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How to Fix Laminate Flooring That Is Lifting: Top 5 Laminate Issues Solved

Have you recently noticed that your laminate has started to lift? Laminate flooring can begin to rise at the edge or in the middle. Sometimes the lifting is minimal and limited to a few planks only — but it can increase if left unnoticed.

Laminate flooring can start to buckle or lift for several reasons, including excessive moisture, inadequate expansion gaps, subfloor issues, and improperly locked planks. Lifting, peaking or buckling in laminate flooring makes it unstable and more likely to crack and break. It is also unsafe to leave lifting laminate unattended.

So, how to fix laminate flooring that is lifting? This article will discuss step-by-step how to fix laminate flooring that is lifting.

Why Laminate Floor is Lifting

Before delving into how to fix laminate flooring that is lifting, you first need to understand why laminate floor is lifting. There are several contributing factors as to why your laminate floor is lifting — each reason has its unique fix.

Some common reasons laminate floor is lifting include –

Underlying moisture issue

Excess moisture within the subfloor or the concrete slab can cause the laminate to expand, which eventually leads to buckling and lifting. Excessive moisture can result from leakage or not drying the subfloor properly at the time of installation. Typically, the subfloor should not be more than 1-2% damp at the time of the installation. If you are dealing with damp subfloors, you need to use a dehumidifier to bring down the humidity level before laying the floors.

Lack of expansion gaps

Laminate floors expand and contract with humidity and temperature fluctuations. If the laminate is laid too close to the wall, it leaves no room for expansion. As a result, the planks start lifting in the middle or at the edge as they expand. 1/4th of an inch or 7-10 mm expansion gap must be left around the perimeter of the room to account for the swelling laminate planks.

Uneven subfloor

Laminate floors are designed to float over the subfloor as they are not typically glued down to the floor — instead, use the click-and-lock method that holds the planks together. If there are any issues with the subfloor, it affects the stability of the locking mechanism of the laminate. If the laminate is not properly interlocked, the planks can peak or lift when applied pressure on the top. The subfloor must be completely level and in perfect condition to lay the planks correctly.

Not properly interlocked

Laminate flooring uses an interlocking or click-and-lock method to hold the planks together at the edges. If the edges are not locked correctly, it shows at the edge of the room where the planks rise. When you walk over laminates without the edges locked in correctly, the lock at the sides opens and causes the plank to lift.

Heavy furniture

Laminate flooring can accommodate 300-500 pounds per square inch. Exceeding that limit with heavy furniture will cause dents in the flooring. Heavy furniture also put pressure on the locks, causing them to give way and open — eventually leading to the planks lifting at the edges.

How to Fix Laminate Flooring That Is Lifting

How to fix laminate floor that is lifting

Before moving on to how to fix laminate flooring that is lifting, you need to identify why your laminate is lifting since the solution for each case is unique. There are tell-tale signs of why your laminate is lifting. For example, if the raised plank is whitish or wet, it indicates that the source of the problem is moisture. Or, if the laminate is lifting in multiple spots on the floor, it may be a sign of improper interconnections.

Tools and materials needed to fix laminate flooring that is lifting

  1. Hammer
  2. Chisel
  3. Oscillating multi-tool
  4. Grinder
  5. Sander

Moisture Damage

If your laminate flooring is lifting due to moisture damage, it can occur from the subfloor or regular spills. Here is the step-by-step guide on how to fix laminate flooring that is lifting due to moisture damage –

Step 1: Identify and remove the affected planks.

Step 2: Find the source of the leak (if any) and repair it.

Step 3: If the subfloor has underlying moisture issues, remove the entire flooring and dry out the subfloor using fans and dehumidifiers before reinstalling the laminate.

Step 4: Install waterproof underlayment for laminate flooring if you already do not have one.

Step 5: Inspect the laminate planks and remove the damaged boards.

Step 6: Reinstall the flooring.

Lack of expansion gap

Lack of expansion gap is a common reason why your laminate floor is lifting. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to fix laminate flooring that is lifting due to a lack of expansion gaps.

Step 1: Use a surplus board or a slat to identify the board that is no longer lying correctly. Mark the board and note the direction of the affected plank to find out precisely which skirting you will have to remove. If the entire flooring is lifting, you may need to remove all the skirting around the perimeter of the room.

Step 2: Use a hammer and a chisel to remove the skirting lying in the direction of the raised board.

Step 3: Use a pencil and a slat to mark 1/4th of an inch on the laminates that are lying too close to the wall.

Step 4: Use an oscillating multi-tool to saw away the surplus part of the board. Remove the sawdust using a vacuum cleaner.

Step 5: Reattach the skirting to finish off.

Step 6: Let the floor rest and wait for the flooring to lay flat again. The laminate might take a few days to be 100% flat. 

Uneven subfloor

Laminate subfloors are typically plywood laid over concrete. The unevenness usually stems from uneven concrete. Here is the step-by-step process on how to fix laminate flooring that is lifting due to the uneven subfloor –

Step 1: Remove the entire laminate flooring. If you have plywood over concrete, you will need to remove that as well.

Step 2: Sand the concrete to level it using a sander or a grinder. If the subfloor is extremely unlevel, this process might take some time. You will also need to check the level of the subfloor frequently as you sand it down.

Step 3: Once the concrete is level, dry down the concrete before laying the plywood again. Then reinstall the laminate floor.

Not properly interlocked

Laminate floors are attached by interlocking the edges of the plank. The planks need to be interlocked properly for the laminate to lie flat. Here is how you can fix that –

Step 1: Identify the planks that aren’t appropriately interlocked.

Step 2: Remove the rising planks along with the ones surrounding them.

Step 3: Reapply the planks according to the floor plan and ensure they are correctly interlocked.

Heavy furniture

The reason behind why your laminate is lifting might be the heavy furniture you have lying over them. If this is the case, the solution is pretty simple — remove the heavy furniture and place it somewhere else where you don’t have a laminate floor. Although laminate floors are durable, they cannot handle heavy loads over a specific limit set by manufacturers. In fact, placing heavy loads on top of laminate will degrade its life expectancy over time. After you remove the heavy furniture from raised laminate, it may take a few days for the laminate to return to its original position.

Do you have any questions on how to fix laminate flooring that is lifting? Comment below and let us know!

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