How to Fix Bubbles on Laminate Floors? (3 Methods)

As strong and durable as laminate floors are, the planks sometimes develop bubbles due to exposure to moisture and temperature changes. So how do you fix the bubbles on a laminate floor?

There are two ways to fix bubbles in a laminate floor. You can make a slice in each bubble causing the moisture and air in the wood to escape. Then you can apply wood glue or laminate floor wax on the spot to smoothen it.

After, place a bookshelf or desk on the spot to make it level with the rest of the laminate floor. This step works for minor cases of laminate floor bubbling. The second fix is to remove and replace the bubbling planks on the floor. This step works for extreme cases of laminate floor bubbling.

This post reveals more about the causes and fixes of laminate floor bubbling. So, let’s dive in.

Why is My Laminate Floor Bubbling?

Laminate floor bubbling refers to when some parts of your laminate floor begin to raise to the seams or top layer of the laminate flooring. The bubbling is more common at the edges of the laminate planks and the most common reason for this bubbling appearance is moisture.

When the laminate floor is exposed to constant moisture for extended periods, the water will begin to seep into the planks through the edges causing the fiberwood in that part to swell or pop up.

When you leave your laminate floor unprotected in high moisture areas like the bathroom and laundry room, the laminate planks will be exposed to constant water from splashes, cleaning, and spills. Eventually, the water will start to soak into the laminate planks starting from the ends and edges of the laminate plank.

When this happens, the fiberboard at the ends and edges of the planks will become waterlogged and swollen creating a soft and bubbling appearance. But water isn’t the only cause of bubbling on the laminate floor.

Here are other reasons for bubbling on a laminate floor:

1. Chemical Exposure

Exposing your laminate floor to harsh chemicals can cause the planks to swell and bubble up. The most usual cause of chemical exposure on the laminate floor is when you use the wrong cleaning solvent.

Sometimes, stains can be tough to clean off laminate floors without using a cleaning liquid. However, some cleaning liquids contain harsh chemicals like bleach and acids that can easily cause the laminate planks to bubble up or become raised.

If a chemical spill is the cause of the bubbling, the swollen parts on the laminate floor will also appear darker or discolored.

2. No Acclimation Gap

Another common reason for bubbling and swelling in laminate floors is the lack of an acclimation or expansion gap during the installation of the laminate floor.

While laying laminate planks, manufacturers always advise leaving small gaps between the laminate planks and the wall and door frames. The reason for this is that laminate floors usually move and expand on the floor, especially a few days after installation. The movement and expansion are how the laminate floor sets perfectly on the floor.

If you don’t leave enough expansion gap for the laminate planks, the planks will crash against the walls and each other while expanding on the floor. The intense crash can cause the boards to crack or split in several areas.

The split or opening will make it easy for air and water to get into the wood from the atmosphere, especially during cold and rainy weather causing the bubbles that you see.

3. Wet and Uneven Subfloor

The subfloor or base is the foundation that the laminate planks sit on. If the subfloor is wet, then water can get into the laminate planks from beneath the floor causing the laminate planks to raise to the seams or bubble up. Also, if the subfloor is uneven, it can cause certain areas of the laminate planks to become raised or swollen creating a bubbling appearance.

Will The Bubbles on Laminate Floor Disappear Over Time?

The bubbles in your laminate floor might disappear after a while but this only happens if the bubbling was caused by water damage.

When the water in the laminate plank dries up, the bubbles will lessen or become flat. However, you should know that even when the bubble disappears, it will leave a soft and wrinkled spot on the laminate floor. The only way to make the bubble disappear completely is to use wood glue and laminate floor wax to hide the spot.

Bubbles often disappear from laminate floors over time. This usually happens when the bubbles were caused by water spills or moisture damage. In this case, the puffed parts of the laminate floor are filled with water and air. So, when the water is evaporated from the wood, the bubbles will lessen and disappear.

However, the spot will still become obvious because there will be wrinkles where the bubbles used to be. The reason for this is that when the laminate plank became waterlogged, the wood was stretched to accommodate the water. So, when the water is evaporated and the wood becomes dry, it will appear wrinkled due to the expansion that it went through to accommodate water.

So technically, the bubbles disappear but leave behind wrinkles on your laminate floor. To remove the wrinkles, you need to use wood glue and laminate polish.

You should also know that if the bubbles were caused by any other reason but water damage such as improper prep of the subfloor or lack of acclimation gap, the bubbles will not disappear over time. This is because you have not addressed the cause of the bubbling.

Does Drying The Water Under Laminate Floor Fix Bubbles?

Drying the water under a laminate floor can fix the bubbles on the floor. But you should know that this will not happen immediately.

Instead, it will take a few days for the bubbles to completely flatten to the rest of the laminate floor. You should also know that this method will only work in cases where the bubbling or swelling was caused by a wet subfloor. If the bubbles were caused by any other reason, drying out the water under the floor might not fix the issue.

