Laminate flooring is made to last, however sometimes you can run into issues and one of the most common issues is buckling laminate flooring. Buckling occurs when laminate flooring does not have enough space to contract and expand with temperature changes. Since it is a floating floor, the planks tend to contract when it is cool and expand when it is warm. Therefore it is crucial to take precautions to prevent buckling.
Buckling laminate flooring is easy to fix if you know how to do it. Before you begin, you should figure out what the possible cause is for the buckling.
Reasons For Laminate Flooring Buckling
- Water and moisture damage
- Floor was not acclimated before the installation
- No expansion gap or the gap is too small
- When the floor was installed, the room temperature was unusually high or low
- No vapor barrier was installed, causing moisture damage
- Inability for the flooring to flat properly
- Floatation restrictions prohibiting the floor from floating properly and expanding/contracting with temperature changes.
Buckling is most frequent near walls where the laminate flooring expansion has met its max and had no more room to expand freely.
How to Repair Buckling Laminate Flooring
- Determine what caused the buckling
- Fix the cause of the buckling
- Replace the buckled planks (Explained below)
Read Ashley’s blog about her buckling flooring experience in her article: Kitchen Cabinet & Flooring Mistake to Avoid.
How to Fix the Cause of the Buckling
When it comes to fixing the cause of the buckling, there are two groups that the damage type falls into; water damage and movement restriction. Here we will explain how to fix these types of issues.
1. Water Damage
Water damage can come from several different sources. If a dishwasher has broken and leaked water everywhere, obviously replacing the dishwasher will fix the issue. However, there are other reasons why there could be water damage to your flooring.
- If you installed in a basement, check and make sure there is no water leaking from the walls or from the floor. If your basement is flooding/leaking, be sure to fix the problem before installing new laminate flooring. If there is still a lot of moisture, consider installing vinyl flooring.
- If you have a cement subfloor, make sure you installed an underlayment that has a moisture/vapor barrier. Water can seep up from the cement into the laminate flooring if there is no barrier.
- If you installed laminate flooring in a moisture prone area, such as kitchens, mudrooms, or bathrooms, you should consider adding water-resistant glue to the locking system as you’re installing the floor. This will help keep water from seeping into the vulnerable spaces of your floor, causing it to buckle. Be sure to place rugs where appropriate to help protect the floor.
2. Floatation & Movement Restrictions
Laminate flooring is a floating floor system. The seasons, moisture, and temperature (inside and out) play important role how your flooring will perform. Sufficient expansion gaps are essential. Here are some things to look for to make sure your floor has optimum movement space:
- Make sure the wall base/moldings are not pinching the laminate flooring. There should be a small gap between the laminate flooring and the bottom of the molding.
- Make sure there is a proper expansion gap around every wall and stationary object around the room.
- Re-position and add felt pads to heavy furniture to evenly distribute the weight on top of the flooring.
- Increase the expansion gap around the perimeter of the room.
- Increase expansion gap to the molding transitions.
- If the flooring was installed under cabinets, add dilatation or remove the laminate under the cabinets and leave an expansion gap around the cabinets.
How to Repair The Flooring
Do 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.
- Remove moldings to prepare to replace the flooring
- Uninstall the laminate up to the problem zone
- Check the locking system. If it is undamaged, simply reinstall the flooring.
- Complete reinstallation
Be sure to address the root problem of the buckling to prevent it from occurring again.
Have you had to fix a buckled laminate flooring? What did you do to help the process along? Tell us your story in the comments below!
Thanks for your question, Ryan! We are sorry to hear about your current flooring situation. It is likely that the laminate will absorb the moisture because it is a wood-based product. I would continue to let this area dry out for several weeks and keep an eye out for any mold. Unfortunately, that water damage is likely a permanent situation and you may need to replace planks.
I have laminate flooring that is just 5 years old. Recently our dishwasher pump went out and during the replacement process some water/moisture made a few of the planks curl up slightly on the sides/seams. Does anyone know if these will retract and correct as they dry or do we need to take further action? It seems very slight, but you can see it when you are at eye-level. We are concerned about mold if there is a significant amount of moisture underneath that we just can’t see. We are putting a box fan in the area to help with the drying process, but would love any advice.
Hi Tinker. When a floor is buckling like that it means that it is pinned down somewhere and is unable to expand and contract. You should never step on or try to flatten out a buckled plank because this will cause further damage to your floor. In order for the buckle to settle (if it is able to) you would have to remove any very heavy object that may be pinning the floor to the subfloor. It is also possible that a molding or wall base is also causing the buckling.
I have had my flooring in a large area (living, dining, hallway and kitchen) for about a year now but recently I have experience buckling. I thought it was because of my 55 gallon aquarium. A few days ago, I put felt pads under the aquarium and moved it from the location it was sitting. I thought that would release the buckle in the floor but it hasn’t. My toddler has jumped on the buckle several times but none of the planks have completely popped out. Do I need to replace the flooring in that area or wait a few more days to see if the flooring will shift into place? Also in regards to having heavy objects on a floating floor, how often should I move the object to avoid future buckles? Do I move it back and forth OR do I just have to completely relocate it from time to time? Thanks for any feedback!!
Hello! After removing planks that are buckling, you will have to make sure there are no damaged or broken pieces of the actual locking system. The locking system can not be bent, broken or flimsy.
After removing planks to solve buckling , how can i know if the locking system damaged?
Hi Beatriz! You are right. Always take precautions during the installation process in order to prevent any buckling of the floor.
Thank you very much for this post. Buckling occurs when laminate flooring does not have enough space to contract and expand with temperature changes. Since it is a floating floor, the planks tend to contract when it is cool and expand when it is warm. Therefore it is crucial to take precautions to prevent buckling.
Hi Denny, thanks for the question. Unfortunately, not properly preparing your subfloor is a big mistake. I don’t think there is another way to go about it, other than fixing the subfloor. You should be able to uninstall and re-install the flooring if you’re careful.
I had a nice floating waterproof laminate floor installed about a year ago, they never did anything to level the subfloor, since day 1 there have been dips and valleys and now the locks are starting to fail in a few spots.. I was told to drill a small hole in the flooring and fill the voids with liquid nails and let it dry for a few days, the flooring had foam attached to it and I was told the foam would tear away with the pressure of the floor floating but the liquid nails would stay permanently filling the valley.. Anyone have any advise on the matter? Only other alternative is to rip out all the flooring to the affected areas which is pretty much most all the floor in the whole house to fix a few bad spots ? ?
Hi Jake, sorry to hear about this! Either of these options could work. You can order a free sample from us to see how the match would be. If you send us a photo of the flooring to [email protected], we’ll be happy to see if we have a close match!
We live in a highrise condo with a continuous laminate installation in the hallway and three rooms (kitchen/washroom/entrance are ceramic tile). Last year we discovered our hot water tank had been slowly leaking, and maybe 1 to 2 dozen square feet the floor in the second bedroom took a black discolouration and the edges were peeling up. We obviously strongly suspect black mould underneath.
The laminate is long discontinued and we have no spares, so chances are we can’t find an exact match. What would you recommend for replacing the affected floor?
The options I can see are:
1) replace just that room’s laminate flooring. Won’t look great since it won’t match rest of home, and needs a transition strip at the doorway (there currently isn’t one, but I see #comment-368 (August 29, 2011) on this page recommends T-mouldings in all doorways)
2) replace entire home’s flooring. Drastic and we’d have to essentially pack up and move out while floor is replaced.
Hi Michael, thanks for the question. When installing a floor, the spacers are simply there to ensure you have a proper expansion gap. Once your install is complete, you should remove the spacers and put the moldings around the gaps. This way, the floor can move without any interference. It is normal for your floor to shift, which is why we leave the gap. Be sure to keep your home at a steady temperature and humidity level to eliminate a lot of shifting in the floor.
I just finished installing a Pergo laminate floor and noticed that in the front right corner of the front facing wall, the spacers are extremely tight, while the spacers on left side of the same wall and corner are loose. Clearly the floor has shifted at some point during the installation and I am afraid that if I remove the spacers in the right front corner, the floor will continues to shift further against the wall. The entire installation went smoothly, and all other areas are fine (most of the living room, dinning room, and hallway. We checked to make certain that the sub floor was level and without moisture– though I’m sure that it is not completely square. I am unsure as to the cause of this shifting and am hoping that you might have an answer, as also a possible fix. Thanks!
Thanks for the recommendation Heath!
Cut around cupboards with toe kick saw and multi tool that will let it expand
Hi Willie, thanks for the question. I would recommend uninstalling the last board and using a saw to add an additional gap to the floor. Uninstalling the plank will give you the best potential for a more exact cut and line.You can use the same saw used to cut the planks originally.
Hi, just notice that the gap between wall and new laminate flooring is much less than 1/4”. What will be the best tool that you recommend to cut laminate gap to 1/4”?
Hi Michael, we do not have an article on hardwood floors buckling, but you may find this one helpful: http://www.flooring.org/blog/how-to-repair-buckled-hardwood-flooring/
Manufactured wood not laminate….
Hello, thank you for reaching out. In this instance I would always recommend doing what the manufacturer says, however it seems that you have done this. I do apologize for not having any further advice.
Hi, my contractor recently installed Armstrong Prysm Luxury Vinyl Plank throughout my house. He installed the flooring before the cabinets were put down. The cabinets were installed and the quartz top put on and now the floor has bubbles throughout even in the room that do not have cabinets. Last weekend they came back and took the baseboards off and there was no expansion gap. They cut the edges in most of the walls but not all. They also uninstalled some of the flooring and put a thin layer of cement to even out the areas that we felt the bubbles and hollow spots. Neither of these helped, we still have hollow spots and bubbles. The contractor doesn’t know what to do to solve this. Armstrong came out and ruled it as an installation issue. I’m concerned that since they installed the cabinets over the floating floor that it might be impossible to fix. They want to inject glue in the bubble areas but I am not comfortable with that. Any recommendations would be appreciated.
Hi Sunny, thanks for reaching out. We would consider temperatures over 100°F to be extreme, so the 84 degrees in the unit should not have caused any buckling. Did you installer leave a proper expansion gap around the perimeter of the room? Is it possible that there is moisture remaining on the subfloor from the plumbing damage? Did your installer acclimate the flooring prior to installation? There are a number of questions for your installer, and a number of reasons why the flooring could have buckled. Laminate flooring that is installed properly should not buckle, as long as the subfloor is flat, there is nothing restricting your flooring from floating, there is no moisture damage or extreme changes in temperature. Please give us a call if you have any further questions!
What a helpful list. Thank you! I am not a licensed flooring installer. I manage properties for foreign investors in Miami Beach and 3 months ago contracted a professional to install laminate floors after a plumbing problem caused water damage and the original floors had to be removed.
My question is, how high and low are extreme temperatures? Since installation (3 months) the unit has been vacant with the temperature set at 80 degrees. The contractor blames this “high” temperature as the cause as he claims it was up to 84. Since I looked at your list, I remembered that, during the weeks of installation, his contractors had the temperature on 60 degrees. Again, I am not a licensed in this area but neither temperature seems extreme.
He has offered to “fix” them. However, he claims that he will not be responsible for them after this because he believes the only cause is the 80 degree temperature and that he did nothing wrong in installation. I cannot bring more cost to the owner, as the condo has been nothing but a financial hardship. It just needs to be fixed and sold. Can you offer expertise in how the contractor can be certain he is making the proper repairs? When I told him that I did not believe 80 degrees was enough of a temperature extreme to cause the problem, he wanted me to say the cause.
Sunny Beach Realtor
Thanks for sharing Drew!
Drew. I have a similar bubble in laminate. Pretty big size. It comes back right at this time of year and then goes away in a couple months. In michigan. Its the heat and humidity. I am planning to add more gaps in the perimeter.
Hi Drew, thanks for your question! Are you talking about a laminate wood floor? Have you spilled anything on it? Humidity and moisture are main causes of bubbling, usually from a spill or room temperature. It seems like the room temperature may be your case. If you have a laminate, the bubbling is of the printed top layer. Once this has bubbled, it will never go away. It could reduce in size, but the bubble will always be present. Unfortunately, if your floors were not in a temperature controlled space, it will not be covered under your warranty. To repair the bubbling, the only permanent option is to replace the plank.
It is very important to keep a consistent room temperature. If you have a drastic change in temperature, your floors could potentially buckle due to absorbing the moisture in the air. Hope this helps!
I had a manufactured wood floor installed less than a year ago in a large room, and there is now an enormous visible bubble in the floor that rises nearly an inch above the floor. The floor is installed on a concrete slab and the contractors placed a very thin (looked like styrofoam) layer between the concrete and the floor. I live in Virginia, so winters are moderately cold and dry while summer is very hot and extremely humid. The floor was installed in October and has been fantastic until this problem.
I have tried desiccants (damp-rid) and running the air conditioning constantly to reduce the humidity. The bubble shrank but is not going away. I am going to buy a dehumidifier and hope that will help solve the problem, but know nothing about flooring and am worried there is an underlying cause dehumidifying my space will not solve.
If there is a bubble this large in a floor that has been there for a week, is there permanent damage to the floor? Is this bubble a result of improper installation? Would something like this be covered by warranty on the floor, contractor error, or am I going to get stuck with a bill to repair the floor?
I would greatly appreciate your advice!
Hi Chey, sorry to hear about your spilled milk issue! From your description, it seems that the milk seeped into the wood and possibly underneath. With a laminate, it will soak up any moisture that it comes in contact, as it is a wood product. I also worry that there is milk trapped under the planks and mold could be starting to grow. I wish I had better news for you, but unfortunately, your best bet is to replace the floors. The milk is already soaked within the planks, so no cleaning agent will be able to remove that. We’d recommend talking with your landlord about the floors. If it’s only a couple planks, and it is still an available floor, replacing the floors shouldn’t be too hard or expensive. It will be best to take care of this sooner than later, especially since mold could be an issue. Best of luck! If you have any other questions, feel free to call us at 800-520-0961.
Hello! I am renting a townhome and a whole gallon of milk spilled onto the laminate floor. I immediately cleaned it and the smell of spoiled milk lasted about a week. It eventually went away but the floor buckled very badly. About 3 days ago a rotten smell of spoiled milk or something came about and the whole downstairs stinks. I couldn’t figure out what was causing the smell since the milk problem was gone, but i sniffed where the floor buckled (since i was never able to clean underneath the floor) and i think that’s where the smell is coming from. I have no idea why the milk smell would suddenly get worse or of no where but i want to clean it with water and vinegar so it seeps under the floor and gets rid of the smell but my problem is I’m afraid it’s going to make the floor buckle even more. Since I’m not the owner i don’t want to take out the floor and replace it myself, and i don’t want to get a fine from the landlord either. Any ideas?
Hi Johanna, thanks for your question. Considering this is a basement, there are a few causes that may need addressed before trying to fix the floors. First, I think of water or humidity affecting the flooring. Is it a temperature controlled space? Do you possibly have water seeping in from the foundation or walls? If moisture is beneath the planks, this could be causing the warping. Second, do you have the proper expansion gap on the edges? If the expansion gap isn’t large enough to accommodate expansion and contraction, the floors may be moving and buckling at the joints. These are two things I would look into first. If it’s water damage, unfortunately, the best bet is to replace the flooring. Since we cannot see it in person, we may recommend having a local professional come out and look at the flooring condition. Hope this helps!
My floors in the basement level are Warping but the surface do not look damaged, what should I do?
Hi Heather! Thank you for that additional information. That is also a great suggestion. Although the BBB is not regulated, it does investigate and report on any claims filed against businesses to help issues like this to get solved.
The BBB is not a government regulated authority. In fact, it is a for profit business that gets its revenue by paid business memberships.
You need to contact your State Registrar of Contractors. Or similar government agency that regulates contractors in your area.
Hi Red, thanks for your question! It is hard for us to give you an accurate recommendation considering we cannot see the damage. If the flooring is missing an expansion gap, creating one around the edges may give the floors the space to settle back in place. The problem occurs if the expansion of the planks has affected the locking system. If the boards have expanded beyond repair, you may be able to unclick the affected area and re-install new planks in the area that is seeing the buckled flooring. Buckling is never a fun project to tackle! If your installer is with the BBB, it may be a good idea to file a claim with them about your project. Hope this helped!
I had an “installer” lay laminate for me .He did this the first week of Dec for the holidays. He CUT but ends in front of all the doorways ,not even square. When you walk through the doorway the laminate clicks moans and groans. There is laminate butted tight on the ends as well as the sides. I have buckling 4 feet towards middle of living room floor..The thing squeaks constantly. Its level and has very good underlayment as well, I told him about it and he said he would address this but is very busy at the moment. Its April now ….never showed ,never made any restitution or reimbursement as he said he would of course. Am I looking at just taking it all up and relaying this, replacing any pinched and broken edges of the planking? Thank you.
This is correct, Galelea!
I thank you for this post. The most common cause of edge-warping or buckling is water or dampness rising from the subfloor in conjunction with the lack of a sufficient moisture barrier.
Hi Mike – thanks for your question. The buckling has most likely been caused by the fluctuation in temperature. It is important to always have a consistent temperature when working with wood products as they will contract and expand with the environment. As the temperatures rises during the day, your laminate will absorb the moisture and, in your case, swell larger than the expansion gap allowed for. The best way to fix this would be to replace the buckled sections with new planks and beginning to create a stable temperature in the home.
I had a laminate floor installed in several rooms of an old house I’m renovating. The flooring was acclimated to the room prior to installation. For 6 weeks or so everything was fine but now there is severe buckling in the rooms. I cannot determine that moisture can be a problem and do not believe it to be so. The house has not had any heat in it and the temps have been fluctuating from the low to mid 30’s at night to 50-60’s in the day with an occasional 70. The sub-flooring is substantial. There was no foam barrier installed on advice of the contractor. Any thoughts and/or suggestions.
Hi Elise, thank you for the question! When the boards buckle and are damaged by moisture, it is very hard to fix without replacing planks. If you just want to cover up the unsightly look, that is an option. It depending on temperature changes and any additional moisture, planks could expand and contract causing more damage. Our recommendation would be to fix the plank if you have extra laying around. Hope this helps. Feel free to give us a call for more direction on this issue: 800-520-0961.
Hi. I do not see a way to put a new comment so I hope that you will see this. Our laminate floor got wet and we have a couple of boards that are damaged at the e very end. This are is right next to our kitchen which is tile. I am wondering if we could take up the existing skinny border and put a larger border to cover the buckle and then not worry about changing those planks. Thank you.
Hi Moji! Thanks for the question. It seems like your floor expanded with the weather change in the hotter months. One thing you can try is to uninstall the moldings and create a larger expansion gap so the flooring has more room to expand and contract with seasonal changes. If that doesn’t help, you may need to re-install some of the boards that are raised. Hope this helps!
Hello, Im having a huge problem. I purchased a condo in April the floors looked perfect but as the whether changed it seemed to eventually cause swelling on my floors. Im not sure how or who installed the floors but now there just worse and seem to be spreading. My concern is whether the floors may not be salvageable. One particular spot has risen so high to where the interlock has come apart. I cant afford to replace all my flooring which is throughout my home. Im so confused and concerned about what to do.
Hi June! I am sorry to hear about your issues. It’s hard for us to give you a solid answer without seeing the actual floors. Bubbling could be from humidity, and not necessarily direct water damage – especially in more humid, summer months. It also could be from poor installation or lack of proper acclimatization. The owner will be able to give you a better idea of what this could be causing this! I hope this helps.
I had laminate flooring installed in July, this is September, and I have been having issues ever since. I originally dealt with the installer from the company regarding little things like areas between door jams and around fireplace coming up. In August I notice bubbling in between seams here and their and he contributed that to possible water. I said that it really wasn’t possible as the area i noticed them was in the bedroom and hallway. About a week after his visit my husband and i notice 100’s of this bubbling in between seam’s everywhere! In ever room, hallways, dining rooms. I know now it is not possible that it is from water. Also, my dining room floor has completed lifted and pulled away and up from the floor, ripped out the trim. I have contacted the owner after the original installer never showed to repair this and he is coming out to look at the areas himself. What exactly is the cause of the bubbling between the seams if it is definitely not from water and could it be defective flooring?
Thanks for sharing Bill!
Use the sonic tool if you trying to fix the floor, just snap a chalk line and follow that, if installing a new floor a good miter saw with a slide works great.
I use a sonic tool great for tight spots and makes a thin cut.
Hi Todd! Check out this blog post for more information on what saw to use: https://www.bestlaminate.com/blog/what-is-the-best-saw-for-cutting-laminate-flooring/. A jigsaw is a great option for curves and special cuts, while a table or circular saw can be used for straight cuts. Hope this helps!
What tool would you use to cut the flooring? Every saw i can think of woulf leave too large a gap to be covered by trim?
Hi Angelita, Unfortunately, the only things that can be done is to replace that section of the floor. Once a floor bubbles and is damaged, there is nothing that can be done as a quick fix. Replacing hardwood floors is much more difficult than replacing laminate. We would recommend calling a professional in order to restore your floor. If you have anymore questions, you can call us at 1-800-520-0961.
I’m a renter, and recently my cat tipped over a cup of water on too the hardwood floor. I have noticed bubbles. What can be done?!
Hi Theresa! The humidity could be a factor here, especially during the summer. Do you keep your spaces air conditioned? One way to try and fix this would be to remove the base moldings and create a larger expansion gap by cutting the laminate edges – just make sure the moldings still cover it! This could help the floor contract and expand easier. Hope this helps!
Our laminate flooring was installed 6 months ago and has started peaking and bubbling. The installers say that it is because there is too much moisture coming from somewhere. Everything is dry as a bone, subfloor, moisture barrier no moisture that I can see, however they say their meters read that there is moisture. I think it was just installed too tight and the hot weather is causing it to swell, I am not knowledgeable in these matters, but I know what makes sense to me. Any advice?
Hi Melissa, I’m sorry to hear about your floor! There are two things you can try. The first one would be creating a larger expansion gap on the edges – just remove the baseboard moldings and cut the plank on the edge so there is more room to expand. Due to the humidity, your flooring may need extra room to expand and contract, leaving a bubble where it tried to expand and couldn’t. If that doesn’t work, you can always just replace the warped board. You don’t have to tear up the whole floor though! Just uninstall the baseboard closest to the warped planks and carefully uninstall all of the laminate planks leading to the warped ones. Replace them and reinstall everything, installing the baseboard last. The warping could definitely have been from the drastic change in heat. It could also be from not having the proper expansion gap. If you need anymore help, feel free to call us at 1-800-520-0961!
I have a weird buckle in the very middle of my family room, its funny if you step on it you feel like your squashing a big bubble. I dont want to have to rip up this floor, this room is big. We live in Fl where the humidity is high, when we did the floors we sere stupid and left the doors open, I think that was a huge mistake. we were in between our cooler months going into warmer months. Can someone give me a clue, a long shot resolution to this with out ripping up this floor? I have put heavy furniture on it hoping to get it to straighten out but thats a joke. I am getting desperate, other than a big heavy rug, I am lost. Thank you in advance for anything you can reccomend.
