the damaged planks in a room.
- Laminate floor replacement: Removing and replacing damaged and undamaged planks in a room.
Costs are discussed below. First, here is how the pros approach laminate floor repair based on two key issues:
- Where the damaged flooring is located
- Whether the laminate is floating or glued
Here are the potential scenarios for repair and the strategies employed.
Scenario 1 – Lift and replace: Floating laminate flooring close to a wall that it runs parallel to:
- The molding on the nearest wall is removed
- Flooring spacers are removed
- Laminate pieces between the wall and the damaged laminate are removed and numbered for reinstallation
- The damaged piece or pieces are replaced
- The undamaged pieces leading back to the wall are reinstalled
- The spacers are put back in place, and is the molding is reattached
All other scenarios – Cut out and replace: This approach is used with all glued flooring because the pieces are destroyed in the removal process. Flooring contractors also use it with floating floors when the damage is more than 3 or 4 rows away from a parallel wall because it is the faster method:
- The blade of a circular saw is set about 1/16” deeper than the thickness of the laminate
- The saw is used to cut out the center of the damaged piece(s) about 1/4″ from the abutting edges
- Floating floor is lifted out while glued flooring is removed with a chisel
- Old glue is meticulously removed from the underlayment when present
- The tongue is cut off replacement pieces, and they are glued into place, even in floating floors
Laminate repair cost: Most flooring contractors have a minimum service fee of:
- $75 to $225 for the first 30 to 60 minutes of work
Replacing two to four laminate pieces can usually be done within that time frame.
Repairs beyond 30-60 minutes are estimated by time and materials (such as glue) required for installation. Most floor repair contractors charge in this range:
- $35-50 per piece of floating laminate being replaced
- $40-$75 per piece of glued laminate being replaced
Laminate Floor Replacement Cost
When is it necessary to replace a large amount of laminate floor due to damage? Common reasons include:
- Widespread water damage affecting the flooring and/or the subfloor
- Termite infestation
- Poor installation or badly prepared subfloor causing gaps, buckling or uneven pieces
- Damage from pets or furniture
The question becomes when to repair just the damaged planks and when to replace the flooring in the entire room. A cost comparison of the two processes provides answers you can use to decide the best plan of action for your project.
Repair vs. replacement costs: When repairing individual planks of flooring, the work goes slowly because care must be taken not to damage the surrounding floor. Consequently, it is costly. Removing an entire room full of flooring goes much more quickly without the same need for care and precision.
Let’s start by converting the per-piece prices above into average costs per square foot. For example, a plank that is 6” wide and 8’ long is 4 square feet of flooring. It provides this comparison:
- Laminate floor repair: $17 to $40 per square foot
- Laminate floor replacement: $3.75 to $6.00 per square foot
Note that these costs don’t include the cost of the actual laminate flooring, typically $1 to $5 per square foot depending on its quality.
Your specific cost will be affected by these factors:
- Whether the flooring is floating or glued
- Repairing a contiguous section of flooring takes less time, so is less costly than repairing a large number of pieces scattered throughout the room
- The more trimming around posts, fixtures, cabinets and vents is required, the higher the cost will be
- Repair required to the underlayment or subfloor increases the cost significantly
- The cost of living and the level of competition among flooring contractors in your area will have a modest impact on cost
To estimate laminate floor repair costs: Measure the size of the section to be repaired and use the square-foot cost, or count the number of scattered pieces to be repaired and use the per-piece cost, to estimate the repair. Determine whether you have enough leftover material for the repair or whether you’ll have to buy material, and factor in material costs if applicable.
To estimate laminate floor replacement costs: Measure the size of the room. As noted, removing old flooring and installing new flooring costs $3.75 to $6.00 per square foot. Add the cost of new laminate that will need to be purchased for the job.
Depending on how much of the floor needs to be repaired, you might determine that replacing a room full of flooring might be the more cost-effective option. Additional benefits of that approach are that the new flooring will have uniform appearance, and it will be backed by a full warranty.
Helpful Online Resources for Minor Laminate Flooring Repair
Before you attempt to repair laminate flooring yourself take a look at these helpful sites: