I want to install laminate tile in my bathrooms but I hate the tapping noise that you get when you walk on it. What is a good method for silencing this? Is it a good material for bathrooms?
Laminate floors are not always the best do-it-yourself flooring choice for a bathroom floor. This is because laminate flooring is made with a aluminum oxide finish, a paper sheet with an image of wood on it, and a compressed fiber board. This last component makes laminate a relatively poor choice for high moisture environments, as they can absorb moisture easily. So a shower curtain not pulled all the way or splashing kids in the tub can create a situation with standing water on the floor leading to possible damage to your laminate floor. There are, however, laminate floors where the medium density fiberboard is soaked with resin and that makes them more water resistant.
The clicking or tapping you report is an observation we've heard many times before. With this in mind, I reached out to expert Nate Poe of Lumber Liquidators. Nate has been a guest on our show before and really knows his stuff. Nate says there are several possible causes for this, but they all stem from installation.
First, laminate floors are required to be installed with a foam underlayment. If no foam was installed, or if the foam was inadequate, the sound you hear is most likely the laminate tapping on the floor underneath. Similarly, missing or inadequate padding can also cause the laminate joints to move and click, as they pull in and out of position.
In addition to the above, there is one other possible cause, also tied to installation. As you may know, laminate floors "float." In other words, they are not glued or otherwise secured to the floor below. However, they do require that a space be left between the floor and the adjoining walls to allow for expansion. If in your case the floor installation was a bit too tight, the floor may have swelled and lifted ever so slightly. If that's the case, as you walk on the floor, it might compress and "click" when it is stepped on.
Unfortunately, there's not a lot you can do about this after the floor is installed, however, you should know that this is mostly an annoyance and not likely to adversely affect the floor.
For this installation, there's a very good underlayment product you may want to consider called Quiet Walk. Quiet Walk offers excellent sound deadening qualities preventing the sometimes "hollow" sound that occurs when walking on a laminate floor and costs less than 50 cents per square foot.