Hi Teena! Unfortunately with water damage, there is no easy way to fix the bubble except for re-installing a new board. Once water damage occurs, the planks will not go back to normal.
Please help me! I have picture of the floor. The kitchen sink is what leaked and caused this problem
Hello. I’m having the same problem with my floor the difference is that I have a huge Bubble
Hi Jean – sorry to hear about the water issues you are having! Since we do not have a photo and do not know what flooring it is, we can’t provide you with specific repairing ideas. Be sure to check with your retailer and manufacturer warranty before you begin to try and fix the laminate. You could try to use a laminate seam filler to re-glue the surface, but it may still have a raised look. Be sure to reduce the humidity and moisture within the room before trying to do any repairs.
I have the same thing….there are some areas in my kitchen where my dog drips water from his mouth after drinking. (yes he’s a big sloppy guy and I love him) I do not keep his water dish on the laminate floor. He drinks then wanders through the kitchen dripping. I am diligent about wiping up after him. Even with the quick wiping, apparently even small amounts of water have landed on the seams of the laminate and…again apparently…are immediately absorbed causing very small lifting of the material at the seams. Is there a way to glue and press these seams down? Or….Is there a sealant I can apply on the entire floor? I’m afraid that spots of the flooring will eventually just peel up like paper and be totally ruined. Laminate never again. I’ll go vinyl next time. $$$ ugh.
Hi Destiny! Without seeing the damage, we are unable to give you the best recommendation for the problem. If it’s a few spots, you may want to try putting some heavy objects on the boards and see if they will go down. Another factor is to make sure your room temperature is consistent – reducing humidity while applying pressure might help the boards settle back in place. Hope this helps!
Wow, U guys R pretty prompt and detailed w/ur responses. As I look over the information posted and questions, I am noticing that a lot of responses refer to replacing the damaged areas of the laminate flooring. I am concerned because my problem is SO simple, and much smaller than many of the post I’ve read. I purposely put something down to clean my floor and add shine over a very dull spot (long story how that got there)-so keeping it short- I meant to leave the shiny stuff down, but not as long as I did, I mopped it up, NOT THINKING it was a liquid I left standing on a laminate floor and ONLY IN A FEW SPOTS is there now very small buckled laminate, the few spots are all right on the very seams of the floor, nothing MAJOR, nothing separated or even lifted, just a small rippled, buckled look…their all so small it looks as if it were SAFE to get some type of heating object, small heat or steam machine u could simply just pressed them all right back into shape!! Frustrated something it looks so small, but if the only answer is replace the pieces, I’ll scream!!…lol
Hi Mark, thanks for your question! The expansion of your floor will depend on the temperature in your home. More extreme temperature changes will cause the most expansion. Your coat closets should be fine without transitions and the flooring can float into that space. When your floating floor is over 40′ in any direction, you will need the transition. Hope this helps!
Hi: In laying my floor I want to keep the shoe as small as possible. With my 3/8 gap if I lay a 1/2″ shoe or quarter round is there any chance the floor would contract enough to reveal a gap between floor and shoe. Also with a 3’x24′ hallway boards running with the hallway I have two coat closets off the hall 2’x2′ will these require a transition as well? Using Pergo xp. Thanks in advance Mark
Hi Eric! Unfortunately, we can’t give you an estimate, as costs differ between flooring installers and where you are located. We suggest contacting several flooring installers to get quotes and then choose the best and most affordable option. It’s also pretty simple to replace planks yourself! We have articles linked to this article at the bottom of the page to help you with this process. If you have any other questions, please feel free to call us at 1-800-520-0961! Thank you!
How much does it cost to have someone fix my laminate floor? It’s buckled in various spots around my place. 2 different rooms that’s all. Thank u
Hi Mimi, There doesn’t seem to be a Charlie in this comment section. If your laminate flooring has expanded around the edges, it is usually due to water damage. This can either be a spill that was never cleaned up, or a leak, which is a bigger issue. We recommend replacing the plank if it is bothering you. Unfortunately, once a laminate plank has water damage, there is no way to fix the plank itself. Hope this helps!
Hi Charlie, I have the same issue on the floor of a house that I made an offer on. Inspector had no idea what it was, just potential water damage reaction? Did you ever figure out what it was?
Unfortunately, once the edges buckle like that, there is nothing you can do to get them to lay flat again. The moisture has seeped into the locking system joints and has made the edges swell permanently. The only way to fix this is to replace the plank. If you need any help, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-520-0961.
Cat sprayed on laminate…….damage is slight……..mild buckling on edges…..don’t want to replace the whole board …what can I do to get those edges to lay flat?
Hi Patti, thanks for stopping by our blog. This seems like a pretty extreme case that seems like it could be a major problem rather than the normal everyday spills. Has your home been in an area of storms or flooding recently? If a concrete subfloor isn’t sealed properly, you can experience water coming up from under and around the home due to its’ porous nature. This can cause a lot of damage, such as mold. We would recommend having an expert come out to look at your home and assess where exactly the water is coming from. If the water is spreading to other rooms, do this as soon as possible! In this situation, you will need to fix the water problem area and/or your subfloor and reinstall new laminate planks. Please let us know if you have any further questions!
Sorry the floors are Pergo
I had by performing floors installed in Aug 2015. Dec 5 I noticed there was water coming up through the planks. You walk on it and it is squishy. This is in my dining room which we do not use. It is spreading fast. There have been no spills I called Home Depot and they referred me to the insurance company. What could possibly cause this? I have a concrete slap. The home is 9 years old.
No worries! 🙂
Sorry for addressing you Anna
Hi Anthony, thanks for your question! There could be several factors involved with why your floor is buckling. Since we cannot see the floor in person, we are unable to give you a definite answer. We would suggest reaching out to a local professional to give you on-site advice and guidance. All the best, Alana.
I have a question maybe you could help out with.
A while back I had laminate flooring put down on my first floor rental property.
It has been about 6 months since the installation, the apt is vacant, there has not been anything or anyone in there. About a month ago I walked in there and there were a few spots that had buckled.
Keep in mind that the apt had no air conditioning running on very hot days due to nobody living there.
I called the installer and he stated humidty caused the buckling and basically that the AC should have been kept running on those hot days even though it was vacant. That sounds crazy to me.
The floor is a floating floor which should allow for contracting and expansion in climate changes.
I believe he did not leave enough proper gaps at the edges.
Who is at fault here?
Hi Bill, thanks for your question! I just consulted with one of our installers, and unfortunately, it looks like you will have to reinstall all 3 boards. There is no way to get that buckled board down, especially when you are installing under a feature and are limited to the tools you can use. For features, we suggest this type of installation: http://www.slideshare.net/Bestlaminate/how-to-install-the-last-row-of-laminate-flooring. If you have any more questions, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-520-9061! Thanks.
I’m installing ans am having to cut under an existing feature. I got three rows in and had one board pop up. Is there any way to seat it down again without removing the later two rows (also flat and under the feature)
Hello Weisse and thank you for your question. Sub-floor is essential when it comes to a new flooring installation. There is no miracle fix (unfortunately), and if after patching and nailing down of your loose plywood boards you still hear the squeaks it means that the problem still exist. The biggest problem you have is your flexing sub-floor because down the road you may see plank separation and overall performance of the floor will not be perfect. Please be aware that wrong installation may void your flooring warranty. In conclusion, no matter how painful it may sound you should repair your sub-floor before moving forward, especially if you want a piece of mind in the future (maybe partial replacement will do the job?). In regards to your stairs question: do your have a stair nose already? Some types are flash when others will sit on the top of the laminate flooring. In both cases you must leave an expansion gap to prevent buckling. I hope it helps. Cheers!
We are planning to put a laminate floor in our upstairs condominium living room. It seems as the subfloor is made of a lesser quality plywood. The joists are 24 inches apart and the subfloor was not nailed in many places of the room causing some squeaks as well. We fixed these with 1-1/2” #8 wood screws max 8 inches apart, depending on a need to silent the squeaks. Some portions of the plywood are flexible when a heavy person walks over. What would you suggest to do to strengthen the subfloor? If possible we don’t want to cut out and replace the existing subfloor.
Another issue we have: We would like to cover adjacent stairs with oak hardwood treads. How should we deal with the transition from the laminate to a stair nose made from oak wood? Should we just butt it up or should we cut the oak wood to overhang the laminate floor with a space inside in oak wood, so the laminate will have a movement gap? The beginning of the stairs from the existing wall is distant 4 to 7 feet in an angle.
Thank you in advance.
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From your description you do not need vapor barrier in your situation. You will not have any water migration from ground to your subfloor.
If you go with clicking vinyl for large room extending in to 13′ wide hallway I would use vapor film to improve floatation of your vinyl.
It helps vinyl to shrink and expend especially with heavy furniture load. In this case you don’t have to overlap it since it serves different purpose. You should use transitions in the doorways to bedrooms.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
I am going to put down laminate OR vinyl clicklock type flooring.
I get various reports about a vapor barrier being needed. It is in a cottage which sits between 2′ and 10′ off the ground ( built on a hill ).
A wood subfloor is there now and the floor is insulated underneath the cottage and closed in with thin plywood to help keep critters out!
It is 21×23 feet bunkie with one large room at the front 23×13, a centre ‘hallway’ and a 9×7 bedroom on one side and the same on the other side.
So with the vapor barrier question j also have this one. Due to the different room sizes etc do j need to use transition pieces and if so where?
Many thanks for your assistance.
Hi Danielle, thank you for your question. There are many questions that need to be answered in order for us to give you the best help. Please feel free to call us at 800-520-0961, and we will be happy to help you. Thank you. – Brittany
My husband and I just bought a house and have noticed a problem with the flooring. It is a engineered bamboo wood floor and in out hallway its just not sitting right. The previous owners put it in and the rest of the house is fine no problems with it, but in the hallway it seems like the planks are fitting too tight. He tried pulling it up and shaving a bit off of each end but its still too tight it seems. We’re afraid to take too much off because the floor needs those grooves to fit together. Its driving him crazy! Help please!
Hi Alex, thank you for your question. I am unsure of what that could be, it could depend on who the manufacturer is maybe you could get in contact with them and they might have a better idea of what it could be. I wish I could be of better help to you. I wish you the best of luck. – Brittany
Hi, I put a new laminate floor into a large room a few years ago. I hired a professional installer to help me do it so I know that there is a plastic sheet moisture barrier as well as the thin foam pad. The room is 24′ X 40′. Also this room is a renovated garage so the floor underneath is made of cement. Now a few years later the floor still looks very good, except that there is occasionally something coming up through the crack between boards in one spot in the middle of the floor. The thing looks like an off white flower. If you touch it it crumbles into dust. This thing can be vacuumed off but a few weeks later it is back again. Humidity in this room is kept at a constant rate of 55% or lower with a dehumidifier. Any ideas what this “flower” could be caused by or what I can do to make it stop?
Hi Steve, thank you for your question. It had to have had some sort of humidity for the ends of the plank to bend upward. That is the only thing that I could think of. It would not happen in a normal household condition so I wouldn’t worry too much about that. Best of Luck. – Brittany
I left a single plank (5.7″ wide, 48″ long, 12mm thick) in the bed of my pickup for about 4 hours with the hot sun (80 deg) beating down on it on a dry Calif day. Afterwards the ends of the plank were bent upward. I suppose if I let it lie flat on my indoor carpet it may eventually flatten out again, but it makes me nervous about the floor I already laid. This plank was laying alone so it had nothing to do with expansion space and this product is supposed to take hot sun. Any thoughts why this happened?