As explained earlier, the main cause of bubbles in the laminate floor is water and the most common source of water exposure to the laminate floor is from underneath the floor. For instance, if you apply the laminate planks on a wet subfloor, then bubbles will appear on the laminate floor later.

In this case, if you dry out the water underneath the laminate planks, the bubbles will disappear over time. This is because the laminate planks will no longer be exposed to moisture and after a few days, the water in the planks will get dry too.

However, if the bubbling was caused by other reasons such as uneven subfloor or lack or expansion gap, then drying the water can not work because water isn’t the cause of the bubbling. Next, let’s find out how to fix bubbles on a laminate floor.

How To Fix Bubbles on Laminate Flooring?

There are different ways to fix bubbles on a laminate floor. The method you’ll use depends on the cause of the bubbles and how bad the laminate planks have been damaged. Not to worry, this guide will show you the top 3 ways to easily fix bubbles in your laminate floor.

1. By Popping The Bubbles

The first method to fix bubbling in your laminate floor is to pop the bubbles. For this method, you’ll need to place a cloth or rag on the bubble and then puncture the bubble by slicing it with a sharp knife.

This will cause the moisture and air in the bubble to escape from the laminate floor. After, you’ll need to fill the spot with wood glue and smoothen it with a putty knife.

When the glue is dry and the laminate floor is smooth, you can apply laminate polish or wax to hide the spots. After, place a bookshelf, dresser, or desk on the affected spot to flatten it.

2. By Removing and Replacing The Floor

The second way to fix bubbles in your laminate floor is by removing the damaged or bubbled planks and replacing them with new planks from the same set.

This method is time-consuming and a bit difficult but the good news is the method works to fix all cases of bubbles. Also, this method allows you to inspect the subfloor and the baseboard around the laminate floor to know what the problem is, how to solve it, and avoid it later.

Here is a guide for this method:

  1. Inspect the floor to spot the damaged planks
  2. Use a laminate pull bar to lift and remove the damaged planks
  3. Check the subfloor and repair patches
  4. Leave the subfloor to dry completely
  5. Install a waterproof underlay on the floor to prevent water damage
  6. Apply little glue on the bottom of the laminate planks
  7. Lay the laminate planks on the waterproof underlay. Ensure to leave enough gap for acclimation of the laminate planks
  8. Tap the planks repeatedly with a rubber mallet so they stay strong on the subfloor.

3. By Creating Expansion Gaps

This method should only be used when the cause of the bubbling is the lack of an expansion gap on the floor. The first thing to do is to inspect the floor. If you notice that the laminate planks are pushing hard against the wall or door frame, that means that the planks don’t have enough space for movement. So you need to create an expansion gap.

Start by removing the baseboards and trims on the bottom walls. Next, use a power saw to trim the edges of the laminate floor to get rid of the long parts.

This will create a gap between the planks and the wall. Then use a rubber mallet to tap the planks to the floor. Leave the floor for a few days to expand before installing the baseboard trims.

Can You Repair Bubbles on Laminate Floor Without Replacing The Floor?

You can repair bubbles on a laminate floor without replacing the floor if the laminate planks are still in good condition. If the planks are just swollen and damp, then you can repair the bubbles by leaving the planks to dry. In this case, you don’t need to replace the laminate floor.

However, if the laminate planks have been discolored, wrinkled, or rotten, you need to replace the laminate planks to repair the bubbles. This is because in this case, the laminate planks have been damaged and need replacement.

To know if you need to replace the laminate floor, inspect the laminate planks. If the planks are still hard and strong, then you don’t need to replace the floor to fic the bubbles. You just need to fix the cause of the bubbles and leave the planks to dry.

However, if the laminate planks have been damaged or you notice several bubbles on the planks, it’s better to replace the floor because those planks are not strong enough to be on a floor. Leaving damaged laminate planks on your floor can cause injuries, mold growth, and gouges on the floor.

How To Prevent Bubbles on Laminate Flooring?

Here are expert tips to help you prevent bubbles on your laminate floor:

  1. Always use waterproof covering like floor mats and carpets on the laminate floor
  2. Do not install laminate planks in high moisture areas like bathrooms
  3. Always install a waterproof protective underlayment before laying the laminate planks
  4. Ensure to leave enough acclimation gap between the laminate planks and the walls while laying the floor
  5. You can use laminate floor glue while installing the floor to prevent water from seeping between and underneath the laminate floor
  6. Wipe and clean water spills immediately they occur
  7. Avoid chemicals on the laminate flooring
  8. You can use a protective sealant on the laminate flooring to make it waterproof.

Final Words

In summary, bubbling in laminate floors is usually caused by water damage and spills that you leave on the laminate floor without cleaning. You can fix these bubbles by letting the air and water out of the wood or by replacing the damaged planks.

You should know that if the bubbles have affected several parts of the laminate floor, it’s better to remove the entire floor and check what the problem is. After fixing the problem, you can install a waterproof underlay before rearranging the planks on the subfloor.

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