Can you fix water damaged laminate flooring? Good question. It all depends on how much water seeped into your laminate flooring. So how do you tell? And how do you know if your flooring needs to be replaced or if it can be salvaged? 

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Today we’re going to be discussing several different scenarios and what action to take in each one. After this, you’ll be able to determine the extent of the water damage and how to fix it. 

Laminate flooring FAQs

First off, let’s discuss laminate flooring and why it so susceptible to water damage. In fact, laminate is almost famous for water damage. Although laminate flooring has a lot of pros, such as affordability, it comes with a few cons. One of these is how easy it is for moisture to seep in and wreak havoc.

Although many mistakenly believe that it is made of plastic, laminate is actually made of particleboard materials and resins. It has several layers including a bottom layer to protect against moisture and a high-resolution photograph on the top. This photograph is encased in a clear protective layer to guard against wear and tear.

Common ways laminate floors can get damaged

There are a few common ways that laminate floors get damaged by water. For instance:

  • Dishwasher leaks
  • Bathtub, sink, and toilet overflows in bathrooms
  • Fridge leaks (especially if your fridge has an ice and water function)
  • Floods
  • Pipe leaks.

Your laminate is in danger of being ruined by any one of these, so do regular maintenance check-ups on your appliances. If your yard or home is prone to flooding, fix the problem immediately. Water has a sneaky way of finding routes into your home and damaging everything in its path. 

Dry it up

Can you fix water damaged laminate flooring? Actually, you may be able to save yourself from even having to ask that question – by drying up any water messes promptly! If a cup spills, don’t let the water sit. Wipe it up immediately. This goes for bigger messes, too. However, if your water issue is anything bigger than a small drink spillage, you should take serious measures.

Water splash from a glass

Stop the leak, first of all. Next, grab a shop vac and vacuum the water. Then, place a flat vacuum attachment against the floor and vacuum along every crack. This is intended to suck up any water that got between the boards. If water has reached the walls, pull up the baseboards to get a thorough cleaning. Use fans or a dehumidifier to help dry the spot before it is too late. 

There are many variables, of course. If the water has been standing on the floor for an hour or two (or less), there’s a good chance this will fix it. However, by the time water sits on laminate for three to four hours, there’s not much hope of saving it.

How to tell if laminate is still wet underneath

If water is squishing out of the cracks when you walk across laminate, that’s a sure sign that water has settled underneath. Keep vacuuming. You may be able to save it still, as long as the water has not saturated the boards yet.

However, if swelling, buckling, or bubbling occurs, that’s when it’s time to admit that the flooring needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, due to laminate’s construction, there is no way to repair it like you can hardwood. But thankfully, replacing laminate is an easy fix.

Replacing laminate flooring

At this point, calling in the experts is a good idea. Since improper laminate installation is sometimes the cause of permanent water damage, get it done right. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with replacing it yourself. Just make sure you have a firm grasp of the process. 

A person laying down laminate flooring

You should also invest in the right tools (or borrow them from a friend or neighbor). The good news? Laying laminate flooring doesn’t require a lot of fancy equipment. You’ll need a jigsaw, rubber mallet, pull bar, and a few other things. Check out this helpful article from the Family Handyman for more info.

Can you fix water damaged laminate flooring?

Can you fix water damaged laminate flooring? Yes, sometimes you can. If you are prompt when cleaning up water messes, fixing leaks, and resolving flooding, then there’s a good chance you can fix it. And if you quickly employ your wet-dry vacuum, water damage shouldn’t be a problem. 

If you’re considering laminate for your own home, go for it. But take this information to heart and get it installed correctly at the outset. If you’re dedicated to maintaining your laminate and to keeping an eye out for any water spills or leaks, this flooring will serve you and your family well.  Best of all, you’ll never have to ask the question “can you fix water damaged laminate flooring?”

Has water damaged your hardwood floors? We have a few tips for hardwood too.