Hi Myesha, your floor could be buckling for many reasons. 1. If it was installed but not locked in all the way that will make the laminate start to separate and buckle. 2. When installed if there wasn’t the appropriate amount of extension gap from the wall to the laminate, which cause the laminate to buckle because there is not enough room to expand and contract when the temperature changes. I hope this helps.Best of Luck! – Brittany
I have a laminate floor and on the first hot humid day I notice some buckling and now that we’ve had more hot and humid days I have three spots that are buckling. What could be the problem?
Hi Sytvia, thanks for your question. It could possibly lie back flat down, but if it was not installed properly the floor could be buckling due to not locking in tightly. It would just depend on if it was locked in correctly. I hope this helps. Good Luck!
We did not leave enough of a gap around the perimeter of the room. So we are fixing that problem. However, should the panels that are buckled automatically lie down once we have made the appropriate gaps?
Hi Phyllis, When installing laminate in the basement there should be a 3 in 1 underlayment with a moisture barrier that protects against moisture I don’t believe that the cold would do that to the laminate because if it has the expansion gaps going around the room the laminate would have room to expand and contract I don’t see why it would buckle. Try and contact the manufacturer of your laminate to see what they will say. I wish you the best. – Brittany
Hi. A contractor installed my laminate flooring on the basement sometime in October of 2012. We started to notice some buckling sometime in April or may of this year on the masters bedroom , hallway and I front of the kitche. We thought it was just normal because the the temperature changed. But around 3rd week of may, the buckling on the master bedroom laminate flooring got worse where the plank will almost come off. I called the contracted and he just came last week to have a look at it and we were told that the temperature on my basement was too cold and there is no thermostat to maintain the heat of 10-12c and it cause my flooring to swell and also my garage (attached to the house) is also cold, and since the masters bedroom is also closed to it. Btw, my basement flooring use to be carpet. But since I bought this house 10 years ago , we always used the fire place on the basement and ther is no thermostat since our thermostat is controlled from upstairs floor. I have a 2 year warranty, but was told by the contractor that since the cause of the buckling is d reasons he told me earlier , it is not being covered under warranty because he did not installed the flooring improperly and suggested to us to changed into new hardwood flooring instead. Laminate flooring that he installed was brand new and we barely go down on the basement and use the area. I don’t think that it is cause by moisture since there were never and flood on the basement nor spilling that we remember might have cause it since we seldom go and used the basement. Do u think the problem is “expension gap”. Pls. Advice. Thank u.
Hi John, Thanks for your question. Yes you can use a undercut tool to cut the boards if you would like, but the best method would be to take the boards out and cut board the way it is suppose to be cut to the proper length from the beginning. Good Luck! – Brittany
I may be speaking on behalf of a number of your readers because I looked for the answer to this common question but didnt find it.
What is the “best” tool to use to cut the 1/4″-1/2″ off the edge of a laminate floor AFTER it was installed? All of your answers indicate that one should remove the board and cut on a table saw or other saw. I don’t want to do this.
Therefore, would a Dremel or a multitool with cutting blade work best?? What tool would cut flooring closest to the wall and assuming the baseboard has been removed?
Hi Nick, you are so welcome. We are happy to help! I would follow the instructions the manufacturer off the laminate gives just so your laminate can stay in warranty if anything were to go wrong. You can put t-moldings in doorways if you would like that would be ok. Good Luck! – Brittany
Hey guys, thanks for answering all of these questions. We just installed Tarkett Solutions laminate flooring and I’m worried about the expansion gap. The manufacturer instructions say to leave a expansion 5/16 gap, put a t moulding if it’s over 40′ feet, and to put a t moulding in doorways “where required”. It is installed in a 14 x 18 dining room that is connected via a 6′ doorway to a 12 x 13 playroom. (31′ total length between the 2) It is also connected to a hallway that runs parallel to these rooms and is connected to each via a 30″ doorway.
The layout is similar to a B with the vertical line on the left side being the hallway and the 2 holes being the 2 rooms.
My question is should I try to dd in t mouldings at those doorways? My initial installation is all one continuous piece without t moulding anywhere.
Hi Dawn you could do many of things it just depends on what is wrong with it. If it is the short edge coming out you can just tap it back into place I would need to know further information so I can try to give you the best answer. I hope this helps.Brittany
HI Amy I’m sorry to hear that you wooden floor is buckling. The only suggestion I would give is to take the floor out and gradually level the floor. The floor can still slope but it has to be a gradual slope because of the joint integrity with the floating floors. The problem with nailing it down would be that it is not considered floating anymore and that could cause the rest of your floor to buckle. I hope this information has helped you. Thank you for your question. Brittany
We installed a floating wooden floor that covered 750 square feet. The hallway there was a bow uphill slant in the floor and we covered it and now it is buckling. There is no way to tear the floor up because it is in the middle. Is there anyway to nail that down or will that buckle the rest of the floor?? My parents are older and keep tripping over it and if they fall they will get hurt and we dont know what to do..Any suggestions??
we put a floating laminate flooring and we nocticed that in the middle a panel has not locked and i don”t know how to fix it i can’t take all the panels apart there are to many we were pretty much done and it is in the middle of the floor help what can i do?
Hello Anne, laminate flooirng should warm up at least 48 hrs before the installation. Cold temperture during a short period of storage in your garage should not impact your laminate.
I have bought some 15.3mm laminate from Costco couple of days ago. However, my contractor put them in my unheated garage for one night (around -15’c that night). Then he moved the laminte into my home next day. He has not installed the laminate yet . I am worring if the cold night (-15’c) will effect (damage?) the laminate? Thank you very much!
It is great practice to read all instructions before laminate flooring installation. Wrong installation is not covered by warranty and some manufacturers have special requirements. Locking system from brand to brand differ in installation method and some floors can not be installed by tapping boards together. So, again, if you are going to install your floor please read the installation instruction usually inserted inside of each box.
Charlie, we are puzzled with your case. This could be insect or quality related. Ask another professional what he thinks or call manufacturer for assistance.
Brian, we suggest to consult with your installer. Double check all expansion gaps. You have pretty big area and you probably need more that 1/4′ gap if your floor is installed without dilatation between kitchen and living room.
12mm floor is very forgiving for not even subfloor, so we are not sure , after what you did fixing your subfloor if this is the reason of your problems. What flooring brand do you have?
Leeann, I am sorry to hear that. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do with damaged flooring planks. Once is damaged it has to be replaced. What we suggest is to replace only the damaged area and a skillful BBB rated flooring installer will be able to do it for you.
Andrew, your problem could be related to the “valleys” in your subfloor. This is probably why your floor is flexing up and down and squeaks. Even subfloor is essential for stability of the laminate flooring. If this is your problem there is no easy fix. You need to repair your subfloor and to do it you probably need to take your flooring apart, fix the subfloor and reinstall the floor.
Elizabeth, separation in the bathroom can be related to the moisture exposure or luck of the t-molding in the doorway. In both cases you need to replace or take apart and re-install your floor.
Your living room: buckling can be related to the moisture exposure or wrong installation. If you excluded moisture or water damage it means that your floor was installed too tight ( not enough expansion gap). You need to fix the problem and address the buckled up area. This article can help.
Mason, buckling can be related to the other reasons than water. For example lack of expansion gap, not enough space for expansion, pinched floor with heavy objects ( like kitchen cabinets, grand piano, heavy furniture etc). Another reason could be installation without expansion gap for spaces approximately 40 ft lengthwise and 30ft side-wide; this rule can be changed down due to the heavy furniture load, which limits the floor to float.
Crackling noise may be related to the “valley” in the subfloor. Even subfloor is essential when it comes to laminate flooring installation.
Removal of one board is possible and can be done without the problem. Read this article to learn more.
Also, there is 1/4 inch, at least, of gap under the quater-round.
Thank you so much for all your responses to these questions. It must take you a long time. We put laminate flooring in our new house about 2 1/2 months ago. I noticed buckling near the support wall between the living room and the garage. I also noticed it buckling spot “downhill” from the other spot. When I step on the laminate, it makes a crackling/squishing noise. This sound is also made in other spots that I know are dry, so the sound may be nothing. There is no leak in my slab copper as it was inspected by a plumber who visited my house. There is also no apparent leaks in my sewer drain system. I have had a water mitigation company come to my house, I have purchased a moisture meter, and there is no evidence of any water existing in the laminate flooring. Here is my question: Can water be trapped below the moisture barrier and show no sign of itself in the laminate, save the buckling spots? This is the only explanation that would make any reasonable sense, as there is no evidence of moisture as verified by myself and water mitigation company. My installer checked those spots and said that they are high/low spots in the flooring that are causing them. I feel like I’m going out of my mind. The only evidence I have for believing there is water under there is the sound includes a little more “squish” Than in the other spots. The other question I will ask is if the water is under the laminate, and it is not doing anything else but buckling the laminate, can I just forget it, let it dry out eventually, and go on with my life? Lastly, can someone come, take up one of the boards where I think the water is, and help me verify, visually, that there is no water? I think that’s the only way I will ever be satisfied. I just want to make sure the repair job does not include taking up all of my laminate flooring. Thank you for your response.
We moved into this house right at 2 years ago. We noticed then that the laminate in the bathroom was separating at the seams. We didn’t pay much attention to it as we just assumed it was from poor craftsmanship and we knew we wanted to replace the bathroom floor with the remodel. However now we have two places in our living room and one place in our kitchen that are bubbling/buckling. Our house is built on a slab. We can not find a moisture problem anywhere in the house. Do you have any idea why this is happening it hoe we can preserve the flooring a little longer until we are done with the remodel and are ready to have the floors done right?
My laminate flooring on my second floor in my house in my bedroom squeaks constantly and one certain spot when you press on it with your foot it makes a loud pop sound as if it was hitting a vent or something, it bothers me majorly, any ways to fix without having to replace the whole floor or drilling???? Please respond!
I believe that my floor is buckling due to recent exposure to damp spots on an area rug (my mom and her dogs are here while she is recovering from a fall and she has had issues training them). I don’t see any visible signs of permanent damage. Is there anything we can do to salvage the floor?
Just had 12mm laminate installed my kitchen and living room that flow together,both over a crawl space,install guy put a straight edge over the areas and as I expected not level.He used about 3 bags of henry floor level on the bad spots.Also used a quality vapor\silent floor underlayment.The problem I have is the floor in some areas creak as i walk on it.Some boards have a crunching or swishy sound when i put my full weight on them,the sound on some boards may be 2 feet of noise but no noise on the rest of board(piece)I believe that i have still some low spots causing this?if so ,how do i fix it,take half floor out,level bad spots,or just live with it(hate this idea)Also if the installer did his best(is he accountable for every low spot)in the floor OR NOT?!?.kitchen is 20 by 10,living room 22 by 15.thanks.
I have engineered wood floors which were installed approx. 4 years ago. Now within the last 2 weeks I have noticed these black spots appearing ramdonly on my floors. They look like smeared ink spots. Some are irregular patterns and some are just dots. The surface is still smooth. Now I know these were not here before. I literally get on my hands and knees to wipe my floors down with a microfiber dust rag, and any debris-light spots I use a bit of elbow grease. If these black blotches were there prior I would have been scrubbing the relentlessly.. Anyway they will not disappear. There is no water damage/mold. Beside they do not look like your typical water damage spots. I have no pets. Plus they are on the living room floor which there are no water pipes. They have even appeared in 2nd floor hallway. Now to throw another element into the mix, in November I noticed 3 pinpoint size kick outs which suggest termites – small sandy poop pile from termites. Cleaned it up and it didn’t appear for a month, then noticed a pipe again last week. Termite inspector came out but since he didn’t see any other indication of them around the house he recommended that I wait until April when our entire condo complex is tented for a complete fumigation. When he was here in late December I did not have the black blotches on the floor otherwise I would have pointed it out to him. Barring that its not water damage and that my home will be tented in 2-3 months, I would get used to the look if it was more on the lines of French bleeding wood floors; however this looks horrible. Any idea what this could be? I am at my wits end, upset and frustrated. Oh, seems like blotches are developing from bottom of floor to top not vice versa. help:-(
Anne, not all laminate floors have a moisture resistant core so any prolonged exposure to water or moisture can cause the laminate to swell and buckle.
