Repair a Laminate Floor: Buckles & Bubbles
LESLIE: Linda in Indiana has a question about a floor gone bad. What’s going on?
LINDA: My daughter just put some laminate flooring down, like a living room and dining room area together. And right in the center of the room it like bubbled where it locks …
LESLIE: It sort of buckles up?
LINDA: Yes. And it started with about a two-inch gap and now it’s about a foot, foot-and-a-half. You know, it’s getting worse; it’s not (audio gap). And how would you fix it? Do you have to rip the whole floor back up and start again?
TOM: Well, it sounds like there were a couple of pieces of laminate floor that didn’t quite get clicked together; didn’t quite get locked together properly.
LINDA: Well, they swear that it did but (chuckles) I don’t know.
TOM: Well, did you have this professionally installed?
TOM: OK, they did it themselves?
LINDA: (overlapping voices) We did it ourselves and this is like the fourth one that they have done.
LINDA: And this is the only floor that’s ever done it.
TOM: Well, it’s very unusual that there’s a manufacturing defect, I’ve got to tell you; because that stuff is just made by the mile and it all comes out very consistent. It’s hard to mess it up. If the tongue or the groove was damaged as the floor was being put together – for some reason it sounds like it didn’t quite lock in the middle and there’s no easy fix for this. You can disassemble the floor, assuming you didn’t glue it down.
LINDA: No, we haven’t done anything because I was …
TOM: Well, you can disassemble the pieces. They’ll come apart same as they went together and start again or you might just want to wait a little bit of time and see if it settles out. But if it seems to be buckling up like that, I suspect that you’ve got a section there – and it’s funny; it could be something as small as, you know, an extra piece of laminate material that got like sort of stuck in there when you were opening and closing the boxes. You know, sometimes you get those wood fibers that will pull off and get stuck in that and it doesn’t quite lock together.
LINDA: But the only way to fix it is to rip it back up?
TOM: There’s no way to fix it once it’s down like that, you know. Is it actually physically pushing up?
TOM: Mm, no. I mean – I’ll give you one thing you could try and you probably have nothing to lose. You could take a 2×4 that’s a little bit longer than the space between the ceiling and the floor …
TOM: … and wedge it in place and try to press it down.
TOM: And put some weight on it that way. Sometimes, when I’ve fixed floors that were buckled up that way and I had to get something in place to hold it while a glue was drying …
TOM: … I would take a piece of 2×4 and I would put a wood block between that and the ceiling and then I would press it into the floor and sort of tap in place so it had some downward pressure.
TOM: And that’s sort of a way to clamp a floor down in place. So you could give that a try and see if it straightens out; but if not, I’d just take it apart. I mean that’s the nice thing about laminate; it does come apart if there’s a problem.
LINDA: And then you just have to number it as you lay it back down so you don’t …
TOM: That’s right. That’s right. You know what? Get yourself a white – one of those dry erase markers …
LESLIE: Like a China marker.
TOM: … and number the panels.
LINDA: Alright. Well, thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.