I need to replace a couple of the laminate floor boards on my kitchen floor that were warped by water from a leaky refrigerator. My kitchen cabinets are installed on top of the laminate flooring, some of which needs to be removed and replaced. How can I remove the flooring without removing all the cabinets?
Ashley ~ Springfield, MO
Hi Ashley. The first thing I would check is that the cabinets are actually sitting on the laminate flooring as that would be a somewhat unusual situation. In most cases the flooring is installed after the cabinets and even if the cabinets were replaced at some point in time, the depth of the new units would be the same as the old. However, sometimes things get out of order when a home is built so perhaps that is the case with your kitchen cabinets and laminate flooring.
It is possible to remove just the boards that have warped, but it isn't going to be easy. If you're not a skilled DIYer, you may want to call in a contractor so there is less chance of your kitchen floors getting damaged. However, if you or someone else in the house is handy with tools, replacing the boards can be done in an afternoon.
I'm not sure how the boards run in relation to the cabinets, but if there is any quarter-round trim at the cabinet kickplate, remove it carefully. It is normally just held in place with small finish nails or brads. You will then need to use a small power tool such as a grinder or oscillating muti-purpose unit with a cutting blade to cut the board or boards where they go under the cabinets. Take care to only cut to the depth of the flooring -- you don't want to cut the subfloor underneath.
If your laminate flooring is snap-together, the boards should be able to be removed with a small pry-bar taking care not to scratch the flooring you hope to keep. Glue down flooring is a little tougher and requires cutting a section out of the center of the damaged boards and removing the pieces with your bar. Be careful the tongues of the good boards aren't damaged during the process.
Once the damaged boards are out, you can snap-in or glue down the replacement laminate flooring. While this whole process might sound like a simple job, it really should be done by a flooring contractor or you may end up replacing more than just a few pieces.