Laminate flooring is a popular choice for homeowners as a cost-effective way of creating a pristine and stylish look. It provides the natural appearance of wood and comes in various modern and classic color options. However, compared to hardwood floors, they are inferior in terms of overall durability and quality. Since laminate is made partly from wood, it can be susceptible to moisture damage caused by humidity and water exposure. Therefore, You must know how to repair it, as replacement is expensive.
To repair the swollen laminate flooring, first, you need to inspect the area for the source of moisture and stop it. Then You must dry the laminate floor and flatten it by removing any trapped air bubbles. Lastly, inspect the floor to cut gaps to see if a wooden floor has sufficient expansion gaps.
Each step is important for a perfect repair because if the swollen lamination is not attended immediately, you will need to replace it. And replacement of laminated is an expensive affair. Besides, each step has several techniques. So, keep reading for a better understanding of the causes behind laminate floor swelling and a detailed guide to repairing it.
What Is The Step By Step Guide To Repair Laminate Floors
Swelling caused by moisture in the floor will likely show itself in one of two ways:
- Laminate floor bubbles – When laminate floorboards are affected by moisture in the air – subfloor or surface – it causes swelling and creates bubbles.
- Laminate flooring swells – Larger surface areas affected by moisture will cause the floorboard to expand and create a hump-like shape.
In either case, there is a way to repair it without tearing it up altogether. However, you need to follow each step carefully for long-lasting results. Therefore, below is a detailed guide to solving the issue.
Step 1 – Inspect The Area
First, you must inspect the entire floor around and adjacent to the affected area to identify the following:
- The source of the moisture
- The extent of the damage (floors, walls, pipes, etc.)
- Any other areas that may show signs of water damage
If the source of the moisture is not evident at first, then there are a few other things you can consider checkings, such as leaking pipes, faulty appliances, and the humidity level in the room where the swelling occurred.
Step 2 – Stop The Source
There’s not much sense in repairing the affected area if there’s a good chance it will swell again. Therefore, the next step is to ensure that you have eliminated the source of the problem.
Suppose the cause behind the issue is a spill or standing water from a leaking appliance. In that case, It is significantly easier to resolve than a burst pipe running beneath the laminate board. Take extra care to clear out all standing water and run your vacuum cleaner over the gaps and crevices between the planks to draw out any excess liquid.
Before you start tearing up your floorboards and searching for a pipe leak, you must factor in if the swelling is due to the humidity level in the room. Wood naturally expands in warmer temperatures and could be the likely culprit of your problem. It may prove much easier and less expensive to try ventilating the room better or adjusting the temperature on your thermostat.
However, you need to monitor the issue over a few days to see if it improves. Once you’ve identified and stopped the moisture source, allow the entire area to dry completely before starting your repairs.
Step 3 – Dry The Laminate Floors
Next, you should dry the actual laminate boards and try to remove the moisture that has already soaked the wooden floors. If the affected area is relatively small, an easy way to do this is with a hairdryer. Apply the warm air directly to the affected area, and after a little while, you should notice it start to contract.
If the affected area is larger or in multiple spots, you can use a humidifier to get excess moisture out of the air and then start evaporating the moisture from the floorboard. Once you’ve allowed the humidifier to run for a period, you can test the area by stepping on the affected area lightly to test. It is what you’re looking for:
- Is any excess water or moisture coming up through the cracks or crevices between the boards?
- Can you hear the sound of moisture when you step on the affected area?
- Does the swell remain the same size when you step on it?
If you answer “Yes” to any of these questions, the floor has not fully dried yet and will likely swell again. Allow the humidifier to continue working, and consider adding aid such as turning up the heat on the thermostat a little.
Step 4 – Flatten The Surface
If you are experiencing a bubbling issue, you can start by piercing the air bubbles and releasing the air trapped within before flattening the surface. For smaller areas, anyone can do it by placing a heavy object on them, such as a chest of drawers. However, it’s best to use a small roller weighing no more than 100 pounds for larger surfaces and swells to flatten the entire surface evenly.
Step 5 – Check The Gaps
The final and often most overlooked step involves one last inspection of the floor once it is repaired and dry. This time, you’re looking at the gaps around the floor’s perimeter where the laminate boards meet the molding to ensure sufficient gaps to allow the floor to move naturally.
If there are insufficient expansion gaps, you may be required to cut new gaps, which could lead to buckling in the future and affect undamaged floorboards.
What Are The Reasons That Cause Laminate Floors To Swell?
Swelling is a general term used to describe when laminate floors rise and create an uneven surface, usually as a result of exposure to moisture. You must identify the reason behind swollen laminate floors and eliminate them. These are the most common reasons:
- Undetected moisture – Excessive moisture in the air and subfloors causes the floorboard (generally the edges) to rise.
- Direct water damage is the most common reason, resulting from the occasional spill or liquids being left on the surface for too long before removal.
- Installation – Poor construction and installation of the carpet can lead to a loss of integrity, which may cause it to buckle and bubble.
- Waterproofing – Poor moisture barriers, such as underlayment beneath the laminate floor, may allow moisture to seep into the floorboard, causing irreversible damage.
- Delamination – When the laminate base becomes compromised, it will begin to puff, causing minor swelling.
- Expansion joints – When laminate planks are installed in large sizes, air can often get trapped beneath them. Expansion joints and gaps between planks allow for the trapped air to escape. The laminate planks will swell if these gaps are not present or are too tight.
Tips For Maintaining Your Laminate Floors
Here are a few tips to improve the repair of swollen floor laminations.
- Sweep with the grain to remove more dirt from textured boards.
- Mats are a great way to pick up any additional moisture and dirt before they reach your floors.
- Use a vacuum to clean between gaps and around beveled edges.
- Soap-based products can dull the surface of laminate floors over time. Instead, make use of warm water and a good floor-cleaning product.
Laminate floors are a great way to give your home the same look and feel as hardwood floors for a fraction of the cost. However, due to their structure, they are typically less durable and much more likely to show signs of moisture build-up fairly easily in the form of bubbles and swelling. Repairing laminate floors successfully relies heavily on your ability to identify the source of the problem and deal with it effectively. Failure to do so will result in the problem reoccurring, compromising the floorboards and possibly making it extremely dangerous.