How to Repair Laminate Floor That is Separating

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how to repair laminate floor that is separating

Laminate is a great, fairly low-budget flooring option that can be incredibly durable. Its high quality and ease of installation makes it a good choice for those who want the hardwood look. 

However, laminate isn’t necessarily permanently affixed to the floor. It is what is called a floating floor and instead uses a snap-in fastening system. 

Sometimes, when the flooring adjusts, the planks will unsnap. This can cause gaps in the planks as they separate. 

Luckily, it is a relatively simple process to get the flooring back to its original fit. 

In this article, we have put together a guide to fixing laminate flooring that is separating. By following these steps, you can get your floor looking as good as new again.

Fixing Separating Laminate Floor: Basic Idea

Fixing a laminate floor that has started to separate is not a very difficult process. The basic idea is: 

  • Find the source of the separation 
  • Take off the baseboard
  • Glue the separating planks
  • Hammer the planks into place

Once you have gone through this process, keep an eye on the planks and make sure they stay connected. 

Why Does Laminate Floor Separate?

why does laminate floor separate

Laminate flooring is popular because of its simple installation process and relatively low price. 

Unlike a hardwood floor, it doesn’t have to be permanently secured to the subfloor. 

In fact, laminate flooring is usually referred to as a floating floor because of its snap-in fastening. Instead of nailing down the planks, you cut them to fit the room and they all attach together. 

However, because of this, laminate is not nearly as secure on the subfloor as it could be. 

When laminate expands or contracts with the changing of the atmosphere, it will move around. This can cause the planks to come apart and create gaps between them. 

This is why it is recommended that new laminate be stored in the intended room for 48 hours. This will help the planks become accustomed to the humidity and atmosphere before they are installed. 

Find the Start of the Gaps 

The first thing you want to do when you notice gaps in your laminate floor is look for the source. 

You should know which way the planks have started to move and locate the beginning of the gaps. 

To do this, you should clean out any dust or debris that has settled in the spaces. This will be in there from general use and will have to be cleaned out anyway. 

Then, you can start to move the planks around and see where the movement began. Trace it back to the wall edge of the laminate and find where you will begin moving it back. 

You can then figure out which way you are going to work from and what side of the room to start. 

Remove the Baseboard

remove the baseboard

After you have found the side where the gaps started, remove the baseboard. 

This can be done gently with a flat-sided crow bar and a hammer. Make sure you leave the finishing nails inside the piece of molding if you don’t want to fill the holes. 

Look and see how big the gap between the laminate and the wall is. You will need to leave an expansion gap, but it shouldn’t be any larger than the width of a quarter. 

This expansion gap will help keep the laminate from peaking up if it expands. This usually happens in the winter when there is more moisture in the air. 

Glue the Joints 

Put a small bead of glue in the pieces of the plank that have begun to come apart. These planks are more likely to come apart again, so gluing them will prevent that. 

Use standard wood glue and not an expanding glue like Gorilla Glue. 

Standard wood glue will dry clear and will only stick where it has been applied. This is incredibly important since you don’t want the glue to come up over the laminate. 

Knock the Planks Into Place

After you have applied the glue where you want it, you can knock the planks into place. 

This can be done by putting a piece of double stick tape on a block of wood. 

Place the wood on each plank and stick it to the surface. Then, you can knock the planks into each other with a hammer on the block. 

Make your way from the edge of the room to the place where the gaps start. After this is done, let the glue dry for at least 24 hours before moving furniture in or walking on it. 

Frequently Asked Questions

faq how to repair laminate floor that is separating

  • Are laminate floors glued down?

Laminate floors are not usually glued down. Instead, they use a snap-together fastening system that is designed to be less permanent. 

However, if you are regularly getting gaps, gluing the problem planks together can help. 

  • Will wet laminate dry out?

Wet laminate will eventually dry out but it can take a long time. This is because of the particle board inside. 

When laminate stays wet, it can grow mold, so it is best to dry it yourself as soon as possible. 

  • Can you fix bubbled laminate?

Sometimes, when laminate gets wet, the veneer can bubble up. 

If the bubble is small, you can poke it with a pin and release the air built up inside. If it is larger, you can fill the bubble with wood glue and push it down to flatten it out. 

Conclusion 

Laminate is a very easy flooring material to work with. However, because of this, it can be less permanent than other types of flooring. 

By knowing how to fix gaps in your laminate, you can keep it looking nice for a lot longer. 

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AUTHOR

Michael J. O’Connor is a writer and marketing specialist from the Bay Area of California. A graduate of Sonoma State’s Creative Writing program, he spent many years as a contractor and carpet layer, learning the ins and outs of flooring and general contracting. When he’s not typing away at his desk, he enjoys hiking with his dogs, woodworking and collecting rare books. See full biography here.

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