What's wrong with this floor?

28 Replies

I had a 13mm laminate floor installed about 6 weeks ago. The edges of the boards are turning up. I suspect the installer didn't give the flooring room to expand under the shoe molding. What do you think?  Best fix?

You are thinking moisture?  It's over plywood. 

@Jon Klaus ,

It looks like moisture to me. I don't think I've ever seen laminate raise like that.

Moisture. Take it up at the shoe and see if they laid a moisture barrier, if not take it up and do it right.

Did it ever flood? Would water stand over that area?

Expansion could have occurred and the floor contracted, otherwise you get a bowing effect in expansion and damage to the lap/T&G. 

When you have these issues you can shave and stain and glue and hammer to get it serviceable, I'd just replace it. And if your guy out it in, call him back and watch him next time. :)

sounds correct, edges will turn without room for expansion. if its not floating, if they secured it to the subfloor too tight, the turning edges will also occur. look into moisture first, however...process of elimination, logic will tell you what's actually occurring. id guess secured to subfloor too tight.

I just got new information. A washing machine flooded the room a week ago.  Next question: how can I get it to best flatten out?  Dehumidifier?   Flat weight on the floor?

You can try a dehumidifier and put some heat on and fans to it, you can see, but it may be had.  Insurance coverage? Tenant neglect? Or, did momma leave it overloaded to overflow :)

It's vacant, but my brother in law put appliances in and did their wash. 

@Jon Klaus  

Is this a rental, flip, or spec home?

You have moisture in the underside of the laminate - if there is a moisture barrier, it's not really your friend at the moment - though it is protecting your subfloor.  You may be able to dry it out with heat and a dehumidifier, but it is unlikely to lay back down completely.  If you do not get the moisture out, the cupping will get worse ... you will also get mould growth under the floor.

If this is a rental, and you can get the floor to lay down enough people are not catching feet on ridges, I wouldn't change it until the current tenant leaves.  I would also let them know they a liable for the floor, but if they live with it, you will prorate the damage - i.e. the longer they remain in the unit, the less the floor will cost them.

@Jon Klaus  What is the brand of flooring? Call the manufacturer and ask them what to do. You might ask for an email and send them a photo. Also, who did the install? Were they licensed? 

Originally posted by @Roy N.:

@Jon Klaus 

Is this a rental, flip, or spec home?

You have moisture in the underside of the laminate - if there is a moisture barrier, it's not really your friend at the moment - though it is protecting your subfloor.  You may be able to dry it out with heat and a dehumidifier, but it is unlikely to lay back down completely.  If you do not get the moisture out, the cupping will get worse ... you will also get mould growth under the floor.

If this is a rental, and you can get the floor to lay down enough people are not catching feet on ridges, I wouldn't change it until the current tenant leaves.  I would also let them know they a liable for the floor, but if they live with it, you will prorate the damage - i.e. the longer they remain in the unit, the less the floor will cost them.

 It's one of two guest homes on our ranch. I built a small addition this summer, so it's all new where the floor is damaged. I'll try to dry it and flatten it. If somewhat successful, I'll keep it. 

Originally posted by @Karen Margrave:

@Jon Klaus What is the brand of flooring? Call the manufacturer and ask them what to do. You might ask for an email and send them a photo. Also, who did the install? Were they licensed? 

 Good idea on calling the manufacturer. Installer wasn't licensed, but it wasn't his fault. It is water damage from a leaking washing machine. I found out after my first post. 

Originally posted by @Jon Klaus :
Originally posted by @Roy N.:

@Jon Klaus 

 It's one of two guest homes on our ranch. I built a small addition this summer, so it's all new where the floor is damaged. I'll try to dry it and flatten it. If somewhat successful, I'll keep it. 

 Jon:

We always install drain trays under our laundry units which are plumbed directly into the waste water system.   We also stick to tile or vinyl plank in areas such as bathrooms and laundry.

