Laminate floors are popular in homes, but they don’t last forever – and if you’re seeing bubbles appearing on your laminate floors, you might be puzzled and concerned. Why would floors do this? It’s important to figure out what’s going on so you can prevent it from getting worse, and possibly fix the damage that has already occurred.
It’s frustrating when your floor starts bubbling, and this can happen even with brand new laminate flooring. If you aren’t sure why this is occurring or what to do about it, don’t worry, because there are some solutions.
Why is my laminate floor bubbling? Laminate flooring often bubbles because of moisture getting into the planks and causing them to swell and shift. Sometimes, laminate flooring bubbles because you have used the wrong cleaning products on it, or because there isn’t a sufficient expansion gap between the planks and the walls.
What Makes Laminate Floors Bubble?
The most common cause of bubbling in laminate flooring is moisture damage. This can come from a variety of sources, including from the subfloor, and it’s a major issue that you will need to address if you are going to stop the bubbling from occurring. Bubbling can also be caused if you put an unsuitable product on the floor to clean it.
The first thing to do if you see bubbles is to look for any source of moisture. See whether something has been spilled or splashed on the floor, and check how humid the room is. If you have laminate flooring in a shower room, for example, the steam from the shower could be causing the bubbling. In some countries, the ambient humidity may be a problem.
If you can’t see any moisture sources, you should check whether your cleaning products are suitable for use on laminate flooring, and whether you are using them correctly. If you are using too much or too often, there’s a risk that the product will cause the laminate to bubble in places.
Sometimes, the problem will lie in the installation of the floor. An expansion gap must be left between the walls and the planks, and between any other fixtures like stairs or cabinets and the planks. If this gap is too small, there’s a risk that the boards will push against each other hard when they expand in warm weather, and this can cause bubbling.
Finally, you must make sure that the subfloor is dry and that a suitable vapor barrier has been installed before the laminate is laid. If you lay laminate over a damp subfloor or you neglect the vapor barrier, there’s a high chance that the laminate will warp and bubble.
What Can You Do About Bubbling?
Bubbling looks unsightly, but it can sometimes be fixed. The best quick-fix option involves using a sharp knife to cut a slit through each bubble, and then using glue to stick the surface of the laminate back down. Push the surface down firmly, squeezing out any air, and remove excess glue to prevent it from staining.
This is not a perfect fix, but it will remove unsightly and obvious bubbles. However, if the floor has a lot of bubbles, you may need to strip it up and start again. If only one or two planks have bubbled, consider replacing these – but bear in mind that you will need to take up the interlocking planks in order to reach them.
If an expansion gap has not been left, you will need to resolve this, or the bubbling will reappear. Remove the molding and make sure that there is a gap of around a quarter of an inch. Larger laminate floors will need a larger gap, because they will expand more when the weather is warm. It is usually best to get a professional to do this job for you.
Repairing laminate flooring that has bubbled is possible, but you will need to address the cause of the bubbling, or the new planks will simply bubble again.
Can You Stop Laminate Floors from Bubbling?
Laminate floors should not bubble if they are kept dry and they have sufficient room to expand. It is important to get professionals to install the floor, or to make sure you understand exactly what is needed before starting if you wish to install it yourself. Improper installation is very likely to cause the floor to crease and bubble.
You should also make efforts to keep your laminate floor as dry as possible. This may mean using a dehumidifier during certain times of the year or after taking a shower. It certainly means being prompt about cleaning up spills and making sure the floor stays dry.
Don’t leave water standing on your laminate floor for any reason. If water gets spilled on the floor, clean it and dry it immediately. If there was a lot of water, consider using a hairdryer or a dehumidifier on the area to draw the moisture out of the boards and dry them before they have a chance to warp.
Avoid mopping the laminate floor with much water. A squeezed-out mop should be okay for wiping the floor down, but a wet mop will cause water damage and result in swelling.
You should also avoid using a steam cleaner on your laminate floors. It might be tempting, because steam cleaners kill so many germs, but they can inject steam into the laminate’s finish, making it wet and causing it to swell up. This will result in bubbling.
Finally, make sure that any cleaning products you use are suitable for laminate flooring. Always check the manufacturer’s directions or research the cleaning product online before putting it on your floors. Strong chemicals may damage the surface of the laminate and cause it to buckle and warp.
Laminate flooring will usually bubble when it gets wet, so moisture damage is the first thing you should look out for if your floor is bubbling. This may be coming from beneath the floor if no vapor barrier has been installed. You can also check the expansion gap and make sure your cleaning chemicals are suitable.