When gaps begin to form in the otherwise smooth expanse of engineered wood flooring, the first thought may be that the entire floor needs to be replaced or large sections repaired. However, gaps in laminate flooring are a fairly common issue, particularly in certain areas that are more humid or dry. If laminate flooring is separating, it can be due to a few things and often fixed rather easily.
Properties of a Floating Floor
A floating laminate floor is not glued, nailed, stapled or otherwise secured to the subflooring. Instead, it is put together almost like a puzzle with planks snugly fitted together. Often, floating engineered wood floors are installed over existing tile, vinyl or another floor.
Floating engineered wood floors are designed to expand and contract as the weather warms and freezes throughout the year. Gaps can appear on a floating floor in areas where the HVAC duct runs just below the subfloor. This area tends to get drier and warmer than other places along the planks.
If you live in an area that suffers from high humidity or, to the other extreme, is dry and hot, then gaps tend to form as the weather changes.
Laminate Floor Peaking
On the other side of the spectrum is peaking, which is caused when boards are pushed up against each other. Build Direct notes that the most common reason laminate floorboards peak is due to a lack of expansion space between the moldings and the floor.
If the moldings around the edges of the room are fixed, nailed or glued, the floor can't expand. This can lead to peaking. An expanse of flooring that runs more than 27 feet in any direction without a center T molding expansion will also cause boards to peak.
Prepare the Floor for Fixing
The gaps naturally get filled with dust and the detritus from all the big and little feet that traipse across the floor day in and day out. Before you plan to fix the flooring, the gaps should be thoroughly cleaned out. A clean surface between the laminate floorboards will give the adhesive a better ability to adhere the plank to the floor beneath.
Floor Gap Fixer notes that a dirty floor can reduce the strength of the adhesive. Dust and other particles will muddle the adhesive and possibly cause it to buckle or loosen in the future.
Commercial Fixers for Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring gap repair kits come with all you need to solve the problem. These typically include an aluminum block with a sticky substance on the underside and a rubber mallet.
To fix the gaps in the laminate flooring, place the aluminum block with the sticky side down on the board end and over the gap. Use the rubber mallet to tap the board and close the gap. Move down the line of boards until all of the gaps are closed along that line of laminate planks.
A homemade floor gap fixer can do just as well. You will need a 4 x 4 piece of solid wood and a roll of double-sided sticky tape. Sand the 4 x 4 block with a 150-grit piece of sandpaper to help the tape stick to the piece of lumber.
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.