Fixing gaps in laminate floor – homebrew solution – $7 and reusable!

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Fix all your laminate floor gaps on the cheap, better than expensive tools! TL;DR – Don’t buy expensive tools; scroll down to the bottom to see the pics.Back story and why my solution is the best:It seems laminate floors became real popular several years back. I replaced my entire first floor with a nice laminate that I found at Costco about four years ago. Shortly after installation there were two gaps near the entry to my kitchen that wouldn’t budge because the refrigerator was weighing down on the plank(s); also, I had added a threshold with glue so I would have to rip that up to get the standard tap tool near the end line of planks. We ended up living with these unsightly gaps since installation and I have toyed with the idea of matching the color with some filler wood putty to make it less noticeable; I never got around to it.Jump to the present day and I am discovering gaps all over my first floor where there is heavy foot traffic. (Note: I did do a proper installation with a ‘floating floor’ to allow for expansion.) I have about 10 gaps that I needed to fix so I searched for a solution online. Professionals use a suction cup type tool that is used for picking up large tiles or panes of glass; these are not well designed to be hit with a mallet. If your floor is not completely smooth (like glossy smooth) or if your laminate planks have a texture to them, the suction cup tool will not work.I discovered that there is a new type of tool that is called the ‘Floor Gap Fixer’ for sale on Amazon or via the web. This tool is basically a block with a special sticky adhesive layer on one side that you can place on the plank and hit with a mallet to close your gap without using a tap tool on the end run of planks now covered by your floor molding that you probably don’t want to take off the wall.This tool, and its demonstration videos look like the way to go so I checked to see what the price and reviews looked like. The tool ends up running greater than $60 for the block and a very cheap mallet. The reviews are evenly mixed and the basic consensus is that half of the people were able to fix their gaps, half of the people were not, and virtually everyone agreed that the price was outrageous for a tool that breaks after ~20 uses. (People complained the mallet broke and that the block itself would get damaged at the striking end making it harder to get a good solid contact when striking. They also complained that the adhesive wore out after a few uses and never worked as well as when it was brand new.)My solution is to use Nano type double-sided tape + a 14″ 2×4 wood block + an existing mallet that I had on hand. (There are many types of this nano-tape, they are between $7-$12 on Amazon and you will get plenty extra for tacking down rugs and floor mats.) This ‘Nano-type’ tape is relatively new; make sure you do not use standard double-sided tape (like the kind Gorilla makes) or you will damage your floor if you can manage to get the block off. You’ll know the tape will be alright to use if it is the type that can be washed with soap and water to make it sticky again.Pics and tips:​Here you can see the 14″ 2×4 wood block and the type of tape that I used as it is applied. Next, all you do is stick this to the plank nearest to the gap and ‘whack’ the gap away by tapping the end of the block. You should step on the block to add weight and keep it in place. Repeat the process to each new gap you create back to the wall edge and viola! your gap is gone!TIP: You do not need this much tape, I would not use the piece of tape in the middle of the block as it was extremely difficult to remove the first time; subsequent times got easier as the tape picked up dust and debris.TIP: Make sure you clean out the gap space of any dirt and debris to allow for the gap to close all the way. If the gap/laminate tongues are damaged, remove damaged tongue area with a small flat-head screwdriver or an x-acto knife. If the tong is too damaged you may have to do your best and stop before you end of chipping or flaking off the top laminate to create a bigger problem that you’ll have to fix later; just tap it closed as best you can and live with it without creating a bigger problem.The first application worked well to remove the gap but I had trouble removing the block! First I used a screw driver and tried to tap it underneath the block to get some leverage but it damaged the floor (I will fix this one with a wood stain marker.) If you have trouble getting the block off the first time use a wood chisel preferably a low profile one and put a cloth underneath the tapping end and you will not damage the floor at all. I had no damage from all subsequent applications and was able to pull the block up by hand after 4-5 applications.TIP: as you use the block/tape tool you just created it will get easier to use as you go. Gently pull the tape off itself it gets stretched or overlapped on itself and place it back in-line on the block. Eventually the block will slide a bit (after about ~15-20 uses) At this point you can use more tape to finish the project or pull off the existing strips and wash them with soapy water and allow them to dry.Here you can see my homemade gap fixer tool after I have fixed more than 10 gaps and at least 30 applications to planks to remove the newly created gaps to each wall-end.TIP: At this point get a big baggie and wash your tape strips and tuck this away for the next time more gaps show up on your floor. (I’m sure they will.)PROTIP: To prevent a problem gap from reappearing in a high traffic area or if your gap tongues are damaged, use a little wood glue or white/school glue; a thin bead in the gap will do. Wipe off excess glue after tapping your gap closed. via /r/DIY https://ift.tt/3qTfvKR

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