One common problem that laminate floors develop over time is lifting. This is a problem that can cause damages and injuries if left unchecked. So how do you fix a lifting laminate floor? There are different methods to fix a lifting laminate floor and each method is based on the cause of the lifting.
If the lifting is caused by the lack of an expansion gap, you can fix it by removing the baseboard trims around the base of the wall to create more space for the laminate floor to adjust. You can also trim the planks to make them fit better in place.
However, if the lifting is caused by an uneven subfloor or improper floor application, then you’ll have to remove and reassemble the floor from scratch. Cracked, wrinkled, and wrapped planks should be replaced.
Why is Your Laminate Floor Lifting in The Middle?
Here are common reasons for laminate floor lifting in the middle:
1. Moisture Damage
The laminate floor will lift in the middle of the laminate planks are exposed to moisture for extended periods.
Though laminate floors are known to be water-resistant, the floor is not completely waterproof. The fiberboard core is dense meaning that it will easily absorb water through the seams of the floor. When the fiberboard is exposed to water, the laminate floor will expand so the fiberboard can accommodate water.
The floor will continue to expand based on moisture levels. Eventually, this expansion will cause the laminate floor to lift in the middle. Asides from lifting in the middle, the affected laminate planks will also become bouncy.
2. No Expansion Gap
Another reason for laminate floor lifting in the middle is the lack of an expansion gap while the floor was being installed.
While assembling laminate planks on a subfloor, it’s usually recommended to leave enough space about 10mm between the planks and the base of the wall and door frames. This gap is to give the laminate planks enough space to expand and stretch on the subfloor.
If you don’t leave enough expansion gap, then the laminate planks will crash against the walls putting pressure on the mid-board to lift from the surface. Mid laminate floor lifts are usually accompanied by small cracks, especially on the horizontal side of the laminate plank.
3. Incorrect Usage or Inferior Planks
If you use the laminate floor on the wrong type of subfloor, then the laminate planks may lift in the middle.
For instance, if you use a laminate floor in the bathroom, that’s a wrong application of the floor as the laminate planks will be heavily exposed to water causing the floor to become raised in the middle. Also, using inferior or poor-quality planks can cause lifting in the middle over time.
Now that you know the causes of a mid-lift on a laminate floor, let’s check out why laminate floors lift at the edges and sides.
Why is Your Laminate Floor Lifting at The Edges?
Here are common reasons for laminate floors lifting at the edges:
1. Improper Fixing of The Laminate Lock
Many people don’t know this but laminate planks have an interlocking mechanism at the side of the plank. Installing a laminate floor is like fixing a puzzle with the planks. Each plank has a slot and lock that fits into the other planks.
This is how the laminate floor manages to stay strong and durable on your subfloor. Now, if you don’t fix these locks properly while installing the laminate floor, the floor can become raised at the edges.
Improper fixing of the locks means that the locks on the sides of the laminate planks are not tight or locked in place. So when you walk over or put pressure on the laminate floor, the locks on the sides will open and cause the planks to lift.
2. Uneven Subfloor
An uneven, rough, or patchy subfloor can also cause a laminate floor to become raised at the edges and sides. The subfloor is the base or foundation that the laminate planks are arranged on. If the subfloor is rough, the laminate planks will not sit strongly and will eventually become raised at the edges.
3. Heavy Furniture
Placing heavy furniture and objects on your laminate floor can cause the floor to become raised at the edges. As the heavy furniture sits on the laminate floor, it will put tremendous pressure on the locks of the laminate flooring causing the locks to give way and open. This will cause the planks to become raised at the edges.
In this case, the lifted floor will also make squeaking sounds and you can also notice fiberboard cracks and dents from the furniture weight. Usually, you shouldn’t put furniture heavier than 500 pounds on a laminate floor.
So now that we know the several causes of laminate floor lifting, let’s move on to the fixes.
Can You Fix Lifting Laminate Floors Without Replacing Them?
You can fix lifting laminate floors without replacing the floor or planks as long as the laminate floor is still in good condition. In this case, a replacement is not needed as you just have to find why the laminate floor is lifting, address the problem, and reassemble the laminate floor.
