DIY Guide to Repairing Damaged Laminate Flooring

Lawrence Bonk
Written by Lawrence Bonk
Updated June 6, 2022
A woman painting a chair on a laminate floor
Photo: Morsa Images / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Give your laminate flooring a little TLC

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Laminate flooring is a great option for many homeowners, thanks to its budget-friendly price tag and the ability to mimic many popular floor choices like hardwood or stone. An average install of laminate flooring costs$2,800, and it’s a hearty material, requiring little maintenance. 

However, accidents happen and laminate flooring is susceptible to cracks, buckling, moisture damage, and more. Before contacting a local floor repair specialist, try out these DIY fixes for common laminate floor repair issues.

Repairing Scratched Laminate

Laminate floor scratches are extremely common, so don’t fret as there are plenty of tools for simple DIY repairs, including wax pencils, repair putty, or a laminate repair kit. 

Wax Pencils

Wax pencils are a great tool for repairing minor scratches to laminate flooring. 

  1. Find a wax pencil that matches your floor’s color. You can find these wax pencils at hardware stores, stationery stores, or online. 

  2. Use the wax pencil to rub the scratch with short strokes, moving slowly back and forth. Try rubbing at a right angle for the best results. 

  3. Then, rub the scratch dry with a clean cloth to perform some simple buffing.

  4. If the scratch remains, repeat the process or move on to another method. 

Repair Putty

For deeper and hollowed scratches, turn to repair putty.This type of putty is available at hardware stores, online, or through the original laminate flooring manufacturer. 

  1. Rub the repair putty on the scratched area using the putty knife. 

  2. Scrape off any excess putty to flatten and level the area. 

  3. Let the putty dry for 24 hours, but no longer as soft putty is easier to remove than hardened putty. 

  4. Remove the putty with the knife and marvel at your scratch-free flooring. 

Dedicated Repair Kit

A woman wiping a laminate flooring with a cloth
Photo: SasinParaksa / Adobe Stock

If the wax pencils and repair putty didn’t help, you’ll have to try the most comprehensive option, a laminate flooring repair kit. These kits are available at local hardware stores. It helps to bring a small sample of your flooring to the store and ask for the appropriate repair kit to find an exact color match. 

  1. Start by using the applicator to remove any noticeable splinters near or on the scratches.

  2. Next, find the burn-in sticks to fill the scratch. Mix different shades of burn-in sticks to match your floor color. 

  3. If necessary, use fine-grit sandpaper to level the area to the rest of the floor. 

  4. Wipe the area clean with a damp cloth to remove dust, dirt, and debris. 

  5. Apple acetone or a varnish according to the kit’s instruction manual. 

  6. Let the area dry for 24 hours.

Repairing Laminate Peeling and Chipping

On occasion, minor accidents cause laminate flooring to peel or chip. There are a couple of methods for fixing this problem and getting your floor back in tip-top shape. 

Wood or Acrylic Filler 

Both wood and acrylic-based filler are great options for repairing chips and peels with laminate flooring. Either works well, so pick the product that best matches the color of your floor. Also, purchase a cleaning solvent and a putty knife as part of this process. 

  1. Remove any splinters with a putty knife or, very carefully, with a sharper blade. 

  2. Apply the cleaning solvent onto the peeled or chipped area, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

  3. Spread the wood or acrylic filler on the putty knife. 

  4. Apply the filler slowly and carefully over the impacted area. 

  5. Before it dries fully, apply another shallow layer of filler over and press gently with the putty knife.

  6. Clean off any excess filler and allow it to dry overnight. 

Repair Putty

In addition to fixing scratches, repair putty is a great resource for repairing small chips and peels. Follow the above repair process under scratches, with the only difference being the amount of putty used, which depends on the size of the chip or peeled area. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.

Repairing Laminate Dents

Moving furniture around or dropping a heavy object on the floor can cause denting to the laminate. Fortunately, there is an easy fix using a standard clothing iron and the magic of steam. 

  1. Pour a drop or two of water on top of the dent. 

  2. Grab a clean cloth, moisten it, and fold it four times to decrease the size to around one square inch. 

  3. Lay it on the dent and press gently, leaving it there.

  4. Preheat your iron and place the tip on the cloth, moving it in a circular motion until you see steam rising. 

  5. Keep moving the iron, applying moderate force, for around three minutes until the steam dissipates. 

  6. Remove the iron and cloth. The ultra-hot steam likely eliminated the dent. If not, repeat the process. 

  7. If the steam causes any floor discoloration, apply an oil stain that matches your flooring color. 

Repairing Laminate Soft Spots

A man repairing a laminate flooring
Photo: Dusan Ilic / E+ / Getty Images

Soft spots in laminate flooring develop after improperly installing the underlayment or from general weather and tear. Grab a can of spray foam and an air installation needle extension to fix this issue. 

  1. Plug the extension into the spray foam can. 

  2. Apply a layer of masking tape to the laminate flooring to protect it from the foam. You want to go underneath the laminate, not on top of it. 

  3. Use a power drill to drill a very small hole right in the middle of the soft spot. Be sure to use the smallest drill setting possible. 

  4. Insert the extension into the hole and inject spray foam. You’ll need multiple injection sites for large soft spots.

  5. Remove any excess foam and immediately cover the hole with duct tape.

  6. Once satisfied with the results, use a matching wood filler or repair putty to fill the hole.

Repairing Laminate Buckling and Water Damage

Unfortunately, significant water damage and buckling don’t have simple DIY fixes. The only solution is to replace the damaged laminate planks. This method requires a certain level of expertise, some specialized tools, and a few hours of your time, so it may be easier to hire a professional for this repair rather than doing it yourself. 

Here is a simple rundown of the process for replacing damaged laminate flooring.

  1. Inspect the flooring and locate damaged areas. Mark impacted planks for replacement.

  2. Remove the damaged planks with a putty knife or a pry bar. 

  3. Remove moisture from the subfloor (in the case of water damage) via vacuum or clean cloths. Allow the area to dry before laying down new planks. 

  4. Acquire new planks through the original manufacturer or by sizing some out at a hardware store. 

  5. Before installing, let the new planks acclimate to your home for two or three days to match humidity and temperature. 

  6. Click the new planks into place by hand or by using a hammer.

  7. If needed, install any finishing nails with a hammer. 

DIY Laminate Floor Repairs vs. Hiring a Pro 

The average cost to repair laminate flooring is $825, but it can vary based on the type of repair. Most of the above repair-related issues are easily handled with simple household items and tools available at hardware stores. However, in the case of buckled or water-damaged planks, consider hiring a pro for a fuss-free replacement process.

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