Laminate Flooring

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Blog, Floor Care, Laminate Flooring, Recommended Blog, Tips & Tricks, Water Damaged Floors

How to Fix Laminate Flooring That is Lifting [And Why It Happens]

Whether you’ve installed it yourself or hired a professional to do it, there’s nothing more disappointing than seeing lifting in your laminate flooring after it’s installed.

If you’re frustrated by lifting or buckling in your laminate floors and want your floors restored to their original beautiful condition, all you need is a bit of time, patience, and elbow grease to get it looking great again. 

Here, we’ll teach you how to fix laminate flooring that is lifting in just four easy steps. But first, let’s figure out the root cause.

Why is My Laminate Floor Lifting?

A lifted laminate floor isn’t a one-size-fits-all issue. There are several reasons why your laminate flooring may be lifting in certain areas, and the key to resolving the issue once and for all is recognizing the cause behind it. Once you can identify the weakness in the flooring, you can target it and ensure the problem doesn’t arise again.

From excess moisture to an uneven foundation, here are the main reasons your laminate floor may be lifting. Here are a few.

Underlying Moisture Problem

If there’s excess moisture within the subfloor or the concrete slab on which you’re laying the flooring, the laminate may not lay as flat as you’d like. If it’s more than 6-9% damp, you may need to use a dehumidifier or try to dry out the area before the floor can be laid.

A floor underlayment can avoid this issue, helping keep future problems at bay by protecting the new laminate from additional moisture underneath while also reducing noise.

Not Properly Installed

If laminate flooring is not laid down properly, such as the interlocking pieces not installed precisely, the flooring installed too tight against the wall, or the flooring not adequately acclimated, it may not have the final look you’re hoping for.

If interlocking pieces aren’t connected correctly, gaps can form between the planks, and it can look uneven. If it’s too tight against the wall, it can cause warping or buckling, especially when the indoor humidity or temperature change.

If the laminate isn’t acclimated to the internal temperature and humidity before being laid, it may shrink or grow once laid, causing lifting.

Uneven Subfloor

An uneven surface on the subfloor or concrete slab on which the floor is laid can cause bouncing or lifting. While a self-leveling compound may be able to level concrete slabs, a severely uneven subfloor may need a practiced contractor to fix the issue.

No Expansion Gaps

If no narrow gaps are left at the edges of the laminate pieces, there’s no extra space for swelling as the humidity fluctuates, which may lead to lifting as the seasons change. It’s imperative to leave this tiny bit of space between sections.

How to Fix Lifting Laminate Flooring

Learning how to fix a laminate floor that is lifting all boils down to understanding what’s causing the problem in the first place and using the right technique to target the cause.

If you’re dealing with an uneven subfloor, your solution will look different than if your problem is moisture damage, and so on.

First, ensure you know the source of your issues, and then find the right solution below.

1. Fixing an Uneven Subfloor

If you’ve installed your laminate flooring on a subfloor that is uneven or not level, you’ll want to level out your foundation before you can reinstall your flooring.

To do this, lift up the lifted sections from the floor. Look at the subfloor below it and inspect it to find lifted or depressed areas. Using a sanding machine or grinder, you can even out the surface. If you don’t have the equipment to do this, call your local flooring experts to handle the complicated task of precision sanding and reinstallation.

Before placing the laminate back down on the newly sanded surface, add underlayment to hide imperfections even more, and use a block and mallet to get the floorboards back in their proper places.

2. Fixing Moisture Damage

If your planks are absorbing excess moisture, they can swell and take up more room, thus lifting from the floor. First, find the source of the water. This could be a leak in the ceiling or wall, or it may simply be excess moisture in the home

A professional can help you locate the source of additional humidity if you can’t find it. Once that root issue is solved, you can remove the portions of the flooring that are lifted, add a moisture-resistant underlayment to prevent excess moisture from leaking in. A moisture meter test can confirm an acceptable moisture content.

3. Fixing Lack of an Expansion Gap

If you didn’t leave an expansion gap before, then you’re looking at the job of removing all your boards and cutting them to include an expansion gap of about ¼ inch. This can be a big undertaking, so calling professionals to handle this re-flooring job might be in your best interest.

4. Consider Getting New Flooring

Most of these solutions involve a great deal of work. While you might have the time or even the skill, it’s a great deal of work that requires close attention to detail and benefits from the years of experience and expertise of flooring specialists. You should consider calling GC Flooring and getting new flooring installed so you can avoid DIY mistakes and get beautiful flooring that lasts.

Contact the Experts

Now that you’ve learned how to fix laminate flooring that is lifting (and discovered that the trick is pinpointing the cause of the lifting in the first place), you can approach your flooring issue with objectivity and understanding. 

While you might be tempted to fix the problem on your own, sometimes, the job is more extensive than it seems, and you can benefit from finding a trusted and experienced local specialist to pinpoint your problem and eliminate it at the source.

