Wood will expand and shrink with an increase and decrease in moisture content. Laminate flooring being a wood bi-product is subject to this effect. These expansions and contractions will eventually leave gaps in your laminate flooring.
Once you notice this separation, you should start looking for the source of the moisture. Whether it’s in the subfloor, or it might be an appliance that is leaking and has been left unattended for some time.
Laminate flooring is a common issue, in areas that are more humid. It is therefore important to acclimate your flooring to the room temperature and conditions of the room before installation.
What is Laminate Flooring Acclimation?
Laminate flooring should not be installed as soon as it arrives at your house. The newly arrived planks should be left to sit in the room it is to be installed for at least 48 hours. This process is called acclimation.
So, why does Laminate Flooring Need to be Acclimated?
Laminate flooring is porous at a microscopic level, meaning It has tiny holes in it even if it looks solid. These tiny openings allow air into the core of the planks, carrying the surrounding humidity with it.
The more humid the environment is, the more it swells, and the less humid it is the plank will shrink.
Therefore, acclimation allows the laminate planks to become “familiar” with the surrounding temperatures and humidity without being retrained. Once the planks are properly conditioned with its surrounding, it is time to proceed with the installation.
What happens if you don’t acclimate your laminate flooring?
If you don’t acclimate your laminate flooring you risk compression or expansion of the planks as they try to adjust to the current humidity and temperatures of the room.
This is when now your floor starts separating and forming gaps. Floor acclimation is therefore a vital step that should not be skipped during installation.
Prevention is always better than cure.
However, in some cases, even after acclimation you might notice that your flooring starts to separate.
Causes of Laminate Flooring Separating
The expansion and contraction of laminate flooring are basically due to the introduction of moisture on or under it. 9 out of 10 times you experience floor separation in your home, it’s because of the following reasons:
- Changes in humidity.
- Lack of proper acclimation before installation.
- Excessive water on the flooring.
- Leakages from an appliance.
- Moisture through the rising dump.
How to Fix Separated Laminated Flooring?
It is always good to make sure your flooring is kept as dry as possible at all times. In areas where you have concrete or areas where you can’t avoid water, it is good to use an underlayment with a water barrier.
Best underlayments for laminate flooring will guide you to understand how underlayments work and give you the best underlayments in the market.
The best way to fix this kind of damage is replacing entirely the affected area. Removing the affected planks and reinstalling the laminate planks all over again.
Follow these simple steps to perform the procedure:
- Find and fix the source of the moisture. There’s no point in fixing your floor without fixing the cause of the damage. This is to make sure this problem does not occur again.
- Slowly remove the damaged areas, carefully not to damage the subfloor.
- Remove the underlayment and dispose of it carefully. Mold is a health hazard. Make sure you use protective gear while undertaking this procedure.
- Remove any dirt on the subfloor. Let it sit for some time to ensure all the dampness is dry.
- Start by laying the underlayment. This time preferably uses an underlayment with a water barrier to prevent moisture on the laminate planks through rising dampness.
- Place the new laminate planks on the newly replaced underlayment. Make sure the design and the pattern of the laminates match the existing flooring.
What can I use to fill in separating Laminate flooring gaps?
If the planks did not have a very big gap, you don’t have to replace the entire area. You can simply fill in the gaps
You can use the following method to fill in the gaps:
- Rope strips method.
- Sawdust and resin mix.
- Matching Acrylic filler method.
- Wood Putty method.
How to Protect Laminate Flooring From Separating
The best way to make sure this problem does not occur on your laminate flooring is to make sure you don’t let any moisture sit on the floor.
Always make sure you acclimate your newly purchased planks before installation.