How to Repair Buckled Laminate Floor

laminate flooring

We purchased our home this past winter in Northern NJ. Our den area has a floating laminate floor that looks like it was installed in the past 2-3 years and is in good shape. However, we just noticed that in one area of the den a couple of the boards are buckling upward, and have at least 1.5 inches of separation from the subfloor.  I’ve searched for solutions for a buckled laminate floor online. The two most common causes appear to be water damage or expansion of flooring improperly installed too tight to the exterior walls.  The floors have not been wet, so I suspect that the latter is the main cause.

What would you recommend to repair the buckled laminate floor? The area is actually closest to our fireplace and there appears to be some chipping at the edge of the floor at the fireplace.

The Money Pit Answer

Laminate floors are a durable and beautiful option. But, if improperly installed, buckling can definitely occur. It sounds like that's exactly the case in your home! Repair is difficult because you essentially have to disassemble the floor from the outside all the way in to that buckled section. Then, replace the buckle boards and install the rest of the floor.

If you have some extra material, this could be a possibility. Before you start, I would recommend numbering all the boards you have to take off. This way, you know the exact order and can easily reinstall them after the repair. You could use a whiteboard marker, lumber crayon, or even masking tape with numbers written on top.

Of course, when you rebuild the floor, you want to leave at least 1/4" to 1/2" of space between the laminate floor and the baseboard molding. Cover that gap with shoe molding, which should be just deep enough to do the trick. If that's the only place you're seeing the buckling, I wouldn't bother taking up the flooring in the rest of the room. But, for the flooring that you have to remove and replace, make sure you remove that gap so it won't recur. I hope that helps, and good luck with the rest of the project!