A Guide to Repairing Swollen Laminate Flooring

A Guide to Repairing Swollen Laminate Flooring

No floor is excluded from damage, and a swollen laminate floor is every homeowner's nightmare.

If you’ve noticed lifting or buckling of your laminate floor, then don’t panic! In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to repairing and preventing swelling in your laminate floors. 

Whether your floor has minor damage or noticeable warping, we can help you save it and restore it to full health without replacing the floorboards. 

What causes Laminate to Swell?

There are a variety of circumstances that can cause laminate flooring to swell. This involves:

  • Humidity fluctuations: Humid environments can cause the laminate to expand and swell as it absorbs the moisture in the air. During dry conditions, the boards can shrink.
  • Moisture exposure: If moisture seeps into the high-density fiberboard (HDF) or medium-density fiberboard (MDF) core from spills, the floor can expand and swell.
  • Improper installation: If adequate expansion gaps aren’t added around the edges of the room, the planks can’t expand with temperature and humidity changes, leading to buckling and swelling.
  • Water leaks and flooding: Water leaks from appliances, pipes, or flooding can cause extreme swelling. The amount of water the floor absorbs leads to rapid and severe swelling.
  • Poor-quality material: Lower-quality laminate flooring may be more prone to swelling as it absorbs moisture more readily than higher-quality options due to a less effective moisture barrier.

Identifying the Problem

Noticing the first signs of swelling can prevent further damage, helping you to save your floors before they’re beyond repair. 

Here are some early indicators to spot:

  • Edges rising or curling: One of the first signs is when the edges of the board begin to curl. This is often visible along the seams, and the floor may feel uneven underfoot.
  • Gapping between boards: If you notice gaps between the boards, this is a sign that your floorboards are swelling and pulling away from each other. 
  • Warping or buckling: As the swelling worsens, the floor may start to warp or buckle, making the floor uneven and creaky.
  • Discolouration: You may notice darker patches or spots where the laminate is swelling from water absorption. 
  • Mould or mildew growth: Due to long-term water exposure, mould or mildew may start to appear on severely damaged laminate flooring. This can pose health threats to homeowners. 

How to Repair Minor Swelling

To repair minor swelling issues, complete the following steps:

  1. Dry out the affected area: Use a dehumidifier to drain the excess moisture from the air. This will help to dry the planks. Open windows or use fans to improve air circulation.
  2. Apply weight to the floor: Once the area has started to dry, place heavy items, such as books, on top of the affiliated planks. This will help flatten them back into place while they dry.
  3. Apply heat to the planks: For planks that are still swollen, apply heat to the floor. Use a hair dryer to dry the area, or place a cloth over the floor and safely iron it to help the floor expand and contract. 

How to Handle Severe Damage

If your floor is severely damaged, then you will unfortunately have to replace the floorboards. Follow the steps below to do this:

  1. Remove damaged blanks: Clear away any furniture and begin to pry away the moulding and baseboards around the perimeter of the room with a crowbar. 
  2. Inspect the subfloor: Once the flooring is removed, inspect the subfloor for signs of moisture damage. If the damage is crucial, you may need to replace the subfloor.
  3. Acclimate the laminate: Once you have assessed or replaced the subfloor, allow the laminate to acclimate to the room’s temperature for 48 hours before installation. 
  4. Install the laminate: Leave expansion gaps around the edge of the room and lay down the new planks. Once the new floor has been laid, reattach the baseboards or moulding. 

Preventative Measures

To prevent your laminate flooring from swelling, ensure that you leave adequate expansion gaps around the edge of the room. This allows the floor to expand and contract without buckling. 

A high-quality underlay can help prevent moisture damage and provide a stable base. Clean up any spills promptly to prevent water absorption. 

To prevent excessive moisture in the air, keep indoor humidity levels around 30% to 50%. Increase ventilation in moisture-prone areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Fans, floor absorption mats, and dehumidifiers can serve as great solutions for these rooms. 

Choose Mersey Flooring for your Laminate Floors

Is your floor in dire need of a makeover? If so, replace the crumbling floorboards with a brand-new, glistening floor. 

At Mersey Flooring, we’re your one-stop solution for high-quality, affordable floors. From beautiful laminate to eye-catching herringbone, we have an option for every customer. 

Browse our flooring today to transform your home with us. 

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