GC Flooring can help you with your commercial or residential flooring needs and ensure the best results. Contact our team to learn more or get started today.

Subfloor in Frisco TX
About Floors, Blog, Laminate Flooring, Recommended Blog

Choosing subfloor for hardwood, tile and laminate floors

The subfloor is the base for your flooring. Having the right subfloor is just as important as choosing the right floor finish, even if it’s going to hardly ever see the light of day.
Vinyl, laminate or tile or even expensive hardwood – doesn’t matter which one you choose, without proper support their durability will be compromised and you’ll end up wasting your money.
Who wants that? Noone! Here is how to make sure your subfloor is the right choice for your desired flooring.

What is a subfloor?

Subfloor is the very bottom layer of the floor that sits directly on the joists. Once the floor is installed it, subfloor gets hidden underneath. Because it’s hard to reach position, making changes to a subfloor is quite an expensive and difficult endeavor. Most subfloors stay the way they were built during the construction of the house.
The most common subfloor is 1/2″ or 3/4″ A/C-graded plywood. A/C means that the boards are smooth on the top side and rough on the bottom.
Oriented-strand board (OSB) also known as flakeboard is an alternative subflooring material. As a composite material, it shares great similarities with plywood. A single sheet of OSB is made by sealing large flakes of wood together with phenolic resins.

Underlayment

Subfloor is not to be confused with underlayment. Underlayment is what comes between subfloor and flooring surface to guarantee your floor’s best performance and keep the moisture and noise away. While subfloor is typically standard and consistent throughout the entire home, the type of underlayment used can vary from room to room depending on what type of flooring is being installed.

Cement underlayment

Cement board is the underlayment to use when installing tile flooring. It sits on the plywood or concrete surface and holds the tiles together.
Foam and cork underlayment
Foam and cork padding is the most common underlayment for laminate floors. Laminate is a hard floor and can often feel uncomfortable under your feet. The padding underneath helps cushion your step.
Plywood underlayment
Plywood can also be used as underlayment. It adds strength and helps set the height of the finish floor. In this case, you’ll have two layers of plywood present, one a subfloor layer and one an underlayment layer.

Subfloor for hardwood flooring

If you are installing hardwood flooring plywood is the best subfloor for you. Any plywood ranging from 1/2″ to 3/4″ and rated A/C will serve both solid or engineered hardwood well. If you decide to upgrade your subfloor choose tongue and groove plywood. It’s easier to install and will minimize squeaks caused by walking.

Subfloor for laminate flooring

Laminate can also be installed on a plywood subfloor. However laminate is a fairly thin floor so adding thin plywood as a secondary subfloor is advised, especially if you are installing laminate flooring in an older house. Subfloors in older houses are often no thicker than ½’’ plywood, unlike the ¾’’ thick layers in newer buildings. Because laminate is so thin it can easily show imperfections. To protect your flooring from grooves and dents you should install an underlayment, best foam or cork padding to provide some give and help smooth out any imperfections of the subfloor.

Subfloor for tile flooring

The main danger to tile flooring is cracking. Old and infected joists can be a cause for fractures. Installing stable plywood subfloor will help prevent any movement that can lead to damage. Underlayment too should have no give and be strong to support the tile floor properly. Cement board can be installed directly on top of the plywood layer.

GC Flooring Pros
Blog, Floor Care, Laminate Flooring, Tips & Tricks

Floor care tips for laminate flooring

Laminate floors have a reputation for being difficult to mop.
However, contrary to what many say, once you have all the right tools and knowledge, cleaning your laminate flooring is a walk in the park.
To save you time and help your sanity here’s a handy guide to the do’s and don’t of laminate maintenance.

Don’t sweep your laminate floor

Yes, you got dirt and dust on your pretty laminate floor. No, you shouldn’t use a broom. Turns out, the traditional broom is by far not the best tool to clean your laminate floor. That would be a dry dust mop. Regular broom leaves particles behind that later get mixed with the wet mop and get tossed around leave streaks and residue all over the place. In the worst-case scenario, they might even scratch the laminate’s surface. If you prefer using a vacuum cleaner instead, make sure you have a hard floor setting selected. Just like the leftover particles, the brush roll setting on your vacuum cleaner can scratch and damage the laminate flooring over time.

Use less cleaner

Most tips on laminate floor maintenance focus on what kind of cleaner you use. Yes, it’s important that the chemicals you tidy with are compatible with your floor type. What’s a lot less discussed is the amount of cleaner you ought to apply to your floor.

Using more cleaner doesn’t equal a cleaner floor. Usually, it equals wasted money and a ruined floor. Too much cleaner leaves a residue after that dulls the finish of your laminate. Our tip? Sometimes just a little water goes a long way.