How to Repair Swollen Laminate Flooring | Learn the Causes and Fix the Bulges and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Most homeowners prefer laminate to other kinds of flooring. They are attractive, durable, affordable, and most importantly, can withstand little moisture. Moreover, it’s easy to install laminate flooring and maintain.

However, a laminate floor is resistant to too much water or moisture. Wetness causes laminate boards to swell and buckle if you notice bubbles on your laminate flooring, indicating excess water under the laminate planks and requiring immediate attention.

So, how do you repair swollen laminate flooring? Read on to understand how to repair swollen laminate flooring and maintain this precious floor.

Let’s dive in.

closeup of spilled water on laminate floor

What Contributes to Swollen Laminate Flooring?

To better understand how to repair swollen laminate flooring, you need to know the various causes of the bulging.

1.     Excess Moisture

Although laminate flooring tolerates some moisture levels, high humidity can damage your laminate floor. Excess moisture can result in bulking, bubbling, and eventually damage your planks. Therefore, you should install laminate floors in areas not exposed to water and use an effective moisture barrier to lower the room moisture content that causes the swelling.

2.     Tension Between Planks

A lot of tension between the boards may lead to bubbling on your laminate floor. Contraction and expansion are characteristics of laminate in response to temperature. If there isn’t enough room for those changes, your flooring may peak, bubble, or even buckle. A tight attachment of the wall molding to the laminate surface may also cause bubbling.

3.     Water Spills and Wet Mopping

Water spills may be due to improper cleaning or pipe leaks. If not fixed immediately, it can lead to swelling of the laminate boards. When cleaning, avoid using a wet mop for laminate floors or a liquid cleaner. Bubbling and buckling may result from water or steam injection into the finish.

4.  Poor Laminate Quality

All laminate floors aren’t the same, and therefore, you should be careful enough to pick the right flooring option. Don’t be cost-conscious because replacing swollen planks can be more expensive than purchasing. Hence, consider the quality of your laminate floor, even if it calls for getting deeper into your pocket.

Will Laminate Floor Swelling Go Down?

a part of the swollen laminate floor

Even though the swelling of laminated flooring usually results from excessive moisture, this isn’t the case when you use glue for your laminate. Although gluing is unnecessary, it enhances the durability of your laminate flooring. The laminate surface gluing to the subfloor minimizes the likelihood of the planks rising due to moisture damage.

The primary cause of swelling of laminate floors is the water contained in the glue. Unlike external moisture, this water isn’t permanent. It resolves itself within three to four weeks.

Note that in the case of swelling of glued laminate, you shouldn’t use heating equipment. Too much drying of the laminate leads to irreparable shrinkage.

How Do You Fix a Bulge in Laminate Flooring?

If you want to fix a bulge in your laminate flooring, you must establish its primary source. Below are some step-by-step tips to solve this issue.

1. Examine Your Floor Surface

Move around your floor and thoroughly inspect the bulge area of your laminate. Where the swelling is on one board, remove it because that indicates damage.

Suppose the air bubble is at the center of the laminate floor; the swelling results from an inadequate expansion gap. Consequently, the boards squeeze and lead to swelling of the flooring seam.

2. Get Rid of the Wall Molding

Molding is that material that holds the laminate planks to the surface and protects the laminate ends.

Remove the molding near the laminate board with a bulge using a hammer and a screwdriver. Be careful enough not to damage the laminate floor molding.

3. Abolish the Laminate Board

Get rid of all the laminate boards before the damaged planks. Carefully slide the floorboard from the locking mechanism with the connecting board.

Where insufficient expansion joints are the cause of the bulge, you only need to relieve the board’s tension. Ensure that the gap between the board and the wall mold is 0.25 to 0.50 inches by cutting the board next to the wall.

4. Substitute the Spoiled Laminate

Slip the replacement floorboard in place of the damaged laminate, inserting it carefully to the groove’s tongue of the adjacent board. Where the board is peaked, provide the appropriate expansion gap and place a weight on it. Consequently, the laminate floor settles down with no other intervention.  

5. Go Back to the Flooring

Place back the undamaged floorboards and carefully inspect your floor. Be sure to provide sufficient contraction and expansion gaps for your laminate flooring.

6. Provide Appropriate Expansion Joints

To avoid a recurrent peaking problem,  leave  0.25 to 0.50-inch expansion and contraction gaps.

a person fixing the laminate floor

Can Water-Damaged Laminate Flooring Be Repaired?

