Great value for money, easy to install and super stylish, quality laminate flooring remains a popular choice for UK households. Designed to ‘float’, the laminate boards usually click together over a water resistant layer creating a solid floor that’s durable and strong. Laminate is available in many designs emulating real wood, stone, slate and even concrete, finishing rooms to a high standard and giving the desired look often for a fraction of the price of the real thing.
But have you been put off installing a laminate floor by stories of problems like warping and peaking? Fear not. These issues do occur but there’s always a reason and they can easily be avoided, usually during installation. If you ensure that your laminate floors are fitted correctly and you follow maintenance instructions, there is no real reason why you can’t have a stunning floor for years to come.
Buckling and Warping
Moisture rising upwards from the subfloor is almost always the cause of warping or buckling and is usually due to an insufficient moisture barrier. If you don’t want the hassle of having to carry out a laminate floor repair further down the line, it’s best to eradicate the problems before they start. Make sure you install plastic sheeting underneath the underlay so that it extends 2 to 3 inches up the wall and you won’t go far wrong. This can also happen if your laminate is not one that repels water well, for instance if it’s suitable for bathrooms, and it gets too wet. So be careful when cleaning and mopping and ensure that any surface water is kept to a minimum.
Peaking is when laminate boards push together and touch resulting in a small peak which makes the floor look uneven. This is usually caused during installation when the all-important expansion gaps are overlooked. It is imperative to leave space for the floor to naturally expand and contract.
When planks are installed too close to walls or moldings, they may end up pushing up against each other causing peaking. If this has already happened there is a quick fix; simply remove the baseboard or molding and trim the laminate board so it has enough space. As this takes a while to bed in, weigh down the area where the peaking occurred for a day or two and you’re good to go.
Mould and Mildew
Again moisture is the culprit when it comes to mould and mildew on your laminate floor. Ensuring the waterproof plastic sheeting is installed beneath your underlay as per the instructions will safeguard against this. If, before installation, you find a hint of mould or damp in the relevant area, visible signs or a musty smell, it’s very important to locate the source. Treat the problem before the flooring goes down and you’ll have no need to worry.
Creaking and Squeaking
A laminate floor, just like a real wood floor, should not creak. It should feel solid underfoot with the only sound being the clack of your shoes. As with the other issues, preparation is everything and actually, most squeaks in laminate are due to one or all of the above issues. A floor can creak due to moisture being present, because there isn’t enough of an expansion gap or because your sub floor was creaking anyway!
So before your laminate is fitted make sure your sub floor planks are all stable and repair any that need it. Check for damp and ensure your waterproof layer is sufficient and create the recommended expansion gap around the floor.
So go on, be brave and fit that laminate floor you have always wanted. Follow these simple rules and you can enjoy the high end look that laminate brings with confidence. Check out our full range of laminate flooring now.
If you need some extra reassurance, book a free home consultation with one of our flooring experts who can talk you through your options.