Identifying Water Damage Problems Under Laminate Flooring
LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk flooring with Elizabeth in Minnesota. What can we do for you?
ELIZABETH: Hi. I just [want to find that] (ph) my floor – I’ve got a laminated floor in my family room which is like on the ground level. I don’t know. Before I had a [leakage of window] (ph) that the water does come in and we have got a barrier – it’s a vapor barrier – underneath the laminated floor but it swells up. And I don’t know how to do the correction for that? How do I get rid of the …?
TOM: Well you know, I think what’s happening here, Elizabeth, laminate floor does not swell by itself. I’ve seen laminate floor immersed in water and it doesn’t swell by itself. So what’s probably happening is the water got under the floor and the flooring has swelled. So basically you have a structural issue where the floor is actually swelled up above it.
Now, the only way to fix this is basically take apart the laminate floor and get to the subfloor that’s damaged here and correct that and then reinstall the laminate floor. It’s going to be a tricky job. If you – I wouldn’t even tackle it unless you had extra flooring material available because you’re going to end up probably destroying some in the process.
ELIZABETH: Right. So I’ve got to remove everything?
TOM: I think probably if you’re seeing a buckle, you’re probably seeing wood that’s damaged underneath. The subfloor is probably swollen. Because laminate floor by itself will not swell.
ELIZABETH: OK, because I’ve got a vapor barrier.
TOM: The vapor barrier is not going to protect water that’s coming through with a major leak getting into the subfloor. The vapor barrier is really an underlayment under the laminate. It helps it go down and lay evenly. But the vapor barrier is not going to stop leaks. And I think what’s happening is the water got under there and it got swollen and that’s why the floor is deformed.
Elizabeth, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.