Help me fix my floor!
November 1, 2010 10:27 AM   Subscribe

How can I fix already-laid laminate flooring?

About a year ago, I put laminate flooring (Quick Step, if it matters - the clicklock stuff) down in our living room. It was my first time ever doing it, and it went OK, except around the heat registers - I had no idea what to do so I just cut around them, but I cut far too wide, so now there's one register that has about an inch of exposed flooring around two sides of it and another which has significantly more, probably about six inches between the flooring and the wall that is exposed.

Both of these registers are behind furniture, so we aren't staring at them constantly, but they also haven't been fixed, and now I'm unemployed with time on my hands, so I'd like to see if I can fix them. The challenge is that I'm bad at things, and have no idea if this is fixable without pulling up parts of the floor and re-laying new laminate, which I'm not sure I can/want to afford, what with the unemployment and all. I think the one that only has an inch gap can be "fixed" by putting down a big heat-register cover of some sort, but the other one has me stumped.

Has anybody had experience fixing floors like this? Am I going to have to be resigned to waiting until I can buy a couple more boxes of flooring, pull up what I've done, and fix it properly?
posted by pdb to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The first can be fixed with a louver-type cover (wood, metal, etc.) The second needs a length of identical flooring cut exactly to length (maybe you could remove a piece from inside a cupboard or closet), edge glued to the existing laminate (or wide double-sided tape underneath might hold it in place), then finished with another louvered cover.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:40 AM on November 1, 2010

Response by poster: pandemonium -

Thanks. I'm assuming if I cut a piece of flooring to length I will need to somehow remove (dremel, sand) the exposed tongue from one side of the laminate, to make it fit properly, correct?
posted by pdb at 12:25 PM on November 1, 2010

The problem with setting replacement boards in a situation like the second cover is that you end up with a very long seam and it draws the eye - it's why you stagger the boards through the room rather than having all the edges line up.

So the ultimate fix would be to remove a few boards so you can have a perfect stagger rather than the 2-3 boards in a row you'll have with the same end point. But next to a register? I don't think it'll make any real impact on anyone.

If you have several pieces of scrap left from the project then you can try to find the ones that are closest to the boards you're setting it next to, making the seam as unnoticeable as possible. Again, I wouldn't sweat it much if I were you. Just cut the pieces to fit - you might have an easier time if you shave off the tongues on the boards you're using so you can simply press them into place - and use a light quantity of glue to hold them down so that the next owners aren't cursing your name if they remove the floor.
posted by phearlez at 12:25 PM on November 1, 2010

Why would you have to cut off the exposed tongue? There should be a corresponding groove in the laminate strip you cut, no? You might have to cut off a small tongue from one end, if that's what you mean.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 3:36 PM on November 1, 2010

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