Dealing with an unsightly floor due to your laminate floor lifting? Worried about the floor lifting being a safety hazard to your home’s occupants and whether you can fix it? Laminate floors can lift due to a number of factors, including unprofessional installation, an uneven subfloor, and moisture damage.
Separating or lifting the laminate floor due to acclimation issues, removing the baseboards can relieve the pressure. Gently tap boards back together and move along the floor patiently until the gaps are filled. Boards that have lifted and warped should be replaced.
In this blog, we’ll guide you through the reasons why laminate flooring may end up lifting up and how you can fix this problem.
Why is my Laminate Flooring Lifting up?
If your laminate planks are lifting, it could be due to any of the following reasons:
1. Uneven Sub-floor.
If you install laminate flooring on a sub-floor that’s not uniform, some of the planks will likely end up lifting over time. This happens as the house occupants continually walk on the surface, resulting in weight pressure that causes the floorboards to move and lift. As you would expect, the lifting happens in areas where the sub-floor is raised.
2. Moisture Damage.
Just like wood flooring, laminate surfaces are vulnerable to moisture damage. Water can come from beverage spills, kitchen and bathroom overflows, and damaged pipes due to poor installation of plumbing equipment. Moisture damage in laminate floors is even more common when the sub-floor is made out of concrete and has no underlayment, as concrete is a relatively porous construction material. As the water seeps into the laminate planks, they start swelling and end up lifting and drifting as a result.
3. No Expansion Gaps.
Usually, during installation of laminate flooring (or other similar types of flooring such as solid wood and engineered hardwood), narrow gaps are usually left at the edges to allow for swelling and shrinking of the planks as room temperatures and humidity fluctuate. If your laminate floorboards were installed without an expansion gap around the periphery, they’re more likely to end up lifting down the line.
4. Incorrect Application
The last thing you want to do is to install laminate floorboards in rooms where moisture damage is likely to occur- such as kitchens, bathrooms, and indoor pool rooms. What’s more, if your heating system is installed beneath your flooring, you may want to check in with your laminate floorboard supplier to ensure that their product is suitable for installation in such areas.
How do you fix laminate flooring that is lifting?
Here are ways to fix lifting laminate flooring depending on its causes;
1. Fixing Lifting Caused by an Uneven Sub-floor
To properly fix a laminate floor that’s lifting and warping, find out the actual cause to determine the proper restoration approach. For instance, if your floor is a floating laminate installation resting on a sub-floor that’s not level, you can correct the issue by implementing the procedure below:
- Simply lift the floorboards to get to the lifted section.
- Next, make sure you level the uneven subfloor. Concrete sub-floors can be leveled by grinding, abrading, or bead-blasting the surface. For solid hardwood sub-floors, however, you may need to call in the experts as the process involves complicated tasks such as the installation of shims and precision sanding.
- Once the sub-floor is level, install underlayment to level out any minor peaks and valleys that are still present on the sub-floor after the initial leveling.
- Next, lay the floorboards back in place using a tapping block and a mallet.
- Meanwhile, you should replace the damaged planks that were in the lifted section.
2. Fixing Lifting Caused by Moisture Damage.
Another common cause of lifting in laminate planks is moisture absorption. To be sure, you can check the floor and walls for signs of water leaks. Even better, you can call in a professional contractor to help you with the same.
After confirming that water damage is the issue, lift the floorboards to expose the sub-floor. Then, install underlayment to serve as a water barrier between the sub-floor and the laminate flooring.
If the laminate planks were installed in wet spaces such as kitchens and bathrooms, we recommend using a handheld rotary tool to apply a water-resistant adhesive. You can do this by using silicone caulk, like Gorilla 100 Percent and a syringe. Once done, you can use a colored wood patty to ensure the fixed part matches the color of your laminate floor surface.
3. Fixing Lifting Caused by Lack of an Expansion Gap
Finally, to fix lifting caused by lack of an expansion gap between the floor and the wall, you need to cut the planks at the edges to create the gap. After removing the wall molding, you can use a jigsaw or a spacer to cut the floorboards. The recommended size for laminate flooring expansion gaps is 0.25-inches. Finish off by replacing the molding.
Can laminate flooring be lifted and re-laid?
Yes- laminate flooring can be lifted and re-laid, but needs to be done carefully to avoid splitting the tongues and grooves. You may want to lift your laminate planks to repair sub-floor issues then reinstall them in the same position once you’re done. Or maybe, you may be looking to reinstall the planks in another room as you make home renovations. Either way, it can be done.
To properly lift laminate planks off the floor, it’s advisable to use a tapping block and a rubber mallet, instead of a hammer. The latter option is more likely to cause damage to your planks. After working on the sub-floor and installing underlay, you can then re-lay the laminate floorboards in the same room, or even use them in another room. Crucial tools you may need include an electric jigsaw, a chop saw, and a drill.
Ways to Prevent the Lifting
To prevent lifting in laminate flooring, ensure the initial installation is done correctly, preferably by qualified flooring professionals. A skilled and experienced laminate floor expert will ensure that the sub-floor is level, the expansion gap is wide enough, and that potential moisture issues are sorted out.
During installation, you also need to ensure that the end joints on your laminate floorboards are correctly staggered, thus improving the floor’s pressure absorption capabilities. Consequently, this will help to minimize the chances of curling/lifting due to pressure from furniture weight and foot traffic.