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Laminate plastic floor board construction detail - Dream Home Laminate Floors catalog Laminate Flooring Damage, Diagnosis, Repair

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This article explains types of damage that occurs on various types of plastic laminate or thin-wood-surface laminate flooring in buildings.

We discuss several repair approaches that can assist in repairing stained areas on both wood and laminated wood or plastic lamianted floors.



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Diagnose & Repair Water or Solvent Stains on Wood or Laminate Flooring

Water or solvent-damaged laminate flooring (C) InspectApedia.com  SMSeveral of the types of flooring damage discussed beginning at FLOOR DAMAGE DIAGNOSIS. Stains as well as buckled, cracked, or heaved floor boards of all types may be due to leaks or high moisture, or they may be due to spills of other liquids, solvents, or to bad pets who pee where you'd rather they didn't.

On most floors, stains, gaps, buckling, warping and mold are water-related or moisture-related problems in flooring systems. Here we add another flooring damage example provided by a reader. We think the floor shown in the photos here was damaged by a solvent spill that was left unattended.

If you are concerned about mold-contaminated flooring, see MOLD CLEANUP - WOOD FLOORING.

[Click to enlarge any image]

Question: what is the reason for this floor damage and what can I do about it?

I noticed a damage on my floor, it seems like a water damage. I'm not a 100% sure, as this area was carpeted. I would appreciate any assistance in finding possible reasons to this damage, especially because we moved in five months ago, and the place is brand new.

Attached is the floor picture, would appreciate any advice. - Anonymous by private email 2017/05/23

Reply: water or solvent damage to a plastic laminate floor

From the photos and guessing on my part, this looks like a plastic-laminate-type flooring that had something wet placed or more likely a solvent in the area of damage.

As the floor was previously carpeted (one of your photos shows what looks like the underside of a carpet rolled back) I'd guess that there was a spill that remained in the spot for a time and was not noticed until the carpet was removed - in fact a spill and carpet damage could be the very reason carpeting would be removed.

Or someone spilled solvent after the laminate floor was installed, didn't notice or clean up in time, and then on seeing the damage, "swept it under the rug" so to speak, hoping no one would roll back the carpeting to snoop around.

It's tough, however to reconcile that history with a place being "brand new". The damage crosses the border of individual flooring to affect three boards so it certainly occurred to the floor after the flooring was installed.

The spill could have been water or a solvent. If the laminate flooring is plastic rather than real wood, I suspect the spill was a solvent. If the laminate flooring is actually a wood product there could have been dog pee, a potted plant leaking water, or a similar condition.

If there is a basement or crawl area below this floor it would be instructive to look at the underside of the subfloor below this area.

Laminated flooring that's plastic is discussed at LAMINATE PLASTIC FLOOR

Laminated wood flooring is described at FLOOR, WOOD ENGINEERED, LAMINATE, INSTALL

Repair Approaches for Water or Solvent-Damaged Wood or Plastic Laminated Flooring

Water or solvent-damaged laminate flooring (C) InspectApedia.com  SMOn wood floors that are stained and that have enough thickness of wood to permit cleaning, sanding and other treatments, I use a combination of cleaners, possibly a dilute bleach solution, drying, staining and re-finishing described at ANIMAL STAINS & MARKS in BUILDINGS and repair efforts are also described at PET STAINED WOOD FLOORS secret pee stains your dog or cat never mentioned.

The laminate-floor damage repair methods discussed below are best for plastic or vinyl-surfaced laminate flooring.

For actual engineered wood flooring repairs see this article: WOOD FLOOR ENGINEERED, REPAIRS,

For repair of traditional wood flooring, typically solid-wood 3/4" or thicker boards, see this separate article WOOD FLOOR DAMAGE REPAIR

Always Try the Least Aggressive Floor Repair First

On a plastic or very thin-laminate surfaced wood floor with damage such as shown in your photo I would be inclined to clean the area and try simply sealing the surface with a coating that itself does not contain solvents that further ruin the floor.

That will not remove the ugly patch but it will reduce its nastiness.

Laminate-Fix floor repair kits are sold to re-surface an area of damaged laminated plastic flooring. For small areas of nicks, chips, scratches, cracks and some burns, you can use this product to repair surfaces on flooring as well as cabinets that used a plastic laminated surface.

Plastic laminate repair kits can be purchased on various colors so you may be able to mix colors to get close to the original color of your flooring.

To use a plastic laminate repair kit you will need to

  1. Shake or stir the laminate repair mix thoroughly
  2. Fill cracks or gaps in the plastic laminate floor to just below the final surface of the flooring and let that dry two hours or more. Use multiple pours or coats until the cracks or gaps are filled to just at or very slightly above the surface of the remaining floor when the kit liquid has dried hard.
  3. Pour or brush on a final coating over the area of damage, taking care to stop neatly at the edges of the damaged area or to very lightly feather-brush the coating an inch or less into the surrounding floor surface.
  4. Dry: Let the final coating dry at least 24 hours until it is hard.

