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I have a 5/16" bomb crater in my laminate floor. NO idea how it got there.

Yes, I know I can replace the whole board, but it occurs to me that it might be possible to repair it using a drill and a plug cutter.

E.g.

With a 1/2" hole drill a hole through the existing crater.

With a 1/2" plug cutter, cut a plug of similar laminate.

Apply a layer of PVC glue to the plug, and insert.

Gotchas:

  • Do the plugs and hole drill match?
  • Will the plug sit flush with the top of the laminate? (If there is going to be an error, better that the plug be a few thou low.
  • Will the edge of the plug chip as it's driven in?
  • Will the glue cause the midboard to swell too much?

Check by doing an plug and repair on a board not in the floor.

  • Will the drill skitter on the surface of the flooring.

Check, but probably I'd use another piece of laminate big enough to stand on with a half inch hole pre-drilled in it.

  • What kind of bit?

Either a brad point or a forstner bit -- something that gives close to a flat bottomed hole.

So:

Q1: Is this a workable way to make a repair?

Q2: What can possibly go wrong?

  • Seems plausible if you have the spare piece and the subfloor underneath is fine. But if that's all true isn't replacing a bigger part of the board about as easy and likely to look better? – Shimon Rura Mar 23 '18 at 18:31
  • I would just use wood filler that approximated the color of the existing floor. But if you want to do this , do you have scraps from the original installation? Cut a core from a scrap with a coring drill bit, then drill a hole in the floor slightly larger than the core. I don't think you want to have to force the core into the hole. – Jim Stewart Mar 23 '18 at 18:32
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    I'm not sure PVC glue is the right product. I'd use wood glue or urethane. – isherwood Mar 23 '18 at 19:16
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Sounds like a workable way to make a repair, but the circle is going to be visible for sure, and is that really better than having the divot to begin with? That's up to you... Assuming this is what you want to do:

Do the plugs and drill holes match?

A plug cutter labeled 1/2" will cut a hole that fits into the hole that a 1/2" drill bit creates. A plug cutter is measured by the outside diameter of the plug, and a drill bit is measured by the inside diameter of the hole. The caveat is that your drill bit may wobble and not make a great, tight hole.

Will the plug sit flush...

Laminate flooring typically has some type of pad or underlayment or something between it and the subfloor. So, you'll need to match the thickness of this underlayment (assuming you also tear out a hole of the underlayment when you drill) so the plug doesn't sit too low. You can use this to your advantage and use layers of paper or something to make it sit exactly as high as you want.

Will the edge chip

I don't think it will, but depends on the floor. Some have a more vinyl-like top, and some have a more brittle wood-feeling texture. Put a flat object bigger than the diameter of the hole on top of the plug and hit that to press in the plug rather than hitting the plug directly. This will drive it in as evenly as possible.

Glue cause swelling

Don't use a polyurethane glue like "Gorilla glue" that expands as it drys and there shouldn't be an issue. Wood glue is probably best - PVC glue is going to be super messy and will eat/discolor the surface layer almost immediately.

will the drill skitter...

I like the plan of using the scrap plank. Make sure it has a good tight hole in it.

What drill bit

A hole saw in 1/2" might be hard to find, and probably wouldn't make a clean cut. A brad point or Forstner is good but still might be hard depending on the underlayment and if there's a concrete subfloor.

What could go wrong?

The hole you drill in the existing floor could be sloppy. Then your only choice is to make a bigger hole and try to do it better. Practice on scrap before hand.

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