Vic, 3/8″ gap should be a fine expansion gap for a 26 ft. run.
Vic, I do recommend that you use a moisture barrier otherwise your warranty may be void, also you only need a t-molding in any doorway that is 48″ or less if it is going laminate to laminate. It doesnt matter what the outside temperature is when installing your floor, the only thing that you need to do is have the flooring inside of your temperature controlled home for at least 24-36 hours to acclimate to the temperature and humidity and you will be all set to install your laminate. Also make sure to follow the manufacturers recommendations and keep the 3/8″ gap along the perimeter of the room.
Good Luck. Fred
Hazel, it is hard to tell what happened to your floor without physically being there to inspect it, I would call a local flooring contractor to inspect the floor and try to locate the problem.
Wayne it is best to check with the manufacturer of the laminate floor that you are interested in to get the best answer. Some laminate may hold up better to large temperature fluctuations.
I have a friend that is having problems with her flooring. She has 2 little dogs that wet on the floor from time to time and the flooring is buckling. If this moisture is cleaned up immediatly how is this possible. Help
Thank You Deborah, I am soon installing the same floor from costco ,I will keep that in mind not to bang the planks in but tap gently. I know The harmonics floor install kit has a different type of block that is used which looks like none other, and the staggering pattern is explained on their website, its important to follow that for warranty purpose.
Deborah, it sounds like your installers did not install the flooring properly and destroyed the locking mechanisms on your laminate flooring. If you hit/smash the boards together too hard then you have a high likelihood of causing the boards to delaminate which is where the top wear layer of the products splits apart from the HDF core of the board. If this is the case then you have no choice but to replace those damaged boards. Laminate floors do have slight tolerances for lippage and seam gaps, in order to find out the tolerances for your flooring you will need to contact the manufacturer and request a full spec sheet on your specific laminate floor. Good luck, Fred
Im sorry 26′ is the longest stretch between dining and living room and that is not with the running length of the planks bet the running width . Do I need to do anything between the rooms or is 26′ with 3/8 gap at both perimeters OK. Thanks
Hi, Just bought 375 sq ft. of 8mm harmonics laminate floor with 2 mm attached padding from Costco. The rooms are living at 18×13 and 10×13 dining L shaped attached through 10 ft opening with the longest linear length 18 ft .The floor is 3/4 plywood over wood joists with 25×25 x 4 ft high full concrete unventilated partially warm crawlspace under both rooms. Manufacturer recommends 5-6 mm vapor barrier but absolutely no more added padding also 3/8 gap all around perimeter. Its 15 degree in Midwest now and with furnace humidifier 40% humidity otherwise 20%without.
1.I have read about mold under vapor barrier forming over time depending on wood humidity level, but wood seems dry do I really need vapor barrier?
2.Do I need a Dividing strip between the 2 rooms even though they are almost 1 large room?
3.Is it better to install during warm weather ,I can wait. Manufacturer recommends 60 to 70Degree with 50% outdoor humidity.
4.On 18ft run is 3/8 gap on both ends ok? I have read floor can contract just as much as expand so if humidity is 50 % and when winter comes again and humidity drops the gap can be to large.what is max floor can expand and contract? Sorry for long post I want to do it right Thank You!
Lisa, the only things that can cause buckling and seperation is water damage, lack of a proper expansion gap around the perimeter of the room and wrongly securing the laminate flooring to the subfloor via nails/screws. Since the water was so high in your home I would bet that it is moisture damage which has caused your flooring to expand and buckle. Thanks, Fred
Gwevet, Once your laminate floor is installed you shouldn’t hear any swishing noises coming from the floor at all. It sounds like something is rubbing against the bottom of the floor creating a noise. I would have somebody come over to take apart and inspect the floor, subfloor and underlayment.
I had parquet flooring throughout my house, but decided I wanted laminate flooring with a moisture control padding put on top of it, after time the laminate begin to buckle, after looking to see it the problem was in the laminate flooring I found that the parquet flooring had buckled underneath it. My question is why did this happen? I don’t have a water leak, but underneath the parquet there was moisure
i want to install laminate flooring in a cabin.there will be no heat in the winter . will this be a problem ?
Hi and thank you… I have an issue with my new Laminate. I had a friend who also happens to be a contractor install costco prepadded laminate. He used a heavy mill plastic as a moisture barrier on my slab floor and all seems to have been done right EXCEPT ONE THING, i can see and feel every joint both up and down the piece and side to side. When installing they were brutal, they did use the rubber blocks and mallets ,but their “click/drop /tap into place” was more like “shove/slam a hard hit on the end and front to lock it down & in . Could this be why each seam has small lip or am I just getting my face too close to look at it? Please advise. Thank You Deb.
Hi… I live a mile from the coast in New Jersey… Sadly we flooded from Super Storm Sandy up to the bottom of our sub flooring. We went without electric for 13 days. Without heat for a full month. Once the heat was I stalled, my pergo floors started to change (buckle and separate) my flood adjuster is telling me that is not from the flood, however, the water was so high that at its highest point when I opened my front or back door it was level with the floor I was standing on and stayed that way for 12 hours before the tide went out. Let’s say it was not the flood ( though I don’t see how ) in your opinion… What else would cause this? Thanks for your help.
I am having a 14mm laminate flooring with attached pad installed on a concrete slab. When walking across the floor I can hear a “swishing” sound coming from the plastic sheeting that was installed over the concrete. The installer says the sound will diminish once the floor gets “broken in” from usage. Is this correct or is there a problem with the installation?
Jason, as long as you have left sufficient expansion gaps around the rest of the perimeter of the room you should be fine. Your room is average in size so it will not expand or contract much at all. Let me know if you do have any other questions. Fred
We just installed laminate in our master bedroom. The room is 13 x 14. I’m afraid that when I glued down the t moulding between the room and bathroom I didn’t leave enough of an expansion gap. Will this cause my floor to buckle? Their is an expansion gap around the rest of the perimeter.
Marsha, is there a way that you can send me pictures of the damage in question? If so you can send them to [email protected] and leave me your contact info, I will get back to you right away with my opinion of the cause of the black spots. Fred
Jill, the only way to find out if there is a water leak under your flooring would be to call a certified plumber. Excessive moisture/water will cause laminate to buckle and warp over time so it wouldn’t be out of the question for the damage to have been caused by water damage. Fred
We purchased a house with laminate flooring 3 years ago. Now the laminate has dark circles
thorughout the living room and Florida room. I had a contractor in my house and he said the only time he has ever seen the floor turn black was from water damage. I think ceramic tile is under the laminate but I am not sure. The black spots do not feel spongy nor is the floor buckling. Is water the only possibility for large black spots? Some are 2 feet in diameter?
Hello~ I just noticed in the last few days that the laminate flooring near my kitchen sink and dishwasher is starting to buckle. This seems to coincide with the timing of another problem: my kitchen faucet is pulsating and there is a leak in the sprayer hose. Could there be water leaking somewhere under the floor from that issue that would cause the buckling? Thank you for your insight.
Our contractor is an aquaintance…. In quote process, we expressed our concern about floors not being level, and pointed to some areas. We were assured he was used to dealing with un level floors. We are paying $15500 for floors, counters, and a row of addtional cabinets in kitchen Upon pulling up the carpet in the biggest room, the un-level problems were exposed in this room. We asked about leveling it, and he said between the padding and it needing to settle, it would be fine. So they layed the full room. Pulled up carpet in dining room, tore up tile in kitchen. Contractor charged $300 to grind down uneven part in the transition area from Dining to Kitchen. Layed 90% of floor in both rooms. We can feel many other areas of it being unlevel in other places of both rooms of which he did not address. Finally today they pulled up Living room. Found severe drop in one corner. Charged $80 to add ‘thin set’. 3/4 room layed, finish tomorrow.
Now doing research (a little late, I know) and have now discovered that it should have been leveled. Found instructions from trash can, it says clearly that the floor should be leveled. Instructions say “No glue needed’, yet he is gluing the pieces together at the ends and the sides. Several areas creak, sag, bounce. ALSO – will be putting a 100 gal Fish Tank in corner of 1st room, and will also be putting a Granite slab in corner across from fish tank to place a wood burning stove on. Concerned abou the weight of both of these items, as well as the aquarium.
Frustated and feel like we’ve made a huge mistake and can’t undo it without either loosing a lot of money, or loosing a friend. (Don’t say ‘not much of a friend if he did that to you…..we’ve already thought of that fact) Also ordered 75Sq Ft of Granite. One single ‘imperfection’ (his words, it looks like someone splilled something on it (and they buffed over it) rather than it looking like an imperfection. No other place on any of the pieces, Spot color is not seen
anywhere on any of those 75Sq feet of granite. in the rest of the pieces. Totally looks like it shold not be there.
Thank you = Mrs. Sometimes do it yourselfer’s wife
Just because they have a photo gallery of their work, does not mean 1) they did the work or 2) the flooris still any good.
Sometimes flooring looks great when it is first installed. But if the expansion gap was not properly cut, or if they forgot, or improperly installed a moisture barrier, the floor could buckle and heave months later.
They could even bring you to a client they just finished and it would look great that week, but 6 months later, it’s cracked and breaking!
Phil, Your subfloor should ideally be as smooth and flat as possible, however laminate flooring is a “floating floor” so it is not quite as critical to be perfect as if you were laying linoleum or sheet vinyl. The underlayment will absorb most small subfloor imperfections but you need to be careful of sharp rises or dips in the subfloor, such as an uneven floor joists, that could potentially lead to peaks in your laminate floor due to the uneven subfloor. Most all underlayments will perform the same in regards to their ability to level out subfloor imperfections. Some underlayment will provide better thermal, sound and moisture protection than others but all of them are, in my opinion, equal in terms of subfloor correction. If you are worried about the condition of your subfloor you should call a flooring contractor to give you their opinion on the suitablility of your subfloor for installing laminate flooring. Also depending on the size of your living room and hallway you may or may not need a transition between the two rooms. I have ran flooring straight through the living room and hallway with no transition many times and have never had any problems. If you do that the most critical thing is that you have the proper expansion gap along the perimeter of the room that way you can eliminate the chances of your floor buckling due to it being pinched somewhere. I hope this helps. Fred
You are doing a terrific job buddy. Regards from Hotel Charles de Gaulle. Keep together with the good do the job.
Bridgette, If your transition is too tight to the flooring then it can cause the laminate to buckle because the laminate does not have a sufficient expansion gap. You should probably have one of your installers remove the boards closest to the transition and cut it down so you have the proper expansion gap to the transition. If you do that you shouldn’t have any more problems. Good luck
We have a laminate flooring installed a year ago – we have buckling in two different areas – we also have ceramic tile that is right next to some of the laminate with transition pieces – none of the buckling is right at the tile; however, it is not a far distance from the tile – one place is right outside my husband’s bath – we were told by the installer that the tile person put grout right up against the laminate which doesn’t give the laminate enough room to expand – the tile person says that is not the problem = the tile person removed the transition piece from the bath and now the buckling is no longer there – can the transition pieces be put down too tight?
