Diagnose and repair buckling, peaking, water damage, scratching and other vinyl and laminate floor issues

Laminate and vinyl flooring are attractive and durable flooring solutions that are ideal for the modern home or office. Like any other kind of flooring, however, they have their quirks and can give rise to problems. In this article we’ll outline some of the common laminate and vinyl flooring problems with suggestions for how to fix them.

Peaking

Peaking is when laminate or vinyl flooring boards squash against each other and push upward into peaks. The most common cause of peaking is a lack of expansion space between the laminate floor and the walls or the laminate mouldings.

To fix laminate floor peaking, remove some of the moulding or trim the laminate board closest to the wall to create more space. The peaking doesn’t always go away immediately, so you might need to place a weighted object on the peaking areas for a while.

Also make sure that the mouldings have not been nailed or fixed to the laminate floor, thus preventing expansion. Laminate is a floating floor and should not be fixed to the subfloor or mouldings.

Peaking can also indicate a problem with water or moisture. See the next point below.

Buckling or warping

Vinyl flooring warping from sunlight

Luxury vinyl tile expansion problems caused by exposure to direct sunlight. (image courtesy www.mfcsi.com)

Buckling or warping in laminate flooring is usually the result of water damage. Because laminate flooring is composed largely of compressed wood fibre, it easily absorbs water, which leads to swelling. This water can come from direct splashes or spills, as well as from rising damp that seeps up from the substrate. Very humid air can also cause expansion and buckling.
To prevent laminate floor buckling, make sure you never use a wet mop for cleaning and that you quickly soak up any water splashes. If the buckling hasn’t been caused by spills, check that the substrate is adequately sealed and that there is a waterproof layer beneath the floor.

It’s difficult to fix buckled or warped laminated flooring, and usually the only solution is to replace the affected boards.

Buckling or warping in vinyl flooring is usually caused by an uneven substrate or the vinyl being installed in direct sunlight, which causes expansion. This problem is largely overcome with the use of stick-down vinyl.

Gapping

Laminate floor gapGapping is the opposite effect to buckling. It happens when flooring boards or tiles pull away from one another, resulting in gaps between the boards. We see this happening most often in dry, cold winters when conditions are significantly different from the time when the boards were installed. If you know the room is going to be cold most of the time, make sure you thoroughly acclimatize your flooring before installation.

Gapping can also be caused by an uneven substrate, damaged click-in system, or the laminate underlay being too thick.

If your boards gap in cold, dry weather, make sure you clean out the gaps when summer returns or the dust that accumulates in the gaps will prevent the boards closing again. When in doubt, call for professional assistance.

Mold and mildew

Mold and mildew are usually the result of excessive moisture. If the source of moisture is the substrate, you might need to reseal the floor and install a more effective moisture barrier. It’s not always easy to see if a substrate is really dry before installing, so it can be a good idea to have it professionally tested first.

Stick-down vinyl problems

Stick-down vinyl is not as prone to warping, peaking and buckling as other vinyl, but it does have some of its own quirks. Stick-down vinyl that lifts could be the result of the floor having been installed before the substrate was properly dry. Another cause is insufficient glue having been used. If the problem affects only a few tiles, they can usually be restuck with some cleaning and the application of fresh glue. But sometimes the only way to fix lifting stick-down vinyl is to remove the whole floor and start again – a tricky procedure. The substrate has to be absolutely flat and level, so it’s usually best to leave this kind of installation to professionals.

Laminate flooring repairs

Scratches in laminate flooringMinor scratches can be repaired with a laminate floor repair kit, available at flooring shops and hardware stores.
For more serious damage, you might need to replace the damaged boards.

In our experience, a long-lasting, problem-free laminate floor begins with the most important ingredient – a well-prepared substrate or subfloor. This means levelling the floor accurately and ensuring proper sealing against rising moisture. Sometimes the only way to fix ongoing laminate and vinyl floor problems is to completely redo the subfloor.

If you need professional assistance to repair vinyl and laminate floor problems, give us a call and we’ll help you diagnose the issue and find a solution.

Get help fixing your laminate or vinyl floors

Call us today or visit our showroom near the Vaal Mall in Vanderbijlpark.

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