However, if the laminate floor is damaged, wrapped, or wrinkled, you’ll need to replace it as this means that the affected planks are not sturdy enough to be on your floor.
Whether you need to replace a lifting laminate floor or not depends on the extent of damage to the laminate planks. Sometimes the lifting in the floor causes the planks to split, crack, warp, and break. This is more common with mid-lifts. Also, lifting laminate floors caused by water damage can even rot.
In cases where the laminate floor is showing any sign of damage, it’s best to replace the damaged plank as you don’t want a weak floor in your home.
However, if the laminate planks are still in good condition, you don’t have to replace the planks. You just need to find out what the problem is, for instance not enough expansion gap and then fix the laminate floor.
How To Fix a Lifting Laminate Floor?
There are different ways to fix a lifting laminate floor and the right fix for your floor depends on the cause of the lifting.
You can’t fix a lifting laminate floor caused by an expansion gap shortage the same way you’ll fix a lifting laminate floor caused by water damage. So the first step in fixing your lifting laminate floor is to find the cause of the lift.
- If the raised plank is whitish or wet, the lifting is caused by water damage
- If the laminate planks push against the walls, the cause of the lifting is the lack of an expansion gap between the planks
- If the laminate floor is raised in the middle, it’s most likely caused by an uneven subfloor
- If there are several lifted spots on the laminate floor, it’s usually due to poor fixing of the locks
When you have found the cause of the problem, then you can follow the fix that suits it below.
Fix a Lifting Laminate Floor Caused by Water Damage
To be sure that water damage is the cause, you’ll notice wet spots on the lifted laminate plank. To fix such a laminate floor, you need to remove the laminate planks one after the other. Then search for the cause of the leak and fix it by either replacing the damaged parts or by sealing the leak.
When this is done, you can install a waterproof underlayment on the subfloor before reinstalling the laminate planks. Ensure to pay attention to the locks on the sides of the planks while reinstalling the floor.
Fix a Lifting Laminate Floor Caused by The Lack of an Expansion Gap
If the lack of a gap is the cause of the problem, you’ll notice the laminate planks crashing against the bottom wall.
In this case, you’ll have to create an expansion gap for the laminate floor to adjust. Start by using a chisel to remove the baseboard trims on the bottom wall. If that doesn’t create enough space, you can use a power saw to trim the extended laminate planks to the perfect sizes.
For this fix, you don’t need to remove and reinstall the laminate floor because the problem will fix itself as long as you give it the gap it needs.
Fix a Lifting Laminate Floor Caused by Uneven Subfloor
If the rough texture of the subfloor is the problem, then you can fix the lifting by removing the entire floor. Then you’ll need to smoothen the subfloor either by sanding or any other method.
You can also apply a coat of a leveling compound on the subfloor to make the base of the laminate planks smoother, After the leveling compound is completely dry, you can reinstall the laminate planks.
Fix a Lifting Laminate Floor Caused by Heavy Furniture
The only fix to this case is to immediately remove the heavy furniture and hope the planks return to the correct level.
How To Prevent a Laminate Floor From Lifting?
Here are some expert tips to prevent your laminate floor from lifting either at the edges or the middle:
- Apply the floor correctly
- Always ensure that the subfloor is level and smooth before laying the laminate planks
- You should provide waterproof covering or a sealant on the laminate floor to stop water from raising the planks
- Leave expansion gaps while installing the laminate planks
- Ensure to use only quality laminate planks
- Always fix the laminate locks correctly. You’ll hear a click and lock sound when the laminate plank is well fixed
- Don’t put a furniture that is heavier than 500 pounds per square inch on the laminate floor
- Allow 3-5 days after installing the laminate floor for the floor to properly acclimate and adjust on the floor
In summary, laminate floor lifting is commonly caused by an uneven subfloor or incorrect arrangement of the laminate planks. So if you find out that the laminate floor in your home is lifting, you need to first find out the cause of the problem before going ahead with a fix.
Remember that lifting caused by lack of an expansion gap can be easily fixed by removing baseboard trims and trimming the laminate planks down to size. If the floor is damaged or wrapped, it’s best to go for a replacement.