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I'm adding subflooring to improve the R value. I have some laminate boards that are damaged, but most seem to be in decent condition.

I'm thinking of saving some money and finding a matching or very similar looking laminate boards. I will use the new pieces in the bedrooms, and the old pieces in the open living room area.

Is it a good idea to reuse these boards? I pulled one piece out and it's dated 2006, so it's likely that it was installed the same year.

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As long as the boards come apart without damaging them, and appear to be in good condition with no water damage, sure!

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I think you are setting yourself up for a lot of grief.

Caveats in what you are doing:

  1. There are going to be losses. Some are already worn, some are chipped. Some will have edges and corners break off as you take the floor apart. Even in the cardboard boxes when new, the edges get damaged if you are careless moving the boxes around. So figure on some sort of storage scheme to protect them. Warning: They are very slippery. Don't stack them high, you will get a laminavalanche.

  2. Don't try to match the pattern. A slight mismatch will just look weird. Instead go bold and get a very different look. Consider what alternating 3 planks of old laminate with 2 rows of faux stone laminate. Or a semi-random pattern of 3 different colours of faux wood.

  3. As you take up the floor number the pieces on the back with felt marker, with row number and sequence. You will find that pieces that were in the darker end of the room are nearly the same colour as when new, while ones by the patio door will be bleached lighter from the UV. This may be critical in laying out your new floor.

  4. While there are manufacturers that produce multiple brands, you will find that the locking mechanisms aren't the same. Even the same nominal lock system like uniclic may be different from year to year, or from factory to factory. You will need to bring some pieces with you when shopping.

  5. You have to match both the edge and end grooves for matches. Check both.

  6. You have to match the thickness too. If one has a glued on underlay, then both have to have it, and it has to be the same compressibility. Otherwise, I expect that the tongues will break off with time. Thickness is really critical. Cheap laminate isn't even, and you will have lippage where one piece is a few thousands above the adjacent piece. This lip wears faster, and is very good at catching on socks. It's worth taking a dial caliper with you.

One of the reasons that edge grooved flooring (where the edges are either slighly rounded, or V-grooved) is popular: The lippage isn't sharp. V grooves however are really really good at catching dirt.

  1. Unless you are lucky, you won't be able to match the width exactly. I found in one laminate floor I did with cheap laminate that there was about a 1/2 to 1 mm variation in width. I sorted them into piles so I could do a whole strip with the same width.

What you may want to do instead, is do a good job of salvage, figure out what size room you could do with it, then either use it in a kids bedroom, all the closets... various small projects. Or sell it on craigslist /give it to poor family.

You can also use laminate on the wall as an accent wall. Sand the back to give some tooth and use panel adhesive. I did a backsplash in my kitchen this way.

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It depends on what type of flooring it is. If you have a floating floor, then yes they can be reused. A floating floor is one that snaps together and is not nailed or glued down.

  • If they can be removed relatively undamaged what does it matter if they were glued or nailed down? (Granted the odds of getting glued down stuff up with no problems is unlikely) – James Jun 26 '15 at 14:13

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