The biggest difference between the glue type joints and the glueless joints is the use of a router. Glue joints require the use of a router around the entire plank with a manufacturer’s specific router bit to remove the existing adhesive and glued joint. This creates a groove joint that receives a spline that is glued into the groove on one side and one length. This article will cover board replacement of the glueless joint, as these types of joints are more prevalent nowadays.
Board replacement is considered the last solution; if the installer can use color pens, wood/laminate filler or hot wax to make any corrections, that is the best approach. If board replacement is necessary, there are a couple of ways to approach the replacement. If the board that requires replacement is fairly close to a wall, the installer may be able to “unclick” the flooring, replace the bad board and “re-click” the flooring. What if the board that needs to be replaced is out in the center of the room? It will be much easier at this point to just do a board replacement rather than “unclick” and “re-click” the floor back together. Cutting out the existing board is basically the same for floating laminate and hardwood.
Tools that you will need for board replacements:
• A pad to place your tools on while you work so you don’t end up scratching and then replacing more planks than you had planned on (Photo 1)
• Sharp chisels
• Center punch (regular and self centering)
• Utility knife
• Pry bar
• 18 inch x 4’ section of 0.028”-0.032” thickness countertop laminate
• Laminate snips
• Drill with 3/16” drill bit
• Circular saw
• Table saw
• Blue tape
• Felt marker
• 5-minute Epoxy
• Paint thinner (for immediate clean up of epoxy on surface)
• Kool Glide hard surface tool
• Utility tape, double stick tape, carpet tape (Seam Master Ind., Only tape that will work with Kool Glide tool)
• Carpenters square
• Channel lock pliers
• Suction cup ( to assist in lifting out board after dry fit)
• Floating flooring
First, make sure that the board you are going to use for replacement will fit the area to be repaired. This article covers boards that are the same dimensions. It may be necessary to cut boards to length at times, this requires more time, tools, and is another article.
Place blue tape at the corners of the board to be replaced; this gives you a visual aid so that you avoid damage to the surrounding boards (Photo 2). You can also place tape along the length of the board. Using a felt tip marker and a carpenters square, draw lines from the corners at a 45-degree angle towards the center of the board; do this at both ends of the board. Next, draw lines along the length of the board approximately 1/2” to 1 1/2” (depending on manufacturer) in from the edge of the board (Photo 3). I make two marks toward the center of the board at a diagonal for ease of removal; this is not necessary but I have found that it makes it easier for some of those boards that are more difficult to remove (Photo 4). Corners now have to be addressed. Using a circular saw right to the corner will have the potential of cutting into the adjacent board; to avoid this, it will be necessary to either drill or punch out the corner. A drill with a sharp 3/16” drill bit or center punch is used to create a space where the circular saw can cut to without cutting into the adjacent board. If using a drill, a self-centering punch is a handy tool to use as it is spring loaded and makes an indentation into the board (Photo 5). Place the drill bit in the center of the punch set making sure that the edges of the drill bit do not touch the edges of adjacent boards when drilling through the board. If the drill bit is not sharp and you do not use a punch, you may find that the drill bit will spin across the surface of the board and possibly cause damage to adjacent boards. You can also use a regular center punch. It is not necessary to use a drill when using just the center punch. Position the center punch so that it will not touch any adjacent boards, use a hammer and drive the center punch through the board (Photos 6 and 7).
To prepare to cut the damaged board, adjust the circular saw blade to the depth of the board; keep safety in mind and make sure to remove the battery if using a cordless saw and unplug if using a corded saw (Photo 8).
We use three different types of tape depending on the product and amount of traffic. If the board is being replaced in a minimal traffic area, use the KoolGlide hard surface tool and carpet seam tape with a thin film of epoxy along the edge where the groove joint that is cut, meets the tongue portion of the existing floor. If it is in a heavy traffic area, use the KoolGlide hard surface tool with either the double stick tape or the utility tape with a laminate backer. Countertop laminate in thicknesses of 0.028”- 0.032” work the best. Cut to 48-inch strips approximately six inches wide. The laminate backer is thin enough yet rigid enough to support the joint with the use of tape. Laminate backer can be cut on a table saw with a 60 to 80 tooth blade or with a hand held laminate cutter (Photo 17).
The double stick tape and the utility tape have a pressure sensitive adhesive on the backside protected by a removable paper. Peel and stick the tape to the laminate backer and center the tape and laminate backer along the laminate flooring joint under the tongue portion of the installed flooring (Photos 18 and 19). Place a section of the laminate backer around the two groove sides of the installed flooring; it is not necessary to place any tape as this just helps to maintain flatness of the replacement board.
If you prefer using epoxy on the tongues with the tape for added strength, dry fit the board and if it fits, use a suction cup to remove the board and apply a thin film of epoxy to the exposed tongue portion of the existing flooring (Photo 20).
Because it is a floating floor, the thickness of the laminate backer and tape, approximately 0.04”, will not affect the appearance or overall flatness of the flooring but it will add significant strength to the joint. For more detailed information about the KoolGlide tool, log onto www.kool-glide.com and download the safety and ops manual.