Laminate Floor Buckling

7 Replies

I bought this house in January and it was a complete rehab including the foundation. Now, the laminate floor is buckling in a couple of spots in the living room and am trying to figure out why. I had the foundation contractor come take a look and he surveyed the house using a ZIP level and there was very little variance in the house pertaining to the foundation. The general contractor I paid to install the flooring apparently did not glue the laminate floor boards and suspect this is the reason the flooring is buckling. The house has been vacant for awhile, so I have not had the A/C on and think the warmer summer air in the house has caused these unglued floor boards to buckle up? I need to figure out if the GC should have glued the floor boards in order to prevent a scenario like this? Is it common to NOT glue the laminate flooring??

If it is the laminate that pops together (usually looks like wood floor)

you do not glue them together. They are snapped together on top of a moisture barrier and are basically floating. One reason they could be buckling is the GC did not leave a big enough gap on the edge of the wall. They recommend at least a 1/4 inch on all side to allow for the expansion during hot weather. Not 100% sure if this is the problem, but defintely something to look into if it is this type of flooring. You could just pop off trim and see what the gap looks like.

I should clarify, I'm wondering if the bottom of the boards should be glued down? Not the snap together grooves.

No they should literally be floating on top of the moisture barrier and not glued down. Once glued down they cannot expand/contract in temperature or humidity changes

Maybe he DID glue them down. The boards can't move if that's the case, either. You'll have to do some detective work. Not likely if you did a total rehab, but if there's moisture coming up through the subfloor, there's another thing to look at.

Turn the a/c back on.  It's likely a moisture problem, or not enough space along the edge.  Laminate flooring is Never glued down.  Any significant amount of  spilled water on them will ruin them, water getting though the joints to the "engineered" backing, swelling up.

I had this problem when I moved into my house. It turned out there was a pluming leak in the wall and the water was seeping all the way to the middle of the room. I replaced the flooring with tile after fixing the leak. Mine was kitchen so very expensive but insurance
And home warranty covered most of the costs.

Hope that helps.


I agree with everyone stating it may be a moisture issue.  I'm in the process of swapping out my laminate floor with porcelain tile for this very reason.  Also, a couple of months after my parents installed their laminate it was ruined by a water leak. Based on my personal experience I'd never recommend installing laminate in any place you want to keep longer than a few weeks.  It is quick and easy to install though.

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