How To Repair Swollen Laminate Flooring Without Replacing

Have you noticed bubbles and swelling on your beautiful laminate flooring? First of all, don’t panic! You can fix this problem effortlessly and in no time. Not only that, but you won’t even have to replace your entire flooring. Wondering how to repair swollen laminate flooring without replacing it? You are in the right place!

Laminate flooring swollen and delaminated at the edges

Laminate wood flooring is one of the most attractive and durable flooring options out there. It has the ability to withstand high traffic, making it the most sought-after base option to many homeowners. Its only lack is that it can’t tolerate water or resist high moisture that makes it swell. So, is it possible to repair your laminate flooring without replacing it entirely? The answer is yes, and we are here to show you how!

Why is your laminate floor bubbling?

Do you have damaged laminate flooring with bubbles? The first thing to wonder is why this happened. Excess moisture in your floorboardsunderlayment and planks is the most common reason for this problem. But is it the only one? Keep on reading to find out all the other causes of damaged boards so you can deal with the situation and protect your entire floor in the future!

1. Moisture problem

The primary cause of damage is high moisture content. Although laminate planks can be waterproof, they are not water-resistant. That’s why an increase in moisture can make the laminate floor swell, especially when it gets to the laminate core

2. Tension between laminate floorboards

Bubbling on laminate flooring can be due to too much tension between its planks. The laminate floor will expand and contract in response to temperature changes. When you install your new boards, if you don’t ensure there are expansion gaps left, the laminate will end up bubbling, peaking or even buckling. Extra tight mouldings can also lead to bubbling; that’s why it is essential to be extremely mindful of this during installation. 

man installing laminate flooring

3. Lack of expansion joints

Large area new laminate installations require expansion joints between the joining sections of the boards. Extensive installations will lead to trapped air bubbles under the boards.

4. Lack of effective moisture barrier

If you install laminate over concrete and wood subfloors, make sure you don’t interfere with water evaporation and good house ventilation. Lack of an effective moisture barrier installation on your floor may cause bubbling.

5. Water spills

Spills, excess water, and pipe leaks that you don’t take care of immediately as they happen will leave you with a swollen laminate floor.

Another common problem is wet-mopping and steam cleaning. You should not try these methods on your laminate floor since they can cause water damage signs such as buckling and bubbling. Cleaning your floors the right way is essential!

Spilled glass of water on a laminate floor

How to repair swollen laminate flooring without replacing it? 

One way to repair your damaged laminate flooring is by replacing it. But don’t worry; if the damage is not too severe, you don’t need to remove your wall moulding and use your screwdriver to remove your whole floor. Follow our laminate floor repair instructions to find out all you need to know!

How to repair minor damage and bubbles

All the methods mentioned below are simple DIY tasks any homeowner can do themselves. You’ll be happy to know that there are many online video tutorials to take you through each step with detail so you can make it an easy job!

  1. Firstly, you may try the X-acto knife on the bubbling spot to fix the issue. If the result is not satisfactory, you can use epoxy laminate repair kits to fix the swelling surface.
  2. Secondly, rolling up the floor is another way to smooth the laminate surface. You can rent a 100lb roller from your local hardware store to soften the lift-up spot.
  3. Drying the damaged area with a hairdryer or heater may resolve your bubbling up to the surface. 
  4. You can fix minor bubbles by ‘’bursting’’ them. To do so, place a damp cloth on the bubble and cut a slit on the area with a sharp knife. Then, squeeze wood glue into the slit and press the veneer down. The last step is to place a weight on it overnight so that it is flattened.
  5. Finally, you can try out the popping method to fix laminate floor bubbling. 

How to replace only one panel

It is not always possible to avoid dismantling, but you can limit yourself to replacing only one panel without disassembling your entire structure. Here’s what to do:

Man removing laminate on the floor

  1. Measure out a small rectangle inside your damaged plank and cut it out.
  2. Use a chisel and a hammer to pull out the cut out piece.
  3. Row up panels about 10 cm in the direction of your wall.
  4. Remove the panel’s remaining parts and cut the lock connection.
  5. Get a replacement plank that matches your floor. Prepare it by cutting off the lower part of the locking mechanism on the plank’s tongue side, and the tongue end with a utility knife
  6. Spread some carpenter’s glue on the underside of the upper parts of the tongues you cut.
  7. Click the plank’s groove side into the tongue of the adjacent plank and lower the plank into your floor
  8. Finally, put a weight on it to hold it down until the glue sets.

Keep in mind that if the baseboard swells, you may need to replace it with a whole new floor. It’s best to seek professional wood installers’ advice before replacing your floor and solving any other common laminate flooring problems.

Tips to prevent your laminate flooring from swelling

Prevent is better than cure, right? The best thing to do is try to maintain the following tips and tricks to prevent your surface from swelling and delamination.

  1. Don’t allow standing water on your laminate surface for a long time. 
  2. Your flooring got wet with spills? Always mop the damp area as soon as water spills happen on the floor. 
  3. Avoid wet-mopping your laminate flooring. It’s best to dry mop it for longevity.
  4. Use recommended cleaning products to avoid damage or sticky floors.
  5. When installing on a cement subfloor, use a moisture barrier to stop the floor from buckling.
  6. Maintain a 35-65 per cent relative humidity level in your room. You can use a dehumidifier and portable air conditioner to maintain this relative humidity.

Woman changing water container of dehumidifier at home
Laminate flooring is an attractive and relatively inexpensive alternative to hardwood floors. However, it is not quite as durable or resistant to water and damage. The good news is that you can fix a laminate floor without the help of professionals. This can be an easy task, especially when the damage is not severe and you don’t need to replace your flooring. Just make sure to follow all of the tips mentioned above, and you won’t have any issues!

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