Laminate flooring is a popular choice for homeowners due to its durability and low maintenance requirements. However, even the most high-quality laminate flooring can experience issues over time, one of which is lifting.
Laminate floor lifting occurs when the flooring becomes detached from the subfloor or the adhesive used to hold it in place begins to weaken. Fortunately, there are several ways to fix laminate flooring that is lifting.
This article will explore different issues about laminate floors in detail and provide a step-by-step process on how to fix laminate flooring that is lifting.
Why is My Laminate Floor Lifting?
There are several reasons why a laminate floor may be lifting. Understanding the cause of the problem is essential to fix it effectively.
The most common issues that cause laminate floor lifting are:
Moisture: Exposure to water or high humidity can cause the adhesive used to hold the laminate flooring in place to weaken, leading to lifting. If your laminate floor is in a room with a lot of moisture or humid environment, such as a bathroom or kitchen, it could cause a problem. Additionally, if the subfloor is not sealed correctly, water can seep into the subfloor and cause the adhesive to weaken and cause lifting.
Subfloor issues: If the subfloor is not level or is made of inappropriate material, it can cause the laminate flooring to lift. Laminate flooring requires a smooth, level, and solid surface to adhere to properly. If the subfloor is not in good condition, the laminate flooring will not be able to adhere correctly, leading to lifting. Additionally, suppose the subfloor is made of inappropriate material, such as concrete; it may not be able to expand and contract with temperature changes, which will lead to lifting.
Improper installation: If the laminate flooring is not installed correctly, such as not allowing enough expansion space around the perimeter, it can cause lifting over time. Laminate flooring needs to be able to expand and contract with temperature changes. If there is not enough space around the perimeter, the flooring will be unable to do so, leading to lifting. Additionally, your laminate floor will lift if the planks are inadequately locked together, or the adhesive is applied incorrectly.
Foot traffic: Excessive foot traffic over time can cause the laminate flooring to loosen and lift. High traffic is common in areas such as hallways and entryways. The constant wear and tear cause the adhesive to weaken, leading to lifting.
Age and wear: Over time, the laminate planks, locking mechanism, and adhesive may lose their tightness, performance, and effectiveness due to their age. You might notice some lifting or separation due to wear and tear after some time, even if the floor was correctly installed.
How to fix laminate flooring that is lifting
Before attempting to fix a laminate floor that is lifting, it is essential to identify the cause of the problem. If the problem is caused by moisture, it will be vital to address and resolve the source of the humidity, such as fixing a leaky roof or ensuring that a room is adequately ventilated. If the subfloor is the problem, it will be necessary to repair or replace it.
Here is a step-by-step instructions on how to fix lifting laminate flooring:
- Laminate floor repair kit (if available)
- Construction adhesive or wood glue
- Putty knife
- A heavy object
Steps to follow when fixing a lifted laminate floor
- Prepare the area: Before you begin, clear the room of any furniture and rugs. Sweep or vacuum the floor to remove any dirt or debris. Identify the section of the floor that is lifting and mark it with a pencil or piece of tape.
- Determine the cause of the lifting: Before making any repairs, it’s crucial to determine the cause. If the problem is caused by moisture or high humidity, you’ll need to address that issue first before making any repairs. It is also essential to check if the subfloor is level or needs any repairs to avoid the problem recurring.
- Purchase a laminate floor repair kit: These kits are specifically designed for repairing laminate flooring. They typically come with adhesive and a putty knife. You can find these kits at most home improvement stores.
- Apply the adhesive: Use the putty knife to apply a small amount of adhesive to the lifting section of the floor. Press the laminate back into place, ensuring it’s level with the surrounding flooring.
- Weight it down: Place a heavy object, such as a stack of books or a bucket of water, on the lifting section of the floor to hold it in place while the adhesive dries. The weight will help to keep the laminate in place as the glue dries.
- Allow the adhesive to dry: It will take 24 to 48 hours to dry completely. Avoid walking on the floor or moving furniture on the repaired section until the glue is fully dry.
- Use construction adhesive or wood glue as an alternative: If you don’t have access to a laminate floor repair kit, you can use construction adhesive or wood glue to fix the lifting section. Apply a small amount of adhesive to the lifting area of the floor, press the laminate back into place, and then weigh it down with a heavy object until the adhesive dries.
- Clamp it down: If the lifting is small enough, you can use a C-clamp to clamp the lifted section back down while the adhesive dries.
- Clean up: After the adhesive is dry, remove the weight and sweep or vacuum the floor to remove any excess glue or debris. You can now place your furniture and rugs back in the room.
It is important to remember that if the cause of lifting is not addressed, the problem might recur. Also, if the lifting is widespread or you have doubts about how to fix it, you should contact a professional flooring contractor for help.
Sometimes, the best and most permanent solution may be removing and replacing the affected area or the entire floor. This decision must be based on the cause and extent of the problem.
How to tell if your Laminate Floor has water damage
Water damage is one of the most common issues you will face as a homeowner with your laminate flooring. The laminate is made of wood by-products and resin, which makes it susceptible to water damage. If left untreated, water damage can cause your laminate flooring to warp, buckle, and even become structurally unsound.
