Have you noticed that in some places your beautiful laminate floor is buckling or warping and has ”bump” in the middle of the room? You probably are asking yourself: Why is my floor buckling? Read this guide to find out the possible reasons of buckled floor and how to fix this problem.
Laminate flooring is designed to last and because is made from a durable materials it is very hard to be damaged. The surface with aluminum oxide makes it resistant to dirt and scratches. Some of the manufacturers are incorporating special treatments to make laminate water resistant.
However from time to time flooring owners may experience problems with their floor. Is your floor buckled up? Do you have unexpected “bump” someplace in your room? Hmm…there may be several reasons causing that! We will try to find the explanation for that problem.
Some laminate flooring owners may have the “buckling” issue, because of wrong maintenance, the others from careless or improper installation.
The most common reason for floor buckling is moisture exposure. Laminate flooring is nothing more than a wood based product. And as you know, wood is hygroscopic, which means that it will absorb moisture from the ambient. It could be from sub-floor moisture, water dripping from shoes and boots (standing water under area rug), melting snow, a leaking dishwasher/laundry machine or from over mopping and wet swifter’s not designed for laminate flooring use and even from your lovely pet.
Another reason is the ‘gap’ problem called expansion gap. The most important rule for laminate flooring installation is to leave an “expansion gap” around the perimeter of the room. For a standard room you need to leave at least ¼” space for floor expansion. For bigger room you need bigger expansion gap and in some cases dilatation is needed. So, if you see bucking floor and you excluded moisture factor, the expansion gap problem will be the next to check. It is highly possible that not enough space, called an “expansion gap” was left in between the wall and floor during laminate flooring installation. When the weather becomes hot and humid, your laminate wood floor expands and it needs some extra space on the edges of the room to spread out. When that extra space isn’t there, the floor buckles up because it has no where to go so it move but upwards. This is a common problem for floors installed in cold season when the ambient is cool and dry.
I have to also point out that super heavy objects l like a grand piano, pool table or wood burner installed in the middle of the room may contribute to bucking problem as well. Laminate flooring is called “floating floor”. All floating floors need to be free of any obstacles blocking it from floatation . Therefore a grand piano, pool table, laminate flooring under the kitchen cabinets or laminate under heavy wood burner will not float; it; is like nailing it to the subfloor in the middle of the room! For grand piano or pull table we suggest using special coasters ( you can buy them at your piano or pool table store)– so weight of heavy object will be distributed evenly and laminate flooring will be free to float. When you are doing remodeling or new construction avoid laminate under the cabinets. For woodburners create like a mini island and seperate it from the rest of the room with the T-moldings.
Another reason that might contribute to buckling problem is wrong moldings installation. You should never nail or screw your wall base or quarter round to the laminate flooring. Since laminate floor has to be free of any obstacles blocking it from shrinking and expanding you may imagine what nailing of the moldings will do to your floor. Unexpected “bump” will be discovered in the place where stress is. Wall base and quarter round should be secured to the wall, never to the floor!
The only solution to fix buckled laminate is to find the reason causing it and make adequate corrections. It may be a good idea to call your local handyman to help you with this repair.
If you have water damage, your situation will be more complicated, and often replacement of the damaged floor is needed. Unfortunately if your laminate floor was exposured to the water for a while the floor planks may absorb too much of water and swell- making them useless for reinstallation or repair. Sometimes spot repair is a good solution if damage is not too big.
In case of too small expansion gap; all you have to do is to adjust the width of the expansion gap by leaving more space for your floor to freely sharing and expand. You need to replace all buckled boards that are damaged.
All moldings nailed to the floor must be re-installed correctly, nail them to the wall-never to the floor!
Once all laminate flooring issues are addressed I am sure you will enjoy your floor again. Just in case your friend is doing flooring project talk about your experience, somebody can learn form your mistakes. You can also recommend our guide: “9 Steps for Successful Laminate Installation” .