    Watch out: do not try final sanding or buffing before the final coat is very dry and hard. Otherwise you'll get an opaque, gouged, ugly surface and you'll have to scrape and sand it down and start over.
  5. Fine-Sand or Buff: Very light final sanding with 220 grit sandpaper or emory paper may be needed if you see brush marks or an edge mark where the laminate repair liquid edge stops on the good flooring. AVOID sanding into the original-finish area of the flooring or you'll damage it.

    Watch out
    : Like pruning a tree, stop sanding before you think you've done enough since over-doing it may make matters worse. Know when to stop. More about how to know when to quit making your repair job better is at THE DINK FACTOR - when to stop dinking around with it.

Examples of repairs and re-finishing of solid wood flooring with dramatic results are illustrated at LOOSE NOISY FLOOR REPAIR where we had both loose and damaged floor boards to fix.

Should you Try to Cut-and-Replace Damaged Plastic Lamiante Flooring?

Solid maple flooring © Daniel FriedmanWatch out: Unless you are experienced with very careful woodworking and floor repairs you should probably not not try cutting out and removing an actual section of vinyl or plastic laminate flooring in general, as it is difficult to cut the floor surface without damaging the surrounding very thin plastic surface and also because getting a replacement board in place neatly is difficult except for an experienced restorer.

Most floor repair article writers simply say give-up.

But I do not always want to throw in the plastic laminate floor damage towel, especially when the area of damage is small.

Really? Well sometimes: I figure if the laminate floor is already ruined I haven't got anything to lose by trying to cut out and repair a damaged section.

If you're determined to push past the warning above, the wood floor repair techniques, discussed in detail at WOOD FLOOR BOARD REPLACEMENT how to cut out and replace floor boards, can sometimes be used to replace real-wood engineered wood flooring if absolutely necessary.

But some gluing and jury-rigging will be needed to hold the replacement boards in place as the side and end joints of a snap together engineered wood floor cannot be left entirely in place if replacing a board out in the field of an exisiting floor.

If you don't want to live with the floor damage then flooring replacement will be needed.

Our photograph above shows a thin wood top layer on a laminated wood floor product. But your flooring looks like a vinyl or platstic laminate flooring product.

If I'm right that this is a plastic or thin-wood laminate flooring product, the bad news is that a damaged thin-surfaced wood or plastic surfaced laminate floor is difficult or almost impossible to repair while left in place.

As we show here and discuss further at LAMINATE PLASTIC FLOOR, the surface pattern on a plastic laminate floor is very thin, protected by a clear top coating.

Very thin wood surfaces on some laminate floor products can't be sanded at all - the wood veneer may be just a few millimeters thick.

And plastic laminted floor surfaces (probably your floor) use what amounts to a very thin photo-like image of wood (or other patterns) that cannot be removed, sanded, scraped without leaving the floor's inner core exposed to view.

A perfect repair of such floors will require removing enough flooring to insert matching replacement flooring "boards".

That is very difficult to do without either removing flooring starting at the floor edges (and hoping this is a clip-together floor not one that's nailed or glued down), or by very carefully cutting out the damaged floor section stopping the "cut" at the edges of intact boards.

I have repaired wood flooring by using a flooring hand-saw or a thin-bladed electric saw (protecting surrounding wood with masking tape) to cut out the damaged section. I saw about 2 millimeters away from the edge of the floor boards to remain so that I can be sure of leaving them un-damaged and I pre-score the flooring at cut lines with a utility knife and straight-edge. The cross-cut at floor board ends is done with a knife and a super sharp chisel.

Remove Damaged Flooring

Black stains on wood floor from water leaks at nearby door (C) Daniel FriedmanIf the damaged boards are close to a wall some handymen suggest that you remove the wall-floor trim board and pull up the outer floorboard to work maybe 2 or 3 boards in to the area of damage.

For the length of the floor boards to cut out, I plan to remove the damaged floor boards to about an inch beyond the ends of the damage along the length of the boards.

Really? Well sort-of. If a damaged board is close to a wall you might need to remove the kickboard trim just to get your saw cut through the end of a board section to remove it.

A candiate for removing and replacing wood floor boards close to a wall is shown in our photograph. Leaks at side panels of an entry door not only caused this black stain in the wood flooring but rot in the subfloor and sills below.

An owner had the floor sanded and re-finished before our inspection, but had left the stained, partly-rotted floor board in place. It would have been better to remove and replace the damaged flooring before the floor re-finishing project.

But considering that most tongue and groove or snap-together floor systems have their ends staggered across the floor, I sure as heck don't want to start removing long sections of flooring just to get at an area of damage that's just a foot in diameter.

Damaged Plastic Lamiante Floor Board Cutting & Removal Procedure

Details of how to cut out damaged wood flooring to insert replacement boards are now found at WOOD FLOOR BOARD REPLACEMENT how to cut out and replace floor boards.

Lamninated Flooring Repair Products & Resources

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Continue reading at FLOOR DAMAGE DIAGNOSIS or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see ANIMAL STAINS & MARKS in BUILDINGS

Or see WOOD FLOOR BOARD REPLACEMENT

Or see WOOD FLOOR DAMAGE REPAIR

Or see these

Laminated Flooring Articles

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