To repair floors damaged by a refrigerator leak, examine the flooring material and determine whether it can be restored or dried out or if it needs to be replaced. Look for signs of discoloration, warping, crumbling, cracking and expansion when inspecting vinyl, laminate and hardwood flooring for water damage.
Hardwood flooring damaged by a refrigerator leak can be repaired by refinishing and restaining boards that did not crack, expand or split due to water exposure. Discoloration and superficial damage can be erased by sanding down the affected areas and applying a matching stain to the refinished wood. Floor boards that are split or cracked need to be pried out with a chisel, and replaced with new boards stained to match the existing floor.
Vinyl and laminate floors that are affected by a refrigerator leak may need to be completely removed due to their low-level moisture resistance. The adhesive on vinyl and laminate tiles weakens when exposed to water, which allows the tiles to warp and move away from the subfloor. Inspect the subfloor for signs of damage, such as crumbling or fiberboard expansion. If there is no damage to the subfloor, replace the vinyl or laminate flooring affected by the leak with new tiles.
If the refrigerator leak is small and caught early, drying out the floor using a combination of mopping, toweling, fanning and dehumidifying can be enough to restore damaged flooring to its original shape.