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Ask Angie: cost of water-damaged laminate flooring

The interlocking pieces that comprise laminate flooring make it fairly easy to lift and remove planks from damaged areas.
The interlocking pieces that comprise laminate flooring make it fairly easy to lift and remove planks from damaged areas. TNS

Q: How much does it cost to remove water-damaged laminate-wood flooring?

Gene S., Redondo Beach, Calif.

A: Waterlogged laminate is bad news. And wet laminate left in place could lead to even worse problems.

Because laminate flooring is a floating floor product — meaning it doesn’t need to be nailed or glued down — standing moisture can settle between the laminate and the concrete or subfloor. Not only can the moisture damage the subfloor itself, mold could develop within 24 hours.

That’s why it’s important to quickly remove sodden laminate and provide good ventilation for about a week so the subfloor can dry fully.

If the subfloor is damaged, very old or might contain asbestos, you’d be wise to hire a professional who knows how to properly remove and dispose of it.

However, if just the laminate is damaged and the floor beneath remains in good shape and no asbestos will be disturbed, you might want to remove the laminate yourself. Laminate flooring comprises interlocked pieces, so it’s fairly easy to lift and remove planks.

Flooring pros say you could probably remove about 300 square feet of laminate in two to three hours. Bear in mind that you may be required to pay to dispose of it at a local trash dump.

If you can find a flooring professional who’s willing and able to remove the laminate quickly, so it doesn’t sit wet for a day or more, expect to pay $1 to $1.70 per square foot. But an available contractor may not find it worthwhile to remove damaged flooring in a small room, unless the job also includes installation of replacement flooring. You could also hire a handyman service for removal.

As for what kind of flooring to use to replace the laminate, consider that luxury vinyl or ceramic tile would be a good choice for a room that gets wet, such as a kitchen, bathroom or laundry room.

Angie Hicks is founder of www.AngiesList.com, provider of consumer reviews and services. Send questions to askangie@angieslist.com.

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