We're here to help, and our fantastic Tech & Install team has delivered once again. This article explains some problems that may be experienced and how to fix them with laminat & floating floors.
Common Laminate and floating floor problems with corrections
Job site related
- Mold and mildew
- Expanding HDF
- Chipped corners
Peaking refers to a situation in which the laminate floor boards push up against each other and result in high points at the joints. There are a number of reasons why this can happen. The most common cause of peaking is a lack of expansion space between the laminate floor and the walls around the perimeter of the installation, or a lack of expansion space between the laminate floor and laminate moldings. This situation can be easily remedied. Simply follow the peaking board’s perpendicular to the wall or molding, remove the necessary molding- if against the wall, remove the baseboard and cutout a section or enough of the laminate board that meets the wall or molding that will give the floor more space to expand. (Diagram 1 & 2) The peaking will not however dissipate immediately, it maybe necessary to place a weighted object on the peaking areas for a period of time.
Another reason for peaking could be due to the fact that the moldings in the doorways or around the perimeter of the room have been fixed/nailed to the floor, thus preventing the floor from expanding. Remember that a laminate floor is a floating floor and must not be fixed to the sub floor or moldings at any point as this will not allow the floor to expand and contract, as these floors naturally do.
Peaking can also arise due to the fact that a continuous area of flooring is too long in one direction without a center “T” molding expansion joint to relieve the pressure. This will generally happen in areas where the floor runs for over 27’ foot in any direction – this number differs per manufacturer.
Buckling or warping is almost always as a result of moisture and/ or water damage. Laminate flooring is affected by water in a number of ways. High moisture content in the air can sometimes lead to buckling or warping. Excessive water on the surface of the floor can also lead to buckling or warping. For this reason, it is important never to wet mop a laminate floor. The most common cause of edge-warping or buckling is water or dampness rising from the subfloor in conjunction with the lack of a sufficient moisture barrier.
Buckling or warping can also be as a result of an inferior product construction. Laminate floor surfaces are laminated under extremely high pressure. For this reason, it is necessary to have a balancing layer on the bottom of the boards. This layer is made up of a rigid material that equalizes the pressure exerted form above.
Gapping is not common with laminate flooring. Gapping is a situation in which the laminate flooring boards tend to pull away from one another resulting in gaps between the boards. This situation will occur if the temperature drops to a point way below what is considered normal (60°-80°). For this reason, it is very important to acclimatize your flooring to the room temperature and conditions of the room in which the laminate is to be installed, before installation.
Mold and Mildew
Issues concerning mold and mildew are gaining increased attention from both residential and commercial property owners as well as the public at large. In virtually all situations if there is a mold issue, there is an excessive moisture issue. In order to prevent, control, or eradicate mold and mildew, one must first identify, evaluate, and eliminate the source of excessive moisture.
Prior to removing an existing flooring or installing a new floor or repairing an existing laminate floor, if there are visible indications of mold or mildew or the presence of a strong musty odor in the area where flooring is to be removed or installed, the source of the problem should be identified and corrected.
Expanding High Density Fiber Board (HDF)
The core (middle section) of a laminate floor plank is made from HDF. Most laminate cores however are treated with water repellent chemicals. If your flooring is water damaged, your only remedy is to replace the affected boards.
Excessive chipping on corners can be as a result of any of the following:
a) Wrong methods of installation used. Use care when using a tapping block and mallets to install floating floors. Often poor installation can result in marks, indentations and chipping.
b) Cleaning the floor with a vacuum cleaner-beater bar attachment.
c) Poor handling
Off register a manufacturing defect
Off register is a situation in which the flooring pattern on one flooring board does not match up the pattern on the connecting board. Manufacturers do allow for a variance. This situation however almost never occurs, and in the event it does, just replace with extra materials on hand.
Although very durable, it is normal to find minor scratches as result of daily wear and tear. Fortunately, this situation is easily remedied with the aid of a laminate floor repair kit, available at your local home centers. These kits may include acrylic or latex putty, wax pencils or crayons and are color coded to match the floor. Take a plank of flooring with you for color matching.
For more serious damage, it might be necessary to replace the damaged boards. The introduction of glueless laminate flooring has resulted in a floor that is both easy to install and repair. For this, you will need additional laminate flooring.
To replace boards that are situated close to walls or moldings, follow these steps:
1. Start by removing the baseboard or molding. Do this carefully so as not to damage the molding.
2. Remove the boards starting from the molding until the damaged board is accessible.
3. Replace the damaged board and then the rest of the boards you removed, by clicking them back in place.
4. Replace the molding.
The process of repairing a laminate floorboard closer to the center of the room is more detailed and time consuming. The process involves removing the damaged board utilizing a saw or router, then replacing the board utilizing a sufficient water resistant adhesive. Contact a professional installer or follow these steps.
1) Mark the damaged board 1-1/2” from ends and side. Drill 3/16” holes at corners of marked area.
2) Cut along lines between the drilled holes and remove the center section. Then cut remaining piece in the center on both sides and remove.
3) Prepare a replacement board by cutting and removing the factory tongue along the long and short end of the board. The figure below represents the two common types of locking systems available.
5) Make sure all edges are even on either side of the joints. Utilize a heavy object to apply pressure for at least 24 hours. Make sure the weight is evenly distributed across the new piece.
Prevention is better than cure. Place floor mats at door entrances in order to reduce the amount of sand tracked into the house. It is a good idea to place felt pads under furniture legs, as this will prevent scratching caused by dragging the furniture across the floor. Also, keep large pets' nails groomed.