How to Fix Laminate Floor Buckling? – (Step-by-Step Guide)

Out of the many home interior issues, floor buckling is one of the major problems one could face within no time.

You may wonder if you left the floor in a perfect state last night and as you wake up, you get to see a buckled or warped laminate floor. There could be so many reasons why your floor did this to you.

You may be anxious to find out how to fix laminate floor buckling. You have the curiosity to know the reason for this unwanted event but cannot figure it out.

Do not worry; here are a few reasons why your laminate floor started buckling.

You could get to the flashback to figure out where it all went wrong and try to avoid making those mistakes again.

Here are the reasons for the buckling and procedures on How to fix laminate floor buckling.

What Is Laminate Floor Buckling?

The laminate floor warping or buckling is actually the lifting up or splitting of the planks at a specific area on the floor. It is a situation where your floor appears uneven and unbalanced due to the elevated edges.

There could be any reason for this raise. The uplifting could pose a serious tripping threat to the people in the house.

The buckling should be fixed on first priority, as delaying it will cost you a lot of money in the long run. Moreover, it remains a serious tripping hazard to old age people, kids, and pets at home.

What is the Reason behind Laminate Floor Buckling or Why Do Laminate Floors Buckle?

Talk about the main reasons why laminate floors buckle, temperature fluctuations, and moisture are the two basic and major reasons for this buckling.

More often, there are explanations for why these two buckling reasons happen. Here they are:

1). You Failed to Clean the Spills on Time:

Though laminate flooring does have moisture-resistant properties, it doesn’t mean it is completely moisture-free.

Any kind of spills or liquids on a laminate floor should be cleaned at once to avoid letting the spills seep into the planks.

Leaving the spills on the floor for a long without prompt cleaning will result in your floor planks absorbing the moisture. In return, you will get a buckled or warped laminate floor.

So never ever, leave the spills on the laminate floor even for a short time. The results could be disastrous if you just let it go.

2). Inappropriate and Improper Cleaning Method:

Another reason why your laminate floor buckle is the wrong cleaning method adopted. Some people use a plentiful amount of water or a steam mop to clean the laminate floor, which is totally against the cleaning standards.

The use of water or a steam mop on the laminate floor will cause the floor to catch moisture within no time. The moisture reaches the core of the floor quickly causing the planks to lift, split, and buckle.

Therefore, do not use water or a mop to clean your laminate floor.

3). Failure to Create a Moisture Barrier:

You may be wondering why a moisture barrier is compulsory. That mostly happens in the case of concrete subfloors.

When you install the laminate flooring over a concrete surface, you must create a moisture barrier between the concrete surface and the laminate floor. You can use any of the moisture-removing materials in the market to do that.

If your laminate floor lacks the moisture barrier, you will be heading towards unexpected floor buckling which is also going to cost you many dollars.

So remember to lay the moisture barrier first before installing the laminate flooring on a concrete subfloor.

4). No Expansion Gaps:

As the laminate floor is a floating floor, therefore an expansion gap of at least ¼ inches is necessary at the edges. Laminate floor tends to contract during the winter and expands during the summer season.

To cater to this contacting and expansion, an expansion gap must be left at the time of floor installation to avoid warping or buckling.

You may be having your floor buckled because you have not left any expansion gap at the installation time.

Do not make this mistake again if you are planning to lay the laminate flooring in another room.

5). Wrong Floor Selection:

Not most people know about it but the laminated flooring is not suitable for every area in the house.

Especially for the rooms that are massively exposed to moisture like the Kitchen, Bathroom, or Mudroom; laminate flooring is not recommended at all.

As moisture is a nightmare for laminate flooring, it is best to avoid installing it in moisture-exposed rooms in the house.

You could save lots of money in this way.

6). Failed to Acclimatize the Floor:

Another reason why your laminate floor buckled is the non-familiarization of the floor with the moisture in the house. Alternatively, you can say you did not acclimatize your floor in the house.

In the case of a Vinyl or Hardwood floor, you need to acclimatize your flooring to let it adjust according to the temperature and moisture in the house.

The best practice is to leave the flooring material as it is at least 48 to 72 hours before installation in the specified room. In this way, your floor will get used to the in-house moisture and temperature.

How to Fix Laminate Floor Buckling?

Your beautiful laminate buckled so badly. Do not worry. You can fix your expensive flooring within no time through several ways.

However, different precautionary measures must be observed while fixing the buckled laminate floor.  You can adopt either one of these fixing methods depending on the type of damage your floor has.

1). Find Out the Main Reason for Moisture:

Before going for the fix, first, you have to find out if some sort of leakage is causing the buckling.