Although laminate flooring is water-resistant, it doesn’t get along with excess wetness. Even so, planning how to repair swollen flooring that is water-damaged is easy. You can do it without peeling the entire floor. Here is how.

1. Control the Source of Water Damage

The importance of this step is to prevent future damage. It makes no sense to do laminate flooring repairs when you know that the same problem can recur at any time.

Therefore, it’s necessary to identify and fix the source of the damaging water before you kick off the repairing exercise.

2. Identify Spoiled Plans

 Scrutinize the locking system to identify the spoilt areas. Look out for any bubbles and warping and evaluate them thoroughly. Use stick notes or a marker pen to mark the affected area on a severity basis. That way, you can measure the depth of damage of your laminate flooring and act accordingly.

3. Gather Your Working Tools

In your toolbox, ensure you have the right equipment in place. They include flooring adhesive, safety glasses,  utility knife, putty knife,  measuring tape, pliers, hammer, cleaner,  and replacement underlayment material. In addition, get a new matching laminate floorboard. When finding one isn’t easy, most people opt to replace the whole laminate floor instead of repairing the damaged section only. It’s advisable to have your tools ready all the time and not rush when the problem occurs.    

4. Remove the Laminate Up to the Problem Zone

At this point, professionalism is critical. Hence, if you don’t have the right tools in place, look for an expert. However, you have to ascertain the credibility of the flooring company or technician you’ve chosen. If you decide to fix it yourself, carefully run a putty knife under the damaged edges to pull up the spoilt plank.

Even if only a tiny section of the plank is damaged, you have to remove the entire plank because each plank is a single part. Expose the bare floor underneath by prying up the planks and baseboard. Check out for any mildew or mold on the sub-flooring and if there is no damage, reinstall the popped-up planks.

5. Replace the Spoiled laminate Plank

The most challenging part of this section is that it’s not easy to find a matching replacement laminate board. Visit the same laminate manufacturer or dealer to purchase a matching laminate floorboard. If you don’t find one, look for a suitable one that blends well with the rest of the flooring boards. Be sure to remove the wall molding before you fix swollen laminate flooring.

6. Reinstall The Laminate Flooring

Be sure to match all the designs of your flooring. Put a heavy object on the new laminate to exert the required adhesive. Ensure the floor is dry before using if you’re reinstalling a water-prone laminate such as the bathroom.

hammer and glue on laminate floor

Can Warped Laminate Flooring Be Repaired?

You can’t reinstall warped laminate flooring by drying it with a heater, and, therefore,  replacing the spoilt laminate boards is the only way to repair it. You either disassemble the floor or cut the plank out of the laminate floor using a circular saw to replace these planks.

Disassembling the Laminate Floor

Laminate flooring follows one direction to snap and unsnap. To repair a warped flooring through disassembling, start from the floor’s edge where the tongues (the lower part of the locking system) face.  Remove the baseboard and look at the flooring edge to determine the tongues’ direction.

Disengage the first row of laminate boards from the adjacent ones by lifting their edges. It’s advisable to deal with one raw at a time to avoid floor reassembling problems. Find your way to the damaged laminate board, remove and replace the warped planks with new ones.

Note that the new board may outshine the old ones (due to their tendency to fade), and hence you need to apply a finishing coat or polish for laminate floors after replacement.

Cutting Planks Out of a Warped Laminate Floor

This approach is best where the warped prank is at the center of the room and requires furniture movement to enable replacement. Use a  circular saw to set a 0.25 to a 0.50-inch deep cut.

Cut the damaged boards from the top towards the laminate core, and the splay cuts towards each of the four corners. Remove the pieces carefully using a ply bar to avoid damaging the nearby laminate boards. Cut off the lower part of the replacement plank and lock one side of the board with the adjacent plank. Apply glue on the remaining part and place the plank at its position. Put a weight on it until the glue sticks properly.

Final Thoughts

So, now you know how to repair swollen laminate flooring. It’s such an easy task when you have the right tools in place. Alternatively, you can look for a professional such as a technician or source help from a laminate flooring manufacturer.

Having acquired enough information from this article, repairing your laminate floor yourself is possible, and you’ll not have to spend more on experts.

Remember also proper maintenance is less expensive than repairing your floor. Therefore, keep off any material substance that can damage your laminate flooring.

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