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Why Is My Floor Bubbling?

Why Is My Floor Bubbling?

We’ve recently been getting a lot of questions about floor bubbling. The questions range from what causes it, to how to fix it. We’re here to help you prevent and fix floor bubbles and buckling with this article!

Moisture and Laminate Flooring: The Basics

The wood materials in the laminate flooring expand and contract with moisture. Humidity is one of the ways that moisture can be introduced into your flooring. The amount of moisture in the air can cause your laminate to change widths. Manufacturers generally recommend that you install your laminate flooring in no more than 60% humidity and no less than 30% humidity. Keeping your humidity within these levels ensures your floor is protected from too much moisture in the air.

buckled laminate flooring

Buckled laminate (Photo credit: from Ashley @From Oysters to Pearls)

Alternately, direct water damage can cause “bubbling” around the edges of the planks. This is caused by water or other liquid seeping into the laminate flooring joints, where the locking system connects. Damage like this can also be caused from too much humidity in the air.

floor bubbling

Floor Bubbling (photo credit: http://www.mfcsi.com/why-floors-fail.html)

Preventing Floor Bubbling and Buckling

  1. Acclimate your flooring for 48 hours in the room you’re installing it in
  2. Leave an expansion gap of 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch around all walls and stationary structures (such as pillars)
  3. If you are installing on a cement subfloor, use a moisture barrier
  4. Run your A/C in the summer to keep humidity down in your home
  5. Clean up spills immediately after they occur

How to Repair Bubbled or Buckled Laminate Flooring

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for these types of flooring mishaps. When it comes to fixing the cause of the buckling, there is really only one way to do it. The most important thing to note is to not walk on your buckled floor! It will permanently damage the locking system. Depending on your situation and the size of the damage, you may be forced to replace entire room. In a good case scenario, after fixing the reason of the buckling, you can uninstall the planks, replace heavily damaged planks, and reinstall the rest of the room.

  1. Remove moldings to prepare to replace the flooring
  2. Uninstall the laminate up to the problem zone
  3. Check the locking system.
  4. If it is undamaged, simply reinstall the planks that are popped up
  5. If the flooring is damaged, such as bubbled, replace the damaged planks with new ones
  6. Reinstall the flooring, making sure to leave a larger expansion gap, around a 1/2 inch away from the wall

Have more questions? Leave us a comment below and we will help you!

More About Humidity And Laminate:

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2 comments

  1. hi, do you know what the moisture levels of laminate wood floors should be? I have a pinless reader General MM8 which is showing me readings of 25-30%. Is it too much? If so what can be done about it? I dont see any bubbling or warpage or cupping etc. It rained here last few days does that have an effect? Are these meters the right ones to use?

    • Ashley Tolfo

      Hi Ash – great question! Manufacturers generally recommend that you install your laminate flooring in no more than 60% humidity and no less than 30% humidity. If there is too little humidity in your home or room, you can use a humidifier. If your home or room is too humid, you can use a de-humidifier to help lessen the moisture in the air. Rain can have an affect on the moisture in your home, but if you have central heating and cooling that you use regularly, it should not affect your floor too much. It is also very important to make sure that you leave the proper expansion gaps around the perimeter of your installation to allow your floor to expand and contract when the humidity in the home changes. As always, we would highly recommend looking at your warranty and installation information included in your box of flooring to be sure your levels meet the floor’s manufacturer requirements. If you have any more questions, please feel free to call us at 1-800-520-0961 and we would be glad to help!

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