Laminate flooring is an inexpensive alternative to hardwood. It provides the natural appearance of wood with the durability of laminate. But laminate flooring has its drawbacks as well.
Since laminate is partly made with wood, it is susceptible to moisture damage, causing various problems. One of those problems is bubbling. Many homeowners complain of floor bubbling but don’t know what causes it or how to fix it. Apart from bubbling, laminate flooring is also prone to warping, dents and scratches. But proper maintenance and cleaning will ensure that you get the maximum utility from your laminate flooring.
The flooring installation experts of AA Floors Toronto have drafted this guide to help you understand laminate floor bubbling and how to treat it.
What Is Laminate Floor Bubbling?
Bubbling is the general term used to describe the condition where laminate planks rise up and develop bubbles. This can happen for various reasons:
- When laminate floorboards are affected by the moisture content in the air or subfloors, the edges rise from the subfloor.
- Another cause of bubbling or buckling is direct water damage. When excess water on the surface is not cleaned immediately or the floors are wiped with a wet mop, this can lead to bubbles.
- The absence of an effective moisture barrier can sometimes lead to this problem.
- Inferior product construction can lead to a change in the width of the laminates that leads to buckling and bubbling.
When you have a proper idea about the different reasons behind laminate floor bubbling, fixing it becomes easier. Moreover, when you can recognize the problem areas and causes, taking the preventive measures becomes simpler.
How Do You Fix Laminate Floor Bubbling?
Fixing laminate floor bubbling and preventing it at its earliest appearance is essential if you want your floor to last. The following are tips to fix and prevent the problem:
- Inspect the affected area and find out if only one board is bubbling or a specific part of the floor is damaged. If only one board is causing trouble, it might be because its layer has lost cohesion.
- Replace the wall molding first with a screwdriver or hammer and then remove the damaged board. If you have snap and lock flooring, simply lifting the affected board will be enough.
- Replace the bubbled board with a new one. Make sure that you get the matching board or else you’ll get an uneven looking floor.
- After replacing the damaged board, ensure that the floor is sealed to avoid moisture penetrating or direct water damage in the future.
- If you have glued-down laminate flooring, make sure to wipe off excess adhesive after installing the new board.
- When you have a snap and lock system, it is easier to replace and repair it. You simply remove the affected board, check the moisture level of the subfloor and check whether the locking system is firm enough.
- If a large area of the floor is showing bubbles, the reason is inferior product. In that case, replacing the existing floor with a high-quality laminate is recommended.
- If there are loose veneers, they can be fixed by first making them pliable. Place a moist cloth on the veneer and iron it so it becomes more pliable. Make sure it does not crack or get damaged in the process. Use a quality wood glue under the veneer and, using a clamp, press it down. Place cardboard in between the laminate surface and the clamp to prevent marring during the process.
- Minor bubbles can be fixed by “bursting” them. Place a damp cloth on the bubble and cut a slit on the bubbled area using a sharp knife. Squeeze wood glue into the slit you have opened and press the veneer down. Place a weight overnight so that it is entirely flattened.
- In case the bubbling occurs due to peaking, it can be somewhat flattened by placing a weight over it throughout the night. Peaking happens due to expansion, and so the edges need to be slightly trimmed to accommodate the board after the bubbling is flattened. You can also create the necessary space by removing the moulding around it.
A Few Common Questions About Laminate Flooring
1. Is laminate flooring high maintenance?
No, laminate flooring is not high maintenance and can be easily cleaned with simple cleaning techniques.
Mopping with a slightly damp cloth, blotting up spills instantaneously, sweeping and using suitable floor cleaners are the best ways to keep laminate clean. Avoid abrasive cleaners, steel wool, waxes and polishes to increase its longevity.
2. Where can we install laminate?
Laminate is versatile and can be installed in almost any room provided the humidity is moderate.
Since laminate flooring is a wood flooring product, it is best to avoid using it in the bathroom, basements and enclosed porches that may get wet or experience waterlogging. Laminate bubbling is a common problem when it is installed in an area with high humidity.
3. Can you install laminate flooring on radiant heating?
Yes, laminate can be used over radiant heating.
Look for any special installation instructions from the manufacturers. When shopping for laminate, it is best to consult with the store expert regarding about the radiant heating system you have.
How long does laminate flooring last?
Laminate flooring can last from 10-25 years depending on its quality and maintenance.
If you care enough to keep your laminate floor in good condition and take regular care and caution, it can last for as long as 20 years on average. However, the longevity depends largely on the grade and brand of the product which you should also take into consideration.
Does laminate flooring emit a hollow sound when you walk on it?
Laminates are thinner than solid wood and can emit a hollow sound depending on the installation method.
A proper underlayment that has sound-proofing characteristics, like cork, can eliminate this problem. This kind of underlayment also protects your laminate floorboards from underneath.
Laminate floor bubbling is a common problem in areas with high moisture levels. If you live in an area with a dry climate, make sure your floors do not come into direct contact with water or spills in order to prevent bubbling. When you have a thorough knowledge of how to fix laminate floor bubbling and the different attributes of this flooring material, choosing the best kind and making an informed decision becomes easier.