Vinyl Plank Flooring Lifting at the Edges – How to Fix It

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vinyl plank flooring lifting at the edges

Vinyl plank flooring is a fantastic way to get the look of hardwood without the expense. 

However, sometimes vinyl plank flooring can buckle and lift. When this happens, it can expose your subfloor to all kinds of dirt and other issues. 

In this article, we have put together a guide to help you fix lifting vinyl floors. By following these steps, you can get your home looking good as new.

Key Takeaways

Here’s the lowdown:

  • It may be best to replace planks outright. They can lift due to adhesive misuse, swelling, or water spillage.
  • Try and purchase 20% additional flooring in case of damage to planks.
  • Always remove molding and baseboards before fixing – so you can reach planks.
  • Remove planks and adhesive. You may need to run a hairdryer over the glue to remove it.
  • Add new glue to cover the whole subfloor. You can mask planks alongside to avoid glue spreading.
  • Replace planks, molding, and baseboards.

Fixing Vinyl Plank Flooring: Basic Idea

For the most part, your best bet with lifting vinyl floors is to replace them. However, there are a few things you can try first. The steps for this process include: 

  1. Clear the molding and baseboards
  2. Pull up the plank and adhesive
  3. Put down new adhesive
  4. Install a new plank or an undamaged old plank

You may be able to get by with repairs. If not, a simple replacement will rectify the issue. 

Why Vinyl Plank Flooring Lifts at the Edges

why vinyl plank flooring lifts at the edges

Floating vinyl lifting at edges

If you have a floating vinyl floor, the edges may start to lift because of swelling. 

When vinyl flooring gets warm or wet, it can start to expand. If your flooring is a floating type, the locking tabs will start to come out of place. 

If your vinyl flooring is glued down, it can start to lift for other reasons. 

Glued-down flooring lifting at edges

Generally, glued-down flooring will lift because the adhesive hasn’t been spread properly. If there are areas where the glue didn’t hold, those areas will start to lift. 

Water spills can cause the planks to lift

If you have spilled water or other liquid without cleaning it properly, this can also result in adhesive damage. Eventually, the glue will start to weaken and the planks will begin to lift. 

Remove Molding and Baseboards 

No matter what the reason is for your vinyl floor lifting, you will need to remove the molding and baseboards. 

However, you do not need to remove them in areas where your flooring isn’t lifting. Simply look where your flooring is coming up and remove the molding in those areas. 

If you have a floating floor, this will allow you to get to the planks. 

Pull the molding off with a pry bar but do it gently. You will want to replace the moldings and baseboards when you are done with the repair.

Remove the Plank and Adhesive 

If you have a floating vinyl floor, you will not need to worry about adhesive. You can simply unsnap the planks that are lifting and remove them manually. 

Pro Tip: As a flooring professional, I would recommend taking a close-up photo of the damaged area before removing the planks. It will help you remember the exact position and orientation of each plank during replacement.

If you have adhesive planks, though, you will need to loosen that glue. 

To do this, use a hairdryer set on the hot setting. Gently, run the hairdryer back and forth over the plank you want to remove. 

As the plank starts to come up, switch to running the hairdryer under it. This will loosen the adhesive even more. 

After removing the plank, you can then use the hairdryer to remove the rest of the glue. Use a scraper and gently lift up the adhesive.

Apply New Adhesive 

If you have to put in a new adhesive plank, you will need to apply more glue

Make sure that you are covering the entire subfloor surface. This will ensure that you don’t run into the same lifting down the line.

If needed, you can mask off the surrounding planks so you don’t end up with glue on your floor surface. 

From my own experience, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of allowing adequate drying time after applying the new adhesive. Trying to rush this step will only cause more problems in the long run. Typically, I allow 24 to 48 hours for the adhesive to fully cure.

Replace the Plank 

If you have to, you can simply put the old plank back into place as long as it isn’t damaged. 

However, it is recommended that you replace the entire plank if you have extra. 

This is why it is important that you purchase at least 20 percent more flooring than you will need. This ensures that you have extra planks in the event of damage or lifting.

Pro Tip: I always make sure to keep my leftover vinyl planks in a dry, climate-controlled area. This is because vinyl is susceptible to changes in temperature and moisture. Storing it properly ensures the replacement planks will match as closely as possible with my existing flooring.

Frequently Asked Questions

faq vinyl plank flooring lift at the edges
  • Will buckled floors go back down?

Sometimes, buckled vinyl floors will go back down on their own. This will usually happen when the weather changes and temperatures even out. 

However, you will only end up with buckles again, so it is best if you fix them as the buckles happen.

  • How do you fill gaps in vinyl plank flooring?

One of the best ways to fill gaps in vinyl flooring is with clear caulk. 

Clear caulk will not only fill the gaps, it will also waterproof the floor. However, if possible, it is best to reinstall the flooring so there are no gaps. 

  • How do you flatten a buckled laminate floor?

It is possible to flatten a buckled laminate floor using weight. 

You can simply place a heavy item on top of the buckle and wait for it to go down. This should not take long, but you may end up with the buckles again later on down the line. 


When your vinyl plank flooring starts to lift, it can be incredibly frustrating. Luckily, there are ways to fix it that don’t require reinstalling the entire floor. 

By following the above steps, you can be sure that your floor stays in good shape for a lot longer. 

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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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