The following are signs of water damage in your laminate flooring.
Discoloration and warping
One of the most obvious signs of water damage in laminate flooring has discoloration or distortion of the planks. If the laminate appears to be darker or has a distinct bend or curl, it is likely that water has seeped into the material and caused damage. This discoloration is usually uniform and is caused by the swelling of the wood fibers.
Buckling and lifting
Another sign of water damage is buckling or lifting of the flooring. Buckling occurs when there is too much moisture trapped beneath the laminate planks. When this happens, the planks can begin to pull away from one another and cause the floor to appear uneven.
Mildew or musty odor
One of the less obvious signs of water damage is a musty or mildew-like odor in the room. A musty odor is caused by the growth of mold and mildew in the subfloor or under the laminate flooring. If you notice a distinct musty smell in the room, there is likely water damage to the flooring.
Another sign of water damage is staining on the laminate flooring. Staining can be caused by water seeping into the planks and leaving behind discoloration. These stains can appear in various colors and can be caused by different types of water, such as clean water, grey water, or black water.
Swelling or bubbling
Another sign of water damage is swelling in the laminate flooring. Bubbling is caused by water seeping between the planks and causing them to warp or bend. The result is that planks may appear to have bubbles on the surface, indicating that the laminate is not securely attached to the subfloor.
Loose or detached moldings
If the moldings or baseboards around the perimeter of the flooring are loose or disconnected, it could indicate water damage. Water can seep into these areas and cause the adhesive that holds the moldings in place to weaken, resulting in detachment.
How do you get rid of water swelling on laminate flooring?
When water seeps into the laminate planks, it can cause the wood fibers to swell, resulting in the flooring becoming buckled and distorted. Follow the following steps to get rid of water swelling on laminate flooring.
Step 1: Identify the source of the water
The first step in getting rid of water swelling on laminate flooring is to identify the source of the water. Water leaks can be caused by various factors, such as a leaky pipe, an overflowing sink, or even heavy rain or flood. Check all the potential water sources, like appliances, pipes, bathrooms, and other areas prone to water. Once you have identified the source of the water, you can take steps to stop it from happening again.
Step 2: Dry out the area
Once you have identified the water source, it’s essential to dry out the area as quickly as possible. Use fans and dehumidifiers to dry out the subfloor and surrounding areas. It will help to prevent further damage to the laminate flooring. Make sure to dry out the area thoroughly, as even a tiny amount of water can cause swelling in the laminate.
Step 3: Remove the affected planks
The next step is to remove the affected planks. Use a pry bar to carefully remove the planks, taking care not to damage the surrounding planks. A pry bar is the best tool to remove the planks as it will allow you to remove the affected planks with precision, minimizing the chances of damaging the surrounding planks. Once the affected planks have been removed, you can inspect the subfloor for any damage.
Step 4: Repair or replace the subfloor
If the subfloor is damaged, it will need to be repaired or replaced. If the damage is minor, such as a few warped or swollen boards, you may be able to restore it using construction adhesive. However, if the damage is more extensive, it may be necessary to replace the subfloor entirely. It’s essential to fix any issues with the subfloor, as leaving them unrepaired will also cause the new planks to be damaged.
Step 5: Replace the planks
Once the subfloor has been repaired or replaced, it’s time to replace the planks. Carefully measure the space and cut new planks to size. Make sure you are getting the exact match for the existing planks in size, color, and pattern. Use a high-quality adhesive to attach the new planks to the subfloor. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best result.
Step 6: Install the new planks
Once the new planks are cut to size, you can install them in place of the removed planks. Make sure they fit snugly together and are securely attached to the subfloor. Use a rubber mallet to tap the planks in place gently. It will ensure that the planks are correctly sealed and that there are no gaps between them.
Step 7: Take preventive measures
To avoid water swelling on laminate flooring in the future, it is important taking preventive measures. Keep a close eye on potential water sources, such as leaky pipes or appliances, and take care of any issues. You can also use waterproof underlayment to protect your laminate flooring from water damage.
What is the best product to clean laminate floors?
The best product to clean laminate floors depends on the type of stain and the flooring condition. However, some cleaning products are generally considered safe for laminate floors. These cleaning products include:
Warm water: One of the simplest and most effective ways to clean laminate floors is to use warm water. Dampen a mop or cloth in warm water and use it to clean the floor. Avoid using too much water, as it can seep into the seams of the laminate and cause damage.
Vinegar: A solution of equal parts water and white vinegar can clean laminate floors. The vinegar’s acidity helps break down dirt and grime without leaving streaks or residue.
Cleaning products specifically formulated for laminate flooring: There are also cleaning products specifically formulated for laminate flooring. These products are designed to clean the floors without leaving any streaks or residue. Look for pH-neutral products, free of waxes, oils, and abrasives, and with a light, fresh fragrance.
Microfiber Mops: Microfiber mops are a great way to clean laminate floors because they pick up dirt and debris while also lifting dirt off the surface of the laminate.
