why does laminate floor separate

Why Does Laminate Floor Separate?

Why does laminate flooring separate? I know from experience just how alarming it is when you notice laminate flooring coming apart. There are a few different reasons that this might happen. It could be because of changes in weather conditions leading to increased moisture levels. But, improper installation and faulty interlocking can also cause the separation of laminate flooring. It’s not very difficult to fix these issues, but you must first know all the possible reasons for the laminate floor coming apart. So, in this guide, I’ll explain why your laminate floor is separating, and how you can fix each issue.


Why Does Laminate Floor Separate? 5 Reasons

There are a few different things that can cause laminate floors to separate. This is a frustrating issue that can change the whole feeling of your room, making it look unfinished and poorly constructed. So, it’s natural to want to fix it. But, before you can fix the problem, you need to isolate the cause. Here is an exhaustive list of reasons why your laminate floor is coming apart:

1. Humidity Changes

Laminate flooring needs 35-65% of ambient humidity conditions to stay in place. If the humidity increases beyond 65% or decreases below 35%, the flooring starts to separate.

2. Not Being Acclimatized

Acclimatization is the process of conditioning any flooring to the specific environment (e.g.:- your home) in which it is expected to be used. If your laminate flooring isn’t acclimatized, it can start to expand or contract depending on the differences in humidity conditions from where it was constructed and where it is used.

The acclimatization process isn’t very complicated and takes close to 48 hours when done by an expert flooring installer.

3. Faulty Interlocking

Every laminate flooring plank comprises tongue and groove edges with a click-and-lock system. If a faulty tongue or groove was used during installation or there was debris in the groove system while it was being installed, the laminate flooring can come apart.

why does laminate flooring separate

4. Uneven Laminate Subfloor

The laminate subfloor is the bottom-most structure that supports the laminate floor on top. If the subfloor is uneven, it can adversely impact the interlocking system we discussed in the previous point, causing laminate floors to separate. Floor levelers are available in offline and online stores to help fix uneven flooring.

5. Not Leaving Expansion Gap

Expansion gaps help to cover the temperature and humidity changes in the room in which the laminate floor is used. The flooring installer needs to leave at least a 10-12mm expansion gap around the floor perimeter to prevent buckling.

How to Repair Laminate Floors that’s Coming Apart

Here I will discuss the exact step-by-step process for repairing laminate floors separating. You will need a wooden mallet and a floor gap fixer to follow the process on-ground.

Step 1: Clean the Debris

You need to do two things here:

  • Clean up debris between the flooring gaps, preferably with an upright vacuum cleaner.
  • Wipe the flooring planks with a clean and damp cloth.

Step 2: Fix the Laminate Floor Gap

Follow this sequence with proper care and attention:

  • Select the first laminate plank with gaps and ensure that you work outwards away from the wall.
  • Measure one inch and place the floor gap fixer accordingly.
  • Give sharp taps on the floor gap fixer using the wooden mallet till the gap is fixed.

If you are doing it DIY, there are 3 things you need to keep in mind. Don’t just give 1 tap from the wooden mallet. It’s important to tap it 3-4 times. You have to maintain a tight grasp on the floor gap fixer. And, tap on the floor gap fixer; don’t strike too hard.

Step 3: Apply Glue [Optional]

This optional step ensures that the laminate floor becomes spill-proof in the future:

  • Add glue to the groove and tongue of the laminate planks using a toothpick.
  • Push the laminate boards together in quick succession.
  • Wipe out excess glue to make the floor ready to use.

Instead of glue, you can use putty, provided you sand it down with sandpaper once the putty on the laminate floor gets dried.

How to Stop Laminate Flooring from Separating During Installation

Laminate flooring tends to move away during installation because of its floating floor setup. Follow this step-by-step process in the sequence mentioned herein to fix this issue:

  • Completely cover the entire laminate subfloor with polyeth closed cell foam.
  • Use polyethylene tape to secure laminate subfloor underlayment seams.
  • Place a laminate panel parallel to the longest wall space, preferably on the left side of the room.
  • Slide a laminate flooring spacer between the longest wall spacer and the short edge of the panel.
  • Slide 8 laminate flooring spacers on the long edge of a 48-inch laminate floor panel.
  • Slide the tongue into the groove of the second panel to lock the next laminate panel into the short edge of the first panel.
  • Add spacers along the second panel’s long edge, leaving a 6-inch interval between each spacer.
  • Slide a spacer between the wall and the short edge of the last laminate flooring panel to secure the first flooring row into its place.

You may have to repeat the process for the second flooring row to finish a room with two laminate flooring rows following the steps mentioned above. Once done, remove all laminate flooring spacers to make the floor fit for use.

Tips to Maintain Laminate Flooring

Here are some tips to ensure that your laminate floor doesn’t deteriorate and lasts for a long period:

  • Clean Floor Stains Promptly: Use a small piece of cloth to wipe out all liquid spills. Never try to scrub the stains with a padded brush.
  • Never Mop Excessively: Mopping with too much water can fade your beautiful laminate design. Instead, mop only once every two months with a DIY laminate floor cleaner.
  • Use Furniture Pads: Furniture pads act as an outer protective layer to keep dust away from laminate floors. Alternatively, you can use rugs and floor mats to add outer layering.

In Summary: Why Does Laminate Flooring Separate?

If you’ve read this guide till the end, you know that humidity and temperature changes are the main reasons why laminate floors separate. Therefore, it’s important to fix this issue using a laminate floor gap fixer and a wooden mallet. Cleaning floor stains promptly ensures the long life of the laminate flooring.

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