Thanks for a great website. I’m considering laminate flooring in our living room and hallway. I have a BUNCH of questions, but will limit them! Mainly – it is covered with carpeting at the moment and I’m not sure what the condition of the floorboards is. How smooth and level do they need to be? Several spots squeak so I will be screwing those down (it was built in early 1970’s so probably just nails that have loosened). Do they make thicker/stronger underlay pads for a possible uneven floor if I do in fact have problems?
And another topic – it sounds like I should put in some type of transition border to separate the living room from the hallway?
Make sure you contact the Attorney Generals office (Dept of Consumer Affairs) in your state, because they will follow your complaint and contact the business on your behalf. Also, first get an inspection report that will detail the problem…it will probably cost apprx $200.00, but it is worth it because any contractor knows that a judge will honor an inspection report. The contractor will be forced by the Atty General and the inspection report to make it better.
Having said that, I have my own locking laminate floor issue and I am starting to suspect that some of these designs are simply un-workable. I am going to push for the atty general’s office to fight harder for consumers with these issues and for our Congress to pass some laws on the manfacturers of these floors and against the contractors installing them. Good luck….dont be surprised if you are still dealing with issues in a year from now.
Would you believe he just left after giving me an estimate? He retracted the sanding. He must have read your blog! I do not intend to use him and will take your advicre about getting a flooring installation store (or two) to have a look and give an estimate.
I feel pretty educated with the information you provided. Doesn’t it need a bit of time to “settle”? I had one guy start the job – one whole room and another finishished the rest of the house. The first guy said he could do it all in one day, but he wanted to let it “settle” – I don’t remember what term he used. That room isn’t buckled anywhere.
This house is not moisture free for sure. I think it is a combination of not enough expansion gap and the humidity because it wasn’t this bad initially, only the last week or so when the temperature has been running around 80 with rain. It may be the shoe board is nailed to the flooring also, but I don’t think so. I don’t want to wreck it trying to find out. However, I know how to tell if someone knows what they’re talking about now. I will definitely get a second opinion.
Thank goodness I found your website. Thanks for the knowledge. Oh yeah, he did mention gluing it down. As soon as I didn’t say anything he retracted that too saying he didn’t know anybody that did that. 🙂
Hip, hip hooray for the web and people like you that don’t charge for their expertise!!!
Alexis, please do not let anybody sand your laminate flooring!!! The contractor is clearly oblivious to laminate flooring and how to repair it……DO NOT ever sand laminate flooring under any circumstance, you will destroy the flooring and there will be no going back afterwards. Please call a local laminate flooring store that does installations and have them come out to give you an estimate for the repair. It is either an expansion gap issue or something is pinning your floor down and not allowing it to expand or contract. Laminate flooring needs to have an expansion gap due to humidity and temperature causing the floor to naturally expand and contract. Also you should never nail or glue laminate flooring down to the subfloor, it should always “float” on top of the subfloor.
Margaret, it is critical to have a 3/8″ expansion gap between the floor and the perimeter walls and any transitions that were installed in the room. After you have that gap then you can replace all of your trim and moldings in the room. This will prevent your floor from buckling for the rest of the lifetime of the flooring.
Margaret, the baseboards being too tight to the floor had nothing to do with your floor buckling. There simply was not enough of an expansion gap around the perimeter of the room or there was either a finish nail or another object pinning down the floor somewhere which was causing it to buckle. Have your installer check to see if there is anything pinning down the floor and not allowing it to move freely. Good Luck, Fred
Carina, sorry it took me so long to respond to your question, I was on vacation last week. To address your concerns it seems that you have been very vigilant so far by taking apart a large section of the flooring and drying out as much moisture that was visible. Also the dehumidifier is a brilliant little appliance that will help to suck all of the excess moisture out of the room. In my opinion I believe that you have done enough to stop the water from pooling underneath the floor where it can do the most damage and I think that after 24 hours of running the dehumidifier and letting everything dry out you should be fine. Im sure that you are already finished because this happened nearly 2 weeks ago but at least other people can see what you have done and that will help them if they need good advice. Thank you for your post. Fred
I just had someone off craigslist say over the phone that he could fix the buckling by sanding it if it wasn’t too high. Does this sound right? He did ask if it was near the wall or in the middle.
The buckling begins to the right of the entry from one room to another. It extends outward about 3 ft. I am describing this as best I can. I know absolutely nothing about laminate flooring.
Nothing I’ve read so far said anything about sanding.
Good point Bennie! We are sorry to hear about your problems. Now, you have a chance to put your feedback on Angies list , so other people who will deal with your installer will know more about the quality of his work. All the bast and thank you fro your opinion.
JUST FYI-The WORST flooring person contractor/insurance listed and licensed installed our flooring and he is on Angies List as good. He was a nice man but NEVER addressed my concerns and my flooring is HORRIBLE.
I would ask people whom you have visited homes and as for a photo gallery of their work and the ability to call the person that the flooring was installed.
Had someone look at floor today and they said i should have someone remove molding and trim all sides of the room and the floor should flatten out. Do you think this would work. this is a large room roughly 25′ x 20′. thanking you in asvance.
Had my laminate floors installed during cold weather. This was done in the basement and used a gas fireplace constantly.
the floors are now buckling in a number of different places. Called the person who installed it and he said whoever put the baseboards back up put them to tight too tight to the floor and that the floors would straighten out if I had them removed and a gap left. I had that done now my floors are buckling in different places plus the previous areas. He is coming back out this week to see what can be done to correct this problem. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. thank You
we just had our hot water pipe burst in the upstairs bathroom (water is off now), by the time we noticed it (about 20-30min after it burst), the ceiling, area rug, and a part of the floor of the living room underneath had been flooded.
I just installed the laminate about 1 1/2 years ago myself.
The sub-floor is concrete, I have a better quality steam barrier (the one with the little Styrofoam balls that allow air circulation.
We immediately soaked up as much of the water as possible, removed the rug and started going under the laminate and steam barrier.
The area that water was on the surface of the floor was about 10×8 feet, we took out about the same amount of flooring (probably a little more, maybe rather 12×10) immediately and dried it, we also went under the steam barrier and dried the concrete underneath.
At the moment we have the dehumidifier and fan going, we reached under the flooring (and barrier) further into the room to dry any moisture that might still be there with dry towels. We reached about 2-3 feet under the laminate and steam barrier at the border to where we had taken the laminate out, we also continued doing so (reaching in underneath the floor) until we could not feel any moisture anymore.
The ceiling tile is also out and the ceiling is pretty dry in the other spots (we’re having a drop ceilling because we had a water damage of that same pipe about 15 years ago so the original ceilling is all open and we can access things easily, which is also why the water had such an easy way down into the living room).
Do you think we’re good?
Is there anything you would say we should do in addition to this?
The concrete flooring underneath the laminate that we left in seems to be dry, so does the laminate.
Are there any tips as to what we should do next?
Do you think we would need to rip out more flooring or should this be enough?
As far as I can see and tell we got all the water soaked up and I’m hoping that the dehumidifier will take care of any left moisture…
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Amanda, we have heard of a few complaints with some 12mm floors doing the same “crackling and crunching” noises. We have advised our clients to disassemble the floor completely and seal the edges of the boards with a clear, siliconized acrylic caulk. This will help to prevent any cracks or squeaks in the joints once that is done. You should also call your manufacturer to see if there was any quality control issues or if there was a recall issued for this problem for your flooring. You can also Google your floor and see if there are any other people who have had similar complaints and you can see if they heard of a recall for that product. The floor should not squeak or crackle once the expansion gap is corrected and once you seal the edges of the boards with the clear caulk. Good Luck with this issue. Fred
Hi, we ostalled our 12 mm plank laminate this winter and with he increase in humidity recently the floor has expanded and it is touching the walls in a few areas and the plank are snapi g and crackling. My husband is going to fix this issue. Will the snapping go away or is the whole floor ruined?
Briana, It sounds like you don’t have a sufficient expansion gap around the perimeter of your room. When the floor swells due to the humidity it causes the floor to expand and it may not have anywhere to expand if there isnt at least a 1/4″ to 3/8″ expansion gap around the perimeter of the room depending on the size of your room. You can try to use a dehumidifer it may help to keep the humidity down in the room but it will be costly to buy and keep it on. It would be best if you paid a contractor to look at your installation and ask his opinion also. He may recommend to disassemble the floor and trim the edges of the boards around the perimeter so that you have the proper expansion gap.
Joan, it does sound like water damage could be the culprit. Do you have any extra boards from your original installation? I would suggest to call the Better Business Bureau and file a complaint with them about the company who is ignoring you. I would call a local contractor and have them come out to inspect the flooring. He should be able to figure out whats going on there. If you do have extra boards then he may be able to repair your flooring. If you don’t have extra boards then it might become difficult because your flooring may be discontinued and you may not be able to find a box of it anywhere in which case you will need to replace the entire floor in your kitchen. Good luck, I hope that all goes well, Fred
It seems my floor is buckeling where there is no furniture on it but only when it’s muggy or damp in the house .. When it’s dry outside and inside the floor is fine .. I’m thinking maybe a dehumidifier but would I still have to replace the floor if that’s the case .. And I have no floor molding down would that keep anything in place
I purchased laminate floors a year ago in my kitchen. Less than 6 months after installation I noticed buckling of the floor, as well as warping. The installer is claiming excess moisture. I don’t understand why. We use a swiffer mop on it. No excess moisture ever. Now, they are starting to warp all over the place, and the place where I purchased them from is ignoring my calls. Suggestion(s)?
We recently installed a laminate floor in a large chapel (2500 sf) and now the floor is severely buckling. I have read all your comments about leaving expansion gaps around the perimeter and I know that was done but now the flooring is tight against the baseboards. We have 24 pews in the chapel and we did screw them into the subfloor for safety reasons. Is this what is causing the buckling? It is mostly down the center aisle where the worst buckling is happening. Is there a way to secure the pews that will not affect the laminate? I have had two different companies to look at it since the original installer will not answer my calls. One said it needed to be trimmed around the baseboards. The other one said it needs to be removed and replaced with tile or carpet, that it will never be right because of the heavy pews. Could you please give me your opinion? Thank you so much.
JH, I definitely see that there can be a problem if there is no expansion gap around the entire perimeter. The reason for having an expansion gap around the entire perimeter is because of it being a “floating floor” it can shift in any given direction either horizontally or vertically and it can expand either way as well. The larger the room the larger the expansion gap that you need to have to account for this. Unfortunately at this point I would recommend that you re-check your entire perimeter to see where the floor has no room to expand. Once you mark all of the areas you will need to disconnect the flooring and trim down all of the boards that you had previously marked. Be careful not to over cut them, just make sure to have a 1/4″ to 1/2″ expansion gap depending on the size of the room. Usually any room that is longer than 25 ft. will need a 1/2″ expansion gap. After cutting the boards, carefully reinsert them back into their proper positions in your floor. Once completed you can reinstall your baseboards and/or quarter round moldings. As far as the peeling effect that you are talking about, I’m not sure if the boards are factory defective or if they were damaged during installation. You can send me a few pictures to [email protected] if you would like. I can better help you then. Thanks for your question, Fred
Mary Ellen, I would not remove the ceramic tiles unless it will cause clearance and/or height issues with your doors and your transitions to other floors. The floor will be higher but it is a very messy, labor intensive and expensive job to remove ceramic tile and level the floor afterwards if needed. It will be much harder for your contractor to remove the ceramic tile with the island in the way without possibly damaging it while trying to remove the tiles that are halfway pinned underneath the island. That is why he recommends to remove the island if you want to tear out the old ceramic and I agree with that. However, if he does remove the island to remove the tiles make sure that the island is put back into place before installing the laminate because it will be too much weight on the laminate if it is installed on top and it will not allow your laminate floor to expand and contract correctly. That can lead to possible problems with buckling and it will also void most warranties. You have a few decisions to make regarding installation of you floor, make sure that you take my advice into account and you will be fine. Thank you for your question, Fred
Just recently the laminate floor was installed but weren’t any expansion gaps around the perimeter; even the fireplace area did not have any expansion gap -I believe the installer intended to put shoe moldings instead using of reducer/t-molding. One of the area seems to be peaking/buckling up (it appears to be slighty twisting), and a few of laminate planks layer on the side seems to have small peeling –like a stickers isn’t adhered all the way. I was told laminate floors would horizontally expand by its width, not length. And what appeared to be peaking/bucking could settle down eventually, and the “peeling” also could be the case. Will you please provide some insights and advices? I would greatly appreicaite it, and thank you for your time.