It’s essential to always read the label before using any cleaning product and ensure that it is safe for laminate flooring. Test the product on a small, inconspicuous area of the floor first to ensure that it does not damage or discolor the laminate. Avoid using abrasive tools such as steel wool, sandpaper, or harsh chemicals like acetone or paint thinner, as they may scratch or discolor the laminate.
A video illustrating the various problems associated with laminate flooring including lifting, buckling and how to fix them.
Frequently Asked Questions- FAQs
Q1. What happens if water gets under laminate flooring?
If water gets under laminate flooring, it can cause various problems. Here are some of the most common issues that can occur:
Swelling: When water seeps into the laminate planks, it can cause the wood fibers to swell, resulting in the flooring becoming buckled and distorted.
Warping: Warping is a common issue when water gets under laminate flooring. Warping occurs when the laminate planks absorb moisture, causing them to bend and twist. Warping makes the flooring appear uneven and causes the planks to separate.
Discoloration: Water can also cause discoloration on the laminate flooring. The water can cause the flooring to become darker, giving it an unsightly appearance.
Mold and mildew growth: Water under laminate flooring can also lead to mold and mildew, causing a musty odor that might harm your health.
Rotting of the subfloor: If the water is not addressed and the subfloor becomes saturated, it can cause it to rot, making the flooring unstable and unsafe to walk on.
Q2. Will water-damaged laminate dry out?
Water-damaged laminate can dry out, but it depends on the extent of the damage and how quickly the water is removed. If the damage is minor and the water is cleaned quickly, the laminate can dry out and return to its original shape. However, if the damage is severe, the water needs to be cleaned up promptly, or the laminate may not fully dry out and require replacement.
If water is left for prolonged periods, it can soak into the adhesive holding the planks together and into the subfloor. When the subfloor absorbs the water, it causes rot and loss of structural integrity.
Q3. How long does laminate flooring last?
The lifespan of laminate flooring varies depending on the quality of the product, the level of foot traffic it receives, and how well it is maintained. On average, laminate flooring can last anywhere from 10 to 25 years.
Higher-quality laminate flooring with thicker wear layers and better construction can last closer to 25 years. While lower-quality laminate flooring with thinner wear layers and poorer construction may only last ten years or less.
Proper maintenance is essential to extend the lifespan of laminate flooring. It includes regular cleaning, avoiding abrasive cleaning products, and not letting water sit on the floor for extended periods. Additionally, it’s crucial to use door mats and rugs to help prevent dirt and grit from being tracked onto the laminate flooring and protect it from heavy foot traffic.
It’s worth noting that heavy foot traffic and high-heel traffic can also decrease the lifespan of laminate flooring. If a laminate floor is installed in an area of the house that receives a lot of foot traffic, it may not last as long as it would in a less-used room.
Q4. Can I mop laminate floors?
Yes, you can mop laminate floors. However, using the correct cleaning method is essential to avoid damaging the flooring. Here are some tips for mopping laminate floors:
Use a damp mop: A wet mop is the best way to clean laminate floors. Avoid using too much water, as it can seep into the seams of the laminate and cause damage. Use a barely damp mop and wring it out well.
Use a cleaning solution formulated explicitly for laminate flooring: There are also cleaning products specifically formulated for laminate flooring. These products are designed to clean the floors without leaving any streaks or residue. Always read the label and ensure that your product is safe on laminate flooring.
Avoid abrasive cleaning tools: Scrubbers and steel wool should be avoided as they can scratch the surface of laminate floors. A microfiber mop is a great way to clean laminate floors because they pick up dirt and debris while also lifting dirt off the surface of the laminate.
Dry mop after mopping: After using a damp mop, go over the floor with a dry mop or towel to remove any remaining moisture. Dry moping will help prevent the formation of water spots and ensure that your floor dries quickly.
Please don’t soak the laminate: Be careful not to over-wet the laminate flooring, as it can cause the planks to warp, buckle, or become structurally unsound. Avoid having standing water on the surface of the laminate.
Q5. Can I use vinegar on laminate floors?
Yes. You can use vinegar to clean laminate floors, but it’s essential to use it in the right concentration. Use a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar to clean laminate floors. The vinegar’s acidity helps break down dirt and grime without leaving streaks or residue. However, diluting the vinegar with water is vital to avoid damaging the laminate flooring.
It’s also worth noting that vinegar may not be suitable for laminate flooring with a wax or oil finish as it can strip the finish of the flooring. Before using vinegar on any flooring, it is best to consult the manufacturer’s recommendations.
When cleaning with a vinegar and water solution, use a damp mop, wring it out well, mop the floor and dry it with a microfiber towel or mop after the mopping process. Doing so will prevent water from being trapped between the planks and causing damage to the subfloor.
Alternatively, you can use a cleaning product specifically formulated for laminate flooring. These products are designed to clean the floors without leaving any streaks or residue and without the risk of discoloration or damage.
In conclusion, fixing a lifting laminate floor is a relatively straightforward process that most homeowners can do with a few basic tools and patience. It involves identifying the cause, removing the affected planks, cleaning and preparing the subfloor, and reinstalling them with adhesive.
Following these steps, homeowners can successfully fix their lifting laminate floor and enjoy a smooth and stable surface.