For example, if you have a floor buckling issue in the kitchen, you may need to ensure there are no leaked pipes or water leakage from the appliances.

In the case of a concrete subfloor, you must make sure you have laid a vapor barrier between the concrete surface and laminate flooring. Doing this will eliminate every chance of your floor getting moisture from underneath.

The third thing you have to look upon is the unattended spills. You may need to wipe off and clean the left spills to prevent the moisture from seeping into the core of the planks.

Once you have everything clear, now is the time to turn on your dehumidifiers. However, it does not have much effect on the warped or buckled floor but it does remove moisture quickly and efficiently.

To fix the buckled floor, you can apply any of the fixing methods explained below.

2). Replace the Buckled Part of the Laminate Floor:

You avoided the bigger damage and there is just a small part of the floor becoming a victim of the buckling, you need to replace the affected part to make sure your floor stays blended.

To replace the affected part, follow the steps below:

  • First, you need to remove the closest molding to the affected part of the floor that is to be replaced.
  • Next, you need to remove the tongue of each plank from the edge of the closest adjacent plank. After that, remove the segment of the flooring. Continue doing this until you reach the affected plank or planks. While on the way to reach the affected part, you should remove any planks that appear damaged to you.
  • Now is the time to replace the affected and damaged planks with planks from the new batch you have bought. Once you replace the plank, keep locking in proper arrangement to retain the former appearance.
  • You must take special care to leave the expansion gap to avoid buckling issues in the future.
  • Now use the wood block or hammer to tap the planks and make sure they are firmly set.
  • Now give the final touch to the repairs and replace the molding.

Apart from this method, you can also use a circular saw and tape to see off the affected plank.

However, this method requires a lot of time and accuracy. You may need to call a professional for an accurate and precise replacement.

For your ease in the future, we would recommend when you order the new batch of boards; order them in surplus quantity keeping in mind that you may need repairs again in the future. That would save you time.

3). Leave an Expansion Gap:

One of the reasons your laminate floor buckled could be the lack of an expansion gap. If that is the reason, you will need to provide an expansion gap.

If you have not left any expansion gap before, you can create an expansion gap by removing the molding, using spacers, and cutting out the part of the floor that is close to the walls.

While creating an expansion gap, keep in mind that the expansion gap should not be less than ¼ inches. That is the least recommended size for the expansion gap.

Once you are done creating the expansion gap, you may need to place the new molding as the previous one is not usable anymore.

How to Prevent/Stop Buckling in Laminate Floor?

Contrary to hardwood floors, the laminate floor cannot be smoothened. Even after the heaviest of water sustaining, the hardwood floors have the tendency to get back to their original state.

That is not the case with the laminated floors. Once damaged, the laminate floor does not retain its original state. Special care and precautions must be ensured to prevent worse conditions.

Here are a few preventive maintenance measures you can adopt to avoid laminate floor buckling.

1). Promptly Clean the Spills:

If your floor has any spills, they must be cleaned instantly to avoid moisture getting into the seams and underneath. You might need to vacuum the surface to make you drain out water as much as possible.

In this way, your floor will prevent the water and moisture from getting into the seams.

2). Regularly Check the Appliances and Plumbing:

In case you have installed the laminate flooring in your bathroom or kitchen, you might need to regularly check the plumbing of these areas and ensure they are in proper and perfect working condition.

The problematic spots like the Sinks, Heaters, and Toilets must be inspected and checked regularly to make sure there is no leakage.

Adding to that, the appliances in your kitchen must also be inspected regularly to ensure there is no leakage from any of them either.

Even the slightest of leakages are enough to pose a serious buckling hazard to your floor. Therefore, make sure none of them have any kind of leakage whatsoever.

3). Opt for Different Flooring Surface:

Compared to the hardwood floor, the laminate floor is better water-resistant. However, not completely waterproof.

It is better to avoid installing laminate floors in rooms where the probability of spills and leakages is higher. Go for the other flooring options like Vinyl Flooring to suit this kind of room in the house.

Vinyl Floor will not only provide a good waterproofing solution but will also add aesthetics increasing the beauty of areas like the Kitchen, Bathroom, or Mudroom.

In case you are opting to install the laminate floor in your kitchen, bathroom, or mudroom, you can use the Polyurethane Floor Sealant to seal off the seams.

Proper sealing will make your laminate floor prevent moisture and water from seeping through the seams.

Final Thoughts

Now you have a better understanding of How to fix laminate floor buckling and how to prevent your laminate floor from buckling.

We have also guided about the preventive measures to prevent warping or buckling of the laminate floor.

We hope our content may have assisted you in sorting out your floor-fixing issues. If any of our tips or suggestions have helped you, do let us know. We would be happy to hear that. Thanks!

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