Dear Fred…first thank you for being there for all of us who are far from expert in these areas.
I am planning to put a bamboo floor in a large kitchen, with a large island with the dishwasher and sink and quartz counter top. I currently have a tile floor. I am leaning toward a floating floor with a top quality underlay. I also asked my floor installer about about the cost and “mess” of removing the tiles and installing a non-floating bamboo floor. He told me it can be done, however he would also have to move the island to remove the tiles under it. That scares the heck out of me…very large island (long with a right angle extension) and the heaviness of the counter top. He said the floor could be installed “up to” the island but this is not the proper way of doing it. Help! Thank you in advance.
Vanessa, it definately sounds like you have buckling due to a lack of an expansion gap. You would be surprised of how much a floor can expand under seemingly regular conditions. I have seen a few buckled floors and 99% of the time it is a lack of an expansion gap because the floor has expanded and it has nowhere to go but up to relieve the pressure against the wall. In order to prevent damage to the locks on the buckling boards, you will need to remove the quarter round, and baseboard if you have it, and look for an area where laminate is pressed against a wall or a nail by the wall which is not allowing the floor to expand. Once you locate the problem you can try to fix it yourself by removing the board and trimming it to fit or you can call a flooring installer, tell him you have located the problem and pay him $50 and have him fix it for you. Its not a big problem as long as you fix it right away before your boards become damaged. Good Luck, Fred
Over the holidays my father installed Pergo in two upstairs bedrooms. This was the first time he had worked with Pergo. Everything seemed good when the project was finished the first week of January. But now I have severe buckling in the center of my bedroom in an open area. The buckling is running along the long side of the board and what started off to be a small area of buckling has now expanded and more boards in that line of installation are now buckling. I have spoken to my dad about it – he is out of state- and he believes it may be because he put some nails in an area along the baseboard before installing the quarter round. Based on what I have read above, sounds like that might be the issue but would appreciate your insight.
Gillian, as long as the flooring is installed according to the manufacturers instructions and you have left the proper expansion gap along the perimeter then you will have no problems with any of your board loosening. Constant traffic is normal wear and tear on a laminate floor and it will not affect anything whatsoever. Thanks, Fred
Hi Fred, I am slightly puzzled. I have installed my laminate, and have the beading ready to nail to skirting. But, leaving the expansion gap upon removing spacers, combined with the fact the beading is glued to skirting, surely with contant traffic then the edges/ends of the boards will be prone to loosening, as only air to stop tthem.moving
Kim, depending on the size of your room the expansion gap should be anywhere from 1/4″ to 1/2″ along the entire perimeter of the room. Moisture is definately a possibility to cause bumps or swelling near the doors. Without seeing your floor in person I cannot tell you what is causing the problem. As long as there is an expansion gap along the perimeter you should still be ok and there shouldn’t be any bumps in your flooring. Ultimately your flooring installers will need to diagnose and correct the problem because they installed it and as long as you didn’t have any moisture issues along your doors and windows before the installation then it is the responsibility of the floor guys to fix it. Good luck with you problem. I hope they can fix it soon for you.
I just spent a good deal of money to have a laminate floor installed with the highest grade of vapor barrier available. I live in florida and the flooring was laid on concrete slabs. 2 weeks after installation I noticed big bumps near every sliding door. Installers came back and told me it was moisture around the doors that was getting in. I just had the door and window contractors over and they did moisture tests and say there is no way that much moisture is getting in and if I have a vapor barrier and no standing water it is not my doors. The rooms with the sliding glass doors are the biggest rooms and I removed the molding to discover only an 1/8 “of a gap. The floor guys want me to pay for oak thresh holds and edging so they can screw them into the concrete. I agree that the thresh holds were weak due to a poor manufacturing T- lock design that looks like it is made out of cardboard. However, I am not so sure about the sliding doors with the edging. We have lots of humidity in Florida and is it better to have a 1/2” gap if my molding covers it? I thought laminate didn’t swell as much as real wood and that is one of the reasons I bought it. I also realize hot and cold concrete could have condensation so I was talked into highest grade vapor barrier. Please Help! Kim
Tendai, after a wood floor starts to swell due to water damage it is unrepairable unless you remove and replace the damaged board(s). There really isn’t any way to make the bump sit down because the wood itself has been warped and it will never go back to its original shape.
Found 3 bedrooms afloat with water which seemed to have dripped from the ceiling. the flooring is wooden tiles and in one room the tiles have swelled and caused a bump in the room, where there are no service providers to immediately help what can i do to reduce the damage caused by the water?
Gina, can you please be a little more specific about what kind of flooring that you have had installed and also can you send some pictures to me at [email protected]. I will be able to help you out a little better that way. Thanks.
David, laminate flooring is a great choice for flooring because of its ease of installation but if you are not careful when installing it can turn into a problem down the road. If the boards are no longer fully locked together than you have no other choice than to disassemble your floor and start over again. There are many reasons that can cause the flooring to not stay locked together. The board could have a damaged lock, there could be debris in the joints, the locks may have never fully been engaged, there could be a defective board, etc. Without seeing your flooring I cannot tell you what the issue would be. I honestly don’t think that your underlayment had anything to do with the boards coming apart. Hopefully it won’t be too difficult for you to take apart and reinstall you floor since you already have everything cut to length.
I had my hardwood linoelum flooring installed 11/01/10 and now bumps are forming and some are very noticeable and the guy who installed will not call me back. Is there anything I can do to fix this other than replacing it?
I just installed a 14mm thick floating laminate floor in our basement. I put down a vapor barrier as directed, though there is a seam across the middle of the floor–and the plastic sheeting was hardly crease-free as I had to displace many items across the room as I laid the floor–just difficult to put down a smooth sheet. Trouble is this, there are many small gaps (no bigger than 2mm) in the floor between the wood slats. In fact, some even seem to lift slightly as if they are no longer locked.
I was having some difficulty with the install as I came across instances where the boards fit together poorly. Is this because of a poor job of putting down the vapor barrier? Or is it a defective/inferior flooring choice? (It has a lifetime warrenty.) Although this was my first floating installation, I totally think it was straightforward and simple. I DO NOT want to call a professional and give them $$$ for something that I can likely tackle myself. I am afraid I will have to pull up most of the floor and start over. Thoughts and suggestions?
Laura, I can’t figure out what straight shadow lines would be caused by. Also what are these black blemishes that you are talking about. Can you send me a few pictures so I can better answer your question. You can send the pictures to [email protected], thanks, Fred
I have a bamboo floor about 4 years it was perfect a peice in the doorway starting making a clicking sound and then lifting I had I guy come and he replaced 4 peices instead I returned to see a perfect floor completely buckled in hours he is saying it was the water table I have never had water . The floor is dry everywhere and a I noticed black blemishes where the boards meet looks like bruising or pressure marks they are straight shadow lines.I am so mad I want a answer.
Mike, I would never recommend to nail down a floating laminate floor. The only time it would be ok to nail or glue down laminate is if you are putting it on a set of steps. If you are having problems locking the laminate together I would either call an installer with experience that can install the floor or return the material if it is found to be defective.
Hi, I recently bought swiftlock laminate but when I went to install it the boards don’t lock together very well. Would it hurt to use a nail gun and put a 45 degree finishing nail threw the joint to help hold the seem together?
Stella, I need to know more about the laminate that you have installed. Normally you cannot pull up any tiles because they are all interlocked together. As for you subfloor being wet, it appears that you have a leak of some sort that you need to find and stop before the problem gets worse. Also laminate should never get a divet from a microwave cart. Most laminate floors are comprised of HDF pressed wood with an aluminum oxide finish on top and they are 99% dent proof.
Hi, I rent and when we moved in we had to have the kitchen floor
replaced due to a pipe leak. Tiles were popping up and creating ridged
bumps. We are now getting cracked and ridged bumps again on
our laminate tiles in one area . The microwave cart is causing divets
in the tiles. One tile can be pulled up and sub floor appears to be wet
This area is nowhere near any source of water. Fridge is next to this
and then stove those tiles are not effected. Why am I getting this issue?
Floor was put in about 3 and 1/2 years ago and this just started about 6
months ago. There are some gaps in tiles near kitchen also. Thank you
Laurie, It sounds as if you have a bad situation on your hands. If there is suspected moisture coming from under your floor then the first thing you need to do is take apart part of your floor to check if there is excessive moisture underneath. One cause of a buckling floor is moisture/water damage but there can also be buckling from lack of a proper expansion gap along the perimeter of your floor. Unfortunately if there has been long term moisture exposure to the underside of your flooring some of it may be ruined. Once again without taking up the floor there is no way to tell if there is mold growth or moisture damage. You can call a mold company to come and take samples from your home to check for mold spores but I dont know how much that would cost. I hope that the damage isn’t too bad. Good Luck, Fred
Charlotte, is your granddaughters bedroom floor a laminate floor? Most laminate flooring is very resistant to stains and fading from UV rays, heat and household chemicals. I would try to use a solution of vinegar and water with 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water to try to clean the stain. Use a damp mop or a damp wash cloth with the vinegar water solution. If that doesnt work then try to wipe acetone on the stain with a clean cloth. Do not scrub the floor with anything that is very abrasive and do not saturate the floor with a lot of water. Doing those things can cause further damage to your floor. I hope that this helps. Good Luck, Fred
I set a vaporizer on my granddaughters bedroom floor and it left a big white area. How can I get this off?
I’ve been away from home for a few months and my father has been checking in on the house for me while I’ve been gone. He mentioned about a month ago that he was hearing a dripping noise, thought it might be the AC unit. Last week he said that my brand new laminate floors seem to be buckling a little in my hallway. Today the AC repairman came and said that I had a leak and needed freon – he also said once the freon was done there would be no more leak (still not sure I understand that part). Turns out the laminate flooring and, apparently, some of my bedroom which still has carpet are showing signs of moisture underneath. I am on a very strict budget as I am disabled and am so concerned about what the best thing to do is. My dad said he thinks it will be OK once it dries out, but the AC hasn’t really been in use much in the last month so I wonder if that could be correct. Can you please advise the best steps to correct this, and also how best to make sure there won’t be any mold. I live in the deep South so the possibility of mold is certainly there. Thanks so much!
Sue, it sounds like moisture is a strong possibility as the cause of your flooring problem. Moisture could have found its way under your floor somehow and settled underneath the floor. A few possible ways that could happen are: a leaking water pipe, a leaking ice maker line or spilled water that gets in beetween the seams of the flooring and finds its way underneath the floor. Without seeing what you are dealing with I would call a professional flooring company to come out and do a moisture test on your floor to find out if that is the culprit. Good Luck, Fred
Our kitchen laminate flooring has been laid for some years without any problems. The laminate is laid over 1930’s floorboards. Recently we noticed a lump appearing and assummed that water had been spilt as it was along one of the joins, however another lump appeared along the next join and now a third in the next join. These are all in line and are seemingly expanding, Since the first one accurred we’ve been dilegent about wiping up spills so we can rule out surface moisture. Are you able to shed any light on this problem, please? Any advice would be very much appreciated. Thank you.
