Removing and reusing Laminate Wood Flooring


Hi,
My wife and I have recently bought a new house which has laminate wood flooring in most rooms. We have subsequently realised that the central heating pipework requires replacing in several rooms.
Clearly in order to perform the work on the pipework part of the laminate flooring will have to be lifted. We like the flooring and think it would be a shame to lose it. The previous owner has informed us that the laminate flooring is of the type that is reusable (from B&Q), however, I am unsure what is the best approach for lifting the laminate without damaging it. (Unfortunatley The previous owner could offer us no assistance with this.)
Can anyone advise on a strategy they have used to remove and reuse laminate and the tools that should be used?
Any web sites that could advise (with pictures too) would be helpful.
Thank you for your help from a DIY novice.
Andy
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I've had to remove mine a couple of times for access below the floor. It was not long after it had been laid so the boards were probably easier to do.
You want to start with the boards that have been laid last. Chances are it is the boards that have been cut length wise. Remove any beading around about them. It would probably be easier if there were two of you. Insert something between the row you are about to lift and the gap between the skirting board in order to get a grip of the boards. A screw would probably do. It is only to lift it enough so you can get your fingers in. Lift the complete row up towards a right angle to the row the boards are attached to. The boards should come away when you have lifted them about 45 degrees. As you remove a row or two you might find you have enough room to remove the boards individually. Also I would put a sticker on the corners of the boards before you lift them and number them so you know the order they go back down in. You probably don't need to number the boards that are full size and haven't been cut but it would save any hassle in the long run. I would personally replace the boards individually rather than in rows the way they came up.
http://www.armstrong.com/resflram/na/brucelaminate/en/us/article25824.html has a picture of a board being laid. You would just do the opposite to lift it. i.e. lift the row to that angle and the boards should then come out.
That site also has advice about lifting boards in order to repair some.
If you google "how to install laminate flooring" chances are some of the sites will also have sections about removing it.
I'd also buy a packet of new boards in the off chance you damage some while lifting them. They might be reasonably solid when laid but are brittle when loose. I remember having to return 7 packets to B&Q after noticing they were damaged when I got them home. I think it was me lifting them in to the car but can't be positive.
Steven.
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Your decision is whether you want to learn how to do a task requiring skill that you will never again reuse, or whether you can find a contractor who can prove (with documents) both that he has done this before and that the customer was satisfied.
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
  Click to see the full signature.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

What type of flooring is it? I'm guessing since you haven't mentioned glue or nails, that you are dealing with a floating floor system. If I'm wrong let me know as the means and methods to remove and replace the planks is diff. for each of the above. For a floating floor, the above post is correct, you have to start with wall and work your way a row at a time to the area you need to get to. Normaly, one side of the room has a full plank row which is where the installer started the room and the other side has the rip cut where they had to cut down a plank to fit and finish the room.Start with the ripped or cut plank. It's best to have someone with you to help you do this...take a couple small ( 6" - 12") crow bar type tool, something that curves at at 90 degree angle is best. Put the short end between the wall and the wood and just a bit at a time work the entire row up, you'll have to move around to diff. spots to achive this. Once the rip is up, you can lift the whole row of that plank up in one shot, lift the row up to a 45 degree angle than you kinda go up and down a little bit at that angle while you pull at it, but don't pull too hard. Most of the floating floors don't have wood for the tounge and grove, it's a composite mat. that breaks or chips easy, if you break the tounge off, that board can not be used again. I strongly recomend trying to find at least one box of the same wood and if possible make sure it matches as dye lots and product runs can vary even if it's the same wood and color. If you can't find any spare or additional wood, you can try to remove the rip, but if it doesn't seem like it's gonna come out, or you don't feel comfortable, get a pro to do it. Any hardwood guy worth his salt can do this job without too much difficulty. Good Luck, Steve
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

If it really is the click together stuff and they didn't use glue then it comes up very easily but you need to do it working from the edge that was layed last so that the click sections come apart properly. Number the pieces and put them back where they came from in case the walls aren't quite square.
If it was done properly you will need to remove the skirting boards to expose the edges. If they used beading then just take up the beading.
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Thank you to everyone who has offered their help on this topic. I will take all your points and give it my best shot!
I'll let you know how I get on.
Many Thanks, Andy
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Just a quick note to all those that helped...
I've now managed to successfully remove the laminate without damaging it. Great!
Thank you once again for your assistance.
- Andy.
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