Home GuidesCare and Maintenance Guide Why Is My Laminate Floor Bubbling?

Why Is My Laminate Floor Bubbling?

by Bestlaminate
Published: Updated: 67 comments 5 minutes read

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

What is Bubbling?

Bubbling laminate flooring is an issue that occurs at the seams and edges of the planks due to water exposure. The surface decorative layer will appear to have bubbles underneath it. This is caused by water or other liquid seeping into the laminate flooring joints, where the locking system connects. This could be from a leak or excess water during cleaning that wasn’t properly mitigated. Damage like this can also be caused from too much humidity in the air.

Bubbling vs. Buckling

Bubbling and buckling are two of the most common issues when it comes to laminate flooring damage. Both are caused by water or moisture, but create different issues. Some people may notice their floor swelling and refer to this as bubbling, however, a swelled plank at the joints is most likely buckling due to moisture, causing a raised plank. Bubbling is the surface layer damage.

If a floor is buckling or swelling, the amount of moisture in the air is most likely too high. Manufacturers generally recommend that you install your laminate flooring in no more than 60% humidity and no less than 30% humidity. Keeping your humidity within these levels ensures your floor is protected from too much moisture in the air.

You will mostly notice movement with your laminate flooring during weather changes. In winter, there may be less humidity and in the summer, more. It’s important to regulate the moisture with proper ventilation, HVAC and dehumidifiers if there is an excess moisture issue!

Example of a bubbling laminate floor:

Bubbling laminate flooring

Example of a buckling laminate floor:

Buckled Laminate Flooring

Preventing Laminate Floor Bubbling

Preventing laminate flooring bubbling is pretty simple. You simply want to eliminate pooling water or moisture. You may commonly see this happening in water prone areas like foyers, kitchens and bathrooms. Be sure to clean up spills quickly, address any leaks immediately, and offer mats for shoes when entering the house. Keeping the humidity at 60% will also help support a stable floor without any issues.

How to Repair Bubbled Laminate Flooring

Depending on the extent of the bubbling, there are a few options. There is potential for the bubble to reduce in size after the plank dries. You may need to wait a few days for the moisture to be eliminated.

If the bubbling is small, you can attempt to use a sharp knife to pop the bubble and glue the decorative layer back down. You will need wood glue, a putty knife and a heavy object to place over top of the bubble to flatten it.

Lastly, you can re-install a new plank. This will be the most labor-intensive option, but the best for large bubbles and appearance as a whole. If you saved planks from your installation, you should be able to easily uninstall and re-install your current flooring. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Remove moldings to prepare to replace the flooring
  2. Uninstall the laminate up to the problem zone
  3. Add a new plank or planks to replace the damaged areas
  4. Reinstall the flooring, making sure to leave a larger expansion gap, around a 1/2 inch away from the wall

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

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Robert Early September 25, 2023 - 11:52 am

I am a new owner to an older “Pergo” laminate system.

Recently, 9/11/2093 to 918,2093 we had hurricane which sank some homes, but not ours. However, iear the end of the storm. as we walked across the flooring, it sounded like air bubbles moving back an forth in the subfloor. THe bulbs of air never popped but just moved like a “squishy” sound.

What can you guess is the problem (if water and not just air?)

And, of course, the solution to the bubble problem?

Rachel Vahcic October 3, 2023 - 11:48 am

Thanks for your question, Robert. We are sorry to hear about the unfortunate circumstances. This is likely water underneath your flooring causing these sounds. We would suggest removing the flooring from your home to allow the subfloor to fully dry out. Unfortunately, with water damage it is important to eliminate the water as soon as possible rather than trying to fix around it. We invite you to reach out to our customer service team as we would love to work out special pricing should you be in the market for new flooring.

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