Liz, the installer should have installed a T-Molding to seperate the rooms, especially when the overall length of the floor exceeds 20 ft. If the floor is coming apart at the seams then there could be damage to the locking system or the floor was never properly connected to begin with. I would not recommend that you try to patch the floor with any type of floor patch at the seperating seams. You can try to use the floor patch kit on nicks, gouges and scratches only. For the areas where the seams are seperating you will need to have a contractor disconnect the flooring from the end point to the area where the planks are seperated and reinstall the room until all planks are firmly locked together and there are no gaps. Without seeing what you are dealing with, I would recommend that you call over a contractor that has experience in laminate flooring installation to look at your floor and fix it. It might not cost as much as you would think. A competant flooring installer should be able to fix your floor within a few hours. I would fix the problem sooner rather than later because it could lead to more problems down the road if you don’t fix it now. Also you were right to install the quarter round to the baseboard. Good Luck with your problem, I hope that everything goes well. Fred
I recently paid my brother put down a laminate floor in my daughter’s condo. He is a know it all jerk (sorry) and wouldn’t even read the instructions before laying the floor . Started in a bedrom and continued 30+ feet into the LR through a hallway and galley kitchen. He refused to make a break between rooms/areas and so the floor wouldn’t lie “straight”.There are numerous places where the floor seams have opened up, just slightly, no buckling or anything, but overall, the job was done poorly.My daughter cannot afford to replace this and I want to help her get the floor she deserves and paid for! Can I use the Kampel floor patch stuff to patch the small separations? In one spot the floor was not level and the installer didn’t sand down or make any attempts to level the floor..so we have a slight ‘bump up’ spot. Of course that is becoming a place that is getting chipped as they walk on it. I am furious at my brother and my daughter is in tears c=becasue they dropped $1500 on the flooring and I paid the installer another $250…and it’s a C job at best. Due to my diligence and eagel eye, there is plenty of expansion space and the quarter round I put down to finish is glues ot the baseboard, not the floor as my brother isnisted I do. He was justu too prpoud to admit he didn’t know how to do something. Any ideas would be welcome, at this point. Much of the floor wil be covered by area/ runner rugs, but I feel like they will just be hding a huge mistake.
Tim, all laminate floors need an expansion gap of beetween 1/4″ to 1/2″ depending on the length and width of the room. The reason for that is because due to humidity moisture and temperature the floor can expand and contract. When the floor expands there is a possibility of buckling if the floor doesn’t have the proper expansion gaps. If the entire perimeter doesn’t have the proper expansion gap then it was not installed correctly. Tell your installer to check all expansion gaps and modify accordingly to make the proper expansion gaps. Good Luck, Fred
Hi. We had a “realwoodloc” floor fitted a year or so ago – real wood which slots together and is free floating. It was always quite spongy – the installer put it down on 8mm fibreglass underlay – but it was ok until earlier this year when the middle of the floor became very spongy and moved downwards visibly when trodden upon. The installer came back and realised that he hadn’t left any expansion gap around the fireplace, which is approximately 30 inches wide. He used a specialist saw to remove about 8 mm from the wood and the floor immediately settled down again. However, now – about 5 months on – the middle of the floor is spongy again. The majority – though not quite all – of the gap that he cut out has now closed up. However, the boards around that section are very tight and don’t seem to have any gaps between them at all. This isn’t the case elsewhere in the room. I don’t think that there is any problem with moisture in the room. I think that the problem is likely to be expansion gap-related again and that there may be a small amount of wood at the bottom of the newly cut expansion gap but I’d really appreciate some expert advice in advance of speaking to the installer about it. Last time he tried to suggest that it is normal to expect a floating wooden floor to move in this way.
Thank you in advance!
Potential Buckling Cause:
After pulling off all my baseboards to make sure there was enough room around the edges for expansion, I found my problem in the transitional molding, where my living room meets my kitchen. The screws that hold the bracket into the piece of laminate were too long and tightened into the plywood below… thus preventing expansion in that particular area. A quick switch of screws and my floor flattened right out. Might not be a common cause, but thought I’d post it here to add to the list of solutions.
Andrew, First, I am very sorry to hear that you are having these problems with your flooring. Excessive moisture in your concrete subfloor over time will eventually cause problems to develop in your laminate floor. If you have bad drainage problems during rain storms or if your subfloor is below ground level those are a few examples of what can cause excessive moisture to build up in your subfloor. I don’t think that background humidty would be the case because the warping and buckling from moisture damage happens 9 times out of 10 from moisture being trapped underneath the floor with nowhere to go but up. Your floor eventualy will start to swell from the constant moisture exposure. Moisture padding is a a great deterrent however some of them are not as good as others at preventing larger amounts of moisture from passing through them as condensation. If you decide to replace your laminate flooring again make sure that you go with a premium moisture padding and check the moisture rating on them if the information is available.Good Luck. Fred
Cliff, It is recommended to put a T-Molding in doorways beetween rooms specifically to prevent buckling. Each room needs to be its own seperate floating floor. Good Luck.
Mindy, A few years back I had a customer with the same exact issue.The flooring company is correct. The water was trapped beetween the vinyl and your laminate and had nowhere to go except up into your laminate flooring which caused it to warp and buckle. A sheet vinyl floor is waterproof so unless there were large holes in the vinyl no water would get underneath your floor. Once the vinyl floor has completely dried it is then safe to reinstall your laminate flooring. I waited 2 days until I reinstalled the laminate for my customer and there have been no further issues. The key is to make sure that the viny is completely dry before reinstallation.
Good Luck, Fred
We had a laminate floor installed in January in our kitchen. Now it is severly buckling. The contractor that put it in said he left a sufficient gap and put in a moistrure protector. The slab was dry at the time of installation. Pergo sent out an inspector and denied our claim response based on the inspectors report that stated moisture was 21-23%. We had a plumber come who did a thorough inspection and he found no leaks or evidence of excessive moisture. I am at a loss for how the moisture could have entered the floor. I also don’t know what 21-23% means. Is that really high or is it something that could result from something like background humidity? Any advice would be appreciated greatly. Thank you!
The plumbling behind my refrigerator (ice-maker) was leaking. I didn’t know (or it wasn’t too bad) until I got a new frig and the installer discovered the problem. He shut off the water, and then I had a plumber come and put in a new valve which got the plumbing straight. But my laminate flooring began to bubble…across my entire kitchen and behind the frig into my very small “mudroom,” with washer/dryer. What I have had is laminate over the house’s original vinyl. I called my insurance company, and their adjuster came out and did an estimate, and they sent me a check. I’ve had a hard time getting a flooring company to get over here, but finally the one that originally installed the laminate came today. They pulled up the laminate and said I am lucky; the water was trapped between the vinyl and laminate. The removed the laminate but left the old vinyl. And they said it just needs a couple of days to dry out. (I cannot see anything wet, but I’m only looking at vinyl… not underneath.) I still wonder whether the subflooring is damaged, because there are areas where the floor is lower in places. Should I get a contractor over to take another look and see if my subfloor is really okay? They flooring company was going to go ahead and order my new laminate. I’m just not sure this is going to work well, and I don’t want an uneven floor with brand new laminate on top. Thanks in advance for your advice.
Should I leave a space and transition piece at doorway between two rooms?
I’ve had a problem with the floor buckeling just at the doorway.
It looks to flow from one room to another but it seem to work.
In one of my bedrooms the laminate is flush against the wall in the corner for about 19″ and some in the closet on one wall. This room gets a lot of hot sun in the summer. The humidity can reach above 50% if the shower is used. Will this lack of required 1/4″ gap cause buckling or any other damage?
Samantha, unfortunately there is not a safe or efficient way to cut the laminate flooring when it is that close to the baseboard or doorjambs. The only way that you can fix your laminate is if you take it apart and cut the boards once they are removed from your floor. If you do not want to pay a contractor to repair the floor than you might be able to do the repair yourself. Laminate flooring is a great flooring choice because it is fairly easy to disassemble, make a repair, and reassemble once the repair is complete. I hope that this helps. Good luck. Fred
we have experienced buckling on our laminate floors and do not have the room to remove the laminate to cut on a jigsaw or table saw and got estimates for a flooring company to reapir that were too high for us to afford right now. What type of saw would be able to cut the laminate from around the baseboards and doorjams. Is there a special saw that would need to be purchased to do this? Thank you!
Bobby Boone, a T-Molding should be installed in any doorway that is less than 48″. The reason for that is it seperates each room into its own floating floor and that allows each individual room to expand, contract, and shift by itself without bothering the other floors in the home. Buckling of the floor can occur In some cases you could get away without putting a T-Molding in a doorway. If you are doing a small installation you would probably be fine going from room to room without a T-Molding. However if you have a medium to large installation and you are going from room to room through a standard doorway you should install a T-Molding in the doorway. Thank you for your question. Fred
we bought our laminated flooring from lowes it was installed by their contractor we experiances
bucking in a foyer like area where our living room ,two bed rooms open to same area the contractor came out and removed quarter round and cut more gap it did not go down completly but has gotten worse . they want to install a floor mold between the openings . my wife does not any thought.?
Robert, it sounds as if the previous installer did not leave the proper expansion gaps around your cabinets and it is now giving you problems with buckling. I would recommend that you start at the closest wall to your cabinets and actually take apart the floor up to your cabinets and then cut the boards so you will have a 1/4″ to 3/8″ expansion gap when you replace those planks by your cabinets. You can use a jigsaw or a table saw to make those cuts and it will be a lot safer to cut the boards when they are removed rather than try to jam a tool under your cabinets to try to cut out the gap. If you do not have the capability to accomplish this task then look for a certified laminate flooring installer in your area that would be able to fix this problem for you. If you have any other questions don’t hesitate to ask. Good luck Robert.
my floating floor is buckling around the kitchen cabinets, I pulled the quarter round off and found no gaps under the cabinets, in the same area as the buckling. what type of saw or service installer can fix this mistake. I purchased the home with knowing it was their,but at the price cant say no.what tool will get under cabinet to cut my gap. I tried a dremel no good! Any suggestions?
Thank you for your question. You can buy pool table coasters online. Simply put “pool table coaster” in search to get results. You can also buy them on Amazon.com – this is one of the vendors.
Good luck with coasters search and enjoy your pool table~
I just bought a pool table and have experienced the “super heavy objects ” problem you talk about. I can not seem to find these “special coasters” you recommend to use. Do you have a name of these coasters or can tell me where online I can see them or purchase them
I am sorry to hear that.
Try BBB listed laminate flooring installers. Here is the link where you can enter ” laminate flooring installers” and narrow your search to your zip code or city. Select installers with best BBB reputation. You can ask for references and call their customers.
Another good source to find good laminate floorig installers will be ANGIES list– this is reputable place to find out solid recommendations.
I fear my floor is buckling because of moisture from water spilled and not mopped up in time near my sofa. I have extra planks in storage.
How do I find a reputable person or company to do the repair work?
Transition from laminate flooring plank to plank should be smooth. If you can see some discrepancies it may be due to: uneven sub floor, double layer of underlayment if this area, dirt or dust trapped in locking system of one of the planks, unlocked locking system, water damage ( one or both planks will have “puffed up locking system” and they will not be able to fit together).
Should there be duifference where you can feel where the boards meet at the ends. What does that mean?