BuildDirect Blog: Life at Home

5 Problems With Laminate Flooring (And Common Solutions For Them)


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With any flooring product you buy, you will come across challenges over time. Laminate floors are no exception. Some of these challenges are dramatic. Others are minor. Luckily, with any problems with laminate flooring you may experience, there’s usually a good explanation. And most often, there’s a straightforward solution, too.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common problems with laminate flooring that homeowners have, and how to address them too.

1. Slippery laminate surfaces

The smooth surfaces of some laminate flooring products often bring about the problem of safety should it become wet. Whether it is water, fruit punch or another type of drink, should somebody slip on the mess it can be dangerous. The person can slide across the room or fall down to the floor. Unfortunately, this can happen even if the floor is completely dry, especially in socks. Among the problems with laminate flooring, this is perhaps one of the most notable.

So, how do you overcome this? The first step is vigilance when it comes to spills and other slip hazards. Sometimes that small throw rug that doesn’t have a backing isn’t such a hot idea in that high traffic area. Spilled liquids never are. As for the sock feet issue, sometimes a strategically placed runner can help to create the right kind of traction on the way from the living room and into the kitchen (just as an example!), while still leaving enough surface area for the laminate floor surface to create the kinds of effects you wanted from them.

2. Scratches and surface damage

Although some homeowners may consider laminate flooring to be strong, it is actually quite susceptible to scratching. For example, should somebody walk across the floor in high-heeled shoes, or drag a heavy piece of furniture, scratching and other types of surface damage can be the result.

The solutions to these problems with laminate flooring surface damage are often built right in to the issues themselves.  It is important to avoid wearing shoes with cleats or points on their surfaces. The simple addition of felt sliders on the feet of furniture is another solution, especially if you find yourself moving furniture in that space a lot.

3. Bubbling

Spills on the floor present a safety hazard, but they can also damage the laminate boards themeselves. If not cleaned up quickly and efficiently the water can seep into the seams between each board flooring, causing the surface of the boards to bubble. This creates an unattractive look that work against the reason you invested in laminate flooring to begin with; to look great.

When the damage becomes this unsightly, the best way to solve this problem is to replace the boards with spare boards. The received wisdom when you buy laminate flooring is to order abou 10% more than you need. This is helpful when it comes to installation, and when boards are damaged during that process. But, it’s also a good strategy for this kind of damage as well. It’s worth the extra chunk of your budget in either case.

4. Color fading

Over time, laminate flooring can fade, no matter how little sunlight it is exposed to. All modern laminate flooring is treated with a UV-resistant layer on the surface of every board. Depending on the quality of floor you have, this layer will slow the effects of UV rays on your floor’s surface. But, fading isn’t an issue you can ever completely solve.

The one thing you can control is how evenly the floor will fade. One solution here is to think about how much sunlight your floor gets, and how much of the surface is exposed to it. Adjusting window coverings is often the next logical step.  Thinking about what covers your floor, like throw rugs and furniture, is also something to think about, as is frequent rotation of these elements (within reason and ability, of course) in order to even out the fading process.

5. Peaking

Also known as “crowning”, when laminate flooring boards lift at the seams, this is referred to as peaking. A common cause of this issue is often with weather and climate related, especially if you’re in a very wet or very dry climate. Even if laminate floors aren’t natural materials, they still need to move. When there is a lack of room for expansion, peaking is often the result.

The solution to this is implemented during installation, with an adequate expansion gap around the space where the flooring has been installed. And in the case of extreme climates, taking care of heat envelope issues and moisture concerns should be a top priority as well. This isn’t just about the health of your flooring, either. It’s about the health of your whole property.

Laminate flooring problems are not unsolvable

Nothing is invulnerable, and certainly nothing lasts forver. This is as true of laminate flooring as anything. There are some common laminate flooring problems out there, for sure. But, their solutions are often easy to implement. We hope the above are helpful.

One of the best ways to avoid these issues in the first place comes with smart installation practices, and insisting on the highest quality flooring products from the outset. But, even if you’ve inherited laminate floors rather than installing them from scratch, they can still be a vital part of a long-lasting, and visually stunning element to your interiors.

 

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Rob Woods

Rob served as BuildDirect's marketing manager from 2000 to 2010. In addition to heading up his own marketing company these days, he remains to be a handy guy around the house to this day.

2 Comments

  1. Lois Hathaway Reply to Lois

    My inlaid vinyl floor in front of sliding glass door has brown spots on I

  2. jeff pope Reply to jeff

    Laminate flooring is installed on a concrete slab in the home we purchased, floated throughout the downstairs, Boards have what appear to be elongated blisters and puckers at long edges and end joints. These conditions appeared approximately six months after the flooring was installed. The slab in substantially flat and meets manufacturers requirements for flatness. The damage/blisters seems to spread over the floor from the kitchen to other rooms. What could possibly be wrong? The floors are cleaned with a damp cloth and dust mop.
    Jeff

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