Laminate flooring that feels bouncy or is lifting in areas is not only ugly, it can be a safety issue. From spilled water on the laminate floor to underlying moisture issues, resolving the issue quickly can save the entire expanse of flooring.
If you have a rising laminate flooring problem or planks that are lifting, buckling or separating, there are a few ways to find and fix the underlying issue.
Proper Acclimation to Decrease Lifting
Before the laminate planks are laid out in a pattern over the subfloor in your living space, they need to be acclimated. If the laminate flooring wasn't adequately acclimated before installation, this can cause gaps between each board, lifting around the edges or buckling along the entire area.
The laminate flooring should be left in the room where it is intended to be installed at least 24 and up to 72 hours in advance, according to Home Depot.
Expansion Gap for Installation
The expansion gap allows airflow to circulate among the laminate boards and cuts down on moisture finding its way between and underneath the individual planks. It allows for the natural swelling and shrinking that occurs with temperature and humidity changes in the room.
According to Lumber Liquidators, laminate flooring needs an expansion gap that is correlated to the thickness of the boards. Give a ½-inch expansion gap around the perimeter for laminate flooring that is ½ inch thick. Sturdy exterior foundation walls in particular need the gap because they aren't as conducive to expansion along the flooring as interior walls can be.
Humidity and Moisture
Laminate is durable, but it can't stand up to long exposures to moisture. Boards that are lifting near windows, entryways, vents or over pipes beneath the subfloor may be experiencing a high moisture or humidity level. Find the moisture source and resolve the issue before attempting to fix the faulty laminate planks.
When cleaning the laminate flooring, don't allow water or detergents to sit for too long on the surface. The water can seep into the joints and seams of the boards and cause them to warp, lift or separate.
Pets may also find that discreetly urinating on the boards can escape your attention. The buildup of the moisture of this favored pee-spot by your pet can become a big problem. Put down pee pads if you have found a spot that your pet prefers to use as an indoor potty. Give the entire floor a good once over daily to ensure that the pet hasn't moved on to drier areas.
Fixing Lifting Laminate
If the pet and moisture issue has been resolved and the lifting continues, then you may need to call in a professional. For flooring that is separating or lifting 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. A fresh, fault-free board can be locked and tapped into place.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.