Floating floors refers to installing different flooring types without the need for nails or gluing them down to the subfloor. The most common types of floating floors include laminate, luxury vinyl plank (LVP), and engineered wood flooring. Some advantages of floating floors include affordability, ease of installation, and being DIY friendly.
However, floating floors also come with their fair share of problems. This post will discuss some of these problems and their solutions to help you make an informed decision when taking care of or choosing a floating floor. Enjoy.
Warping and Buckling
Buckling refers to the convex or upward shape a flooring takes, while warping refers to changes in a flooring material due to uneven shrinkage. Both warping and buckling are a result of moisture or water damage. Although floating floors like laminate or engineered wood expand and contract with changes in humidity, excessive humidity can cause the planks to warp or buckle.
When cleaning your floating floors, avoid using excess water that might seep between the planks. For a floating floor, it is advised you dry or damp mop to clean it up. Read more about floor buckling.
If your floating floor shows warping or buckling, it is best to identify the cause before attempting to fix it. Damp subfloor, wet mopping, high humidity, and installing floating floors in humid and moisture-ridden areas can all cause a floor to buckle or warp.
Once you identify the cause, then you can move to try and fix the problem or contact a professional. If a floor is buckled or warped, placing a heavy object over it can help. However, sometimes it is better to replace the affected planks with new ones.
Some floating floors, like laminate or cheaper LVP, are made of thinner materials. Because of this, they tend to be easily cheap during installation when a tapping block and mallet are used. Cleaning using a beater bar vacuum attachment can also result in chipped floating floor corners. Chipped edges destroy the aesthetics of your flooring; however, they can also pose a bigger problem than this one.
If water or moisture seeps through the chipped edges, it can cause warping or enable the growth of mold and mildew. The best way to avoid chipped edges is to invest in higher-quality types of floating floors. Handling the flooring carefully during installation is mandatory. Removing and replacing the affected planks is the best solution for chipped flooring. However, you can also get a repair kit for the type of flooring if the problem is mild.
Peaking and buckling occur in the way and are often confused. However, peaking and buckling are different because they occur due to different reasons. While buckling occurs due to high water or moisture content, peaking occurs because of improper installation of a floating floor.
Floating floors constantly expand and contact because of changes in humidity and temperature. During installation, it is important to leave an expansion gap between the wall and the floating floor. The expansion gaps enable the floating floor to expand and contract with environmental changes. If you fail to add an expansion gap, peaking will occur as the floating floor expands.
Peaking can be fixed by cutting an expansion gap around to enable free expansion. Apart from expansion gaps, peaking can also occur if you nail down a floating floor to the subfloor. In this situation, the nails or pins should be removed to enable free expansion of the floor unit. Walking on the affected planks, if not severely distorted, can fix peaking.
Gapping Over Time
Gapping is not common in floating floors, but it still can occur. With gapping, the boards or planks pull away from each other, resulting in gaps between them. Gapping can be a result of extreme temperature changes from warm to cold. This causes abrupt contractions that cause gapping. To avoid issues like gapping, it is important to acclimate the floating floor to the room in which they are to be installed.
Acclimating is simple as letting the flooring sit in the room for 24 to 48 hours before installation. This allows the flooring to adjust to the room’s temperature, contract, and expand as required.
Mold and mildew
The presence of mold and mildew points to excessive moisture and damp conditions. The only way of dealing with mold and mildew is to identify the source and get rid of it or work on it. After this, you can then move to clean the affected areas or replace them entirely. A dehumidifier can also help keep the humidity in check by lowering it.
If the problem is the subfloor, you should install a waterproof underlayment that will not prevent subfloor moisture from rising. If there’s moisture trapped between the planks/boards, a dehumidifier should help. Removing and working on the root cause is the best way to go for severe situations.