I have two areas where the nail has popped causing some damage under our vinyl flooring. The planks were stuck together by offsets and self-glue. Is the only option to re-plank? I'm worried cutting and bending will just cause more damage overall. Of course, it's in the middle of a hallway.
A not-entirely satisfactory "fix" I've used:
- Use a very sharp nail-set or strong awl to punch the nails well below the surface, being careful not to further damage the surface itself.
- Fill the divot and cracks with a cement such as epoxy, removing loose pieces or those that cannot be pushed in. Leave the patch slightly proud (above) the surface.
- Carefully sand the patch even.
- Color the patch to blend with the flooring, perhaps with a furniture stain kit.
- Overcoat with varnish, polish or wax.
The nails might pop up again, perhaps in as few years.
If you have spare flooring, that would be the best fix, carefully cutting off locking portions of the tongues but not the whole tongue to act as a glue tab. then surgically apply a compatible glue to hold the new piece in since there is no locking edge to keep them in.
The fix for the issue you have now is not the best one either but it is a different take on DrMoishe Pippik's idea.
Since the floor is displaced already at the nail pops, and what remains are several loose pieces still attached by a "flap hinge", carefully with a sharp pointed knife, completely remove just of of the pieces that are still hinged in place for access to the nail head below. Use a nail set to drive the nail down deeper, but you may need to do this at a slight angle to keep from knocking more chips off. If you tap the nail set lightly to set it into the nail head slightly, then you make use harder strikes to set the nail in deep enough. After that is done, use super glue dropped into the hole to start the final part of the repair. Make certain the glue is in the right places so it will hold the chips in place once they are flattened down. Reset the old chip that was taken out the same way you found it. Using a FLAT piece of hardwood or metal perhaps, place that over the area and hit it once real hard with a hammer to drive the pieces back down and allow the super glue to grab them in their new location.
I don't expect it to be an invisible fix, and if it fails miserably, there is always the first option.