@Jon Klaus  

Another quick note:  Go gently on the heat.  While you want to draw the moisture out of the floor, you do not want to drive it too fast as there is a risk of making things worse at the seams.

In your part of the continent, it is likely already warm enough and a good strong dehumidifier could do the job on its own.  If you can lift a plank or two along an edge (preferably under the laundry units {you're going to install a drip/drain pan over the floor here anyway) it may help pull the water out from underneath.

As part of this repair, I would add the drain tray WITH drain line as @Roy N.   suggested.

The problem was clearly moisture, that's what laminate looks like when wet -- and, unfortunately, repairing the pieces -- i.e., flattening them out at the edges, etc., doesn't really work all that well.

On the plus side, the material is cheap, and if you can replace the area, you can also let it dry out completely.   Maybe the brother-in-law will assist...  :)    

All these can be eliminated by putting unwanted guests in that room ! It IS a guesthouse after all .

Jokes aside - get rid of that and put new ones. In the long run you will be happier. Also you put appliances in your guesthouse on your ranch - it dosen't seem like new flooring will be an issue to you.

HTH,

Tapan

We had this happen in a house about 4 years ago.  After drying out it mostly went back to original condition, with only slight cupping at the sides.  If your climate is dry then fans will be enough.  If not, I'd use a dehumidifier as well.  

So I agree with other posters here, but one thing I'd add: You mentioned its a plywood floor - make sure your crawlspace is dried out as well.  Even with a moisture barrier, some humidity gets through and you'll want to prevent mold in the crawlspace.

Good luck!

Looks like moisture to me as well, product should be warranted!  Check with installer or place you purchased the flooring from.

I'm a lazy redneck so here's cheap advice. Run a dehumidifier and a few fans on it for a day or two. Then get a torpedo heater and get a few feet at time hot to the point where the flooring gets soft. After that run a heavy steel floor roller over it. If that doesn't  do it then it's screwed just replace it. 

Sorry this happened to you Jon! I was about to be stumped, then I saw it was flooded. Edges of laminate don't do that for any other reason. Expansion will buckle flooring and only at the weakest link, not on every board. One of my customer had the same thing happen to very similar looking laminate. The darker colors and hand scraped look hide blemishes and damage much better than others. For future reference, if one can get a hogdog dehumidifier in immediately after flooding, often significant damage can be averted. The customer I referred to was able to rent a large commercial dehu from a carpet cleaning business and you'd never know it had been subjected to the abuse. Also, when selecting laminates, look for brands with waxed tongue and grooves. These are much less apt to suck up moisture and water.

Had a burglar rip the dishwasher out of one of my flips while I was traveling for a week. He wasn't considerate enough to turn off the water and the kitchen/living room flooded. Brand new floors looked just like this when I finally discovered it. I tried a bunch of things, but ultimately just ripped it all up and started over.

On a side note, Home Depot sells a really nice bamboo flooring I've been using. The thicker stuff, I was told by the rep that I just happen to run into one day, said you can line a swimming pool with it and it won't affect it. About two weeks later, my buddy who had recently installed it in his whole house, had a plumbing leak under the kitchen sink. It was soaking wet for 4 days. He ran a dehumidifier and some floor fans for circulation. I saw it last weekend and you'd never know.

So your brother in law flooded your new floor and didn't tell you for a week? He sounds a lot like my brother in law......

We just ripped out the entire kitchen flooring/hallway on a new purchase for the same reason.

We found the plywood underneath still damp even though the laminate had dried out & they had used the recommended underlay.

It was a full days work, two very sore knees & $425 to replace it with a better product.

This is why we don't put a vapor barrier under laminate laid on plywood. It will just hold the water in place under the laminate, exacerbating the situation.  Better to let the plywood wick away the water from the laminate.  Of course that won't help as much if there is a tsunami and the floor is in standing water. 

Waterproof flooring is best in areas likely to be wet.

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