No one really pays attention to their flooring unless there’s a problem. For instance, you may start to notice that your laminate flooring feels bouncy several years after installation.
Laminate flooring is known for being tough and easy to clean, but sometimes it can become surprisingly bouncy. This could be blamed on factors such as poor installation, temperature changes, and moisture under the subfloor.
In this article, we are going to discuss these factors and how you can fix your bouncy or spongy laminate floors. We shall also give you tips on how to prevent this problem from happening in the future.
Why your laminate flooring feels bouncy or spongy
One of the main reasons why your laminate flooring feels bouncy is due to the presence of a gap on the underside between the laminate planks and the subfloor. Due to lack of support, the planks move downwards when you step on them resulting in a bouncy feeling. Other reasons include;
1. Poor installation
One thing you should be aware of when installing laminate flooring is that too much space between the boards can cause the floor to move up and down.
This is because there’s not enough support for the pieces of laminate in between the joints.
So, you’re flooring already feels bouncy, it’s likely due to poor installation.
Make sure that your installer leaves no more than 1/8″ of space between planks, which is the maximum gap allowance for hardwood floors.
2. Not enough padding underneath
Another reason could be due to a lack of enough padding underneath the laminate floor.
Adding an underlayment is always a good idea when installing laminate flooring.
The padding helps to reduce the likelihood of the floor bouncing or feeling too “springy” as well as absorbing any impact and noise.
Check to see whether your floor installer added an underlayment. If there is none, consider adding one, which means you might need to have the floor redone.
There are a few different types of underlayment you can choose from, so be sure to do your research before making a purchase.
Some higher-quality underlayments even offer noise and vibration reduction, which can be a bonus if you’re someone who’s sensitive to sound.
3. Uneven subfloor
If the subfloor wasn’t properly prepared before the laminate was installed, your floor is likely to feel bouncy over time.
This can also happen if the laminate is placed over the carpet so you have to fix this so as to prevent further damage to the laminate planks.
You can fix this using a shim on the low spots on the subfloor or using a self-leveling compound to fill in any low spots.
4. Temperature changes
It’s not just laminates but most flooring materials and particularly wood floors expand and contract with changes in temperature.
For example, in the winter when it’s cold, your laminate floor may feel a bit stiffer or more rigid.
Conversely, when it’s hot in the summer, you may notice that your laminate feels a bit softer or more flexible. Although this is perfectly normal because laminate material expands due to the heat, your floor might feel bouncier than usual.
In general, though, there’s nothing to worry about with regard to this issue. But to prevent this effect, installers normally use floor spacers during installation. This enables them to leave enough gaps to allow for the expansion and contraction of the floor.
5. Moisture or water damage
One of the few disadvantages of laminate flooring is that it is not waterproof. So if your laminate flooring feels spongy, it may be due to water moisture damage.
This can happen if there’s been a leak or flooding and the water gets absorbed by the laminate boards.
Also, it can happen if the subfloor wasn’t properly sealed with a moisture barrier before the laminate was installed.
If you suspect moisture damage, you’ll need to have a professional check it out and make repairs as necessary. In the meantime, try to keep the area dry and clean to prevent further damage.
6. Laminate floor is damaged
Laminate floors can also be damaged by termites. Termites can do a lot of damage to wood, including laminate flooring, and cause it the move up and down and become bouncy.
If you suspect termite damage, you need to get them taken care of immediately because they can eat through the wood and worsen the problem.
Luckily, if your flooring is damaged by termites, you may be able to repair it yourself if the damage is not too severe.
However, if the damage is more serious, you will need to replace the entire floor with the help of a professional installer.
You should also have an inspection done to make sure that there are no more termites in your home.
Termites can be very harmful and can cause a lot of damage, so it’s important to take care of them as soon as possible.
How to fix your bouncy laminate floor in 3 ways
Check for expansion
During the installation of laminate flooring, spacers are added in order to allow the floor to expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity.
Without them, the laminate could crack or warp over time due to environmental changes.
Additionally, expansion spacers help to evenly distribute weight across the flooring and prevent bouncing, rising up, and buckling.
If you notice your laminate floor is rising up, check along the baseboard for signs of expansion.
Lack of expansion gaps causes the floor to expand during hot water and squeeze against the wall causing the middle planks to rise up.
The solution to this is to add Tfloor laminate flooring spacers so as to leave enough space between the laminate planks and the wall and allow for expansion.
Check the underlayment
If you were not present when the laminate floor was being installed, check to see whether there is an underlayment underneath.
If it’s present, find out whether it was installed properly and which type of underlayment was used.
Foam and cork underlayments are usually considered the best for laminate floors due to their thickness, and ability to absorb sound and prevent moisture from the subfloor.
Deal with the moisture
If moisture damage is the cause of the bouncy feeling, you need to identify the source of the moisture and deal with it.
For instance, your underground pipes might be leaking and causing the water to seep through the subfloor to the laminate boards. In this case, you will want to fix the damaged pipes to prevent leakage.
Make sure that you properly seal the seams between the planks if the laminate floor is installed in areas prone to moisture such as near a bathroom and entryways.
You can seal the edges with construction adhesive and also be sure to caulk around any doorways or other entrances that lead to the outside.
Make sure the subfloor is even
It must be flat and level so that the laminate flooring can be installed correctly.
To make a subfloor even use a self-leveling compound such as SAVOGRAN Floor Leveler.
The self-leveling compound is a type of mortar used to fill in gaps and level surfaces before planks, tiles, or other finishes are applied.
It is designed to flow easily and can be smoothed out using a trowel or roller.
Another way to even out the subfloor is to use shims to adjust the height of the low spots. You can find these shims at most hardware stores.
You need to first identify where the low spots are and place the shim under the spot and tap it with a hammer until it’s level with the rest of the floor.
And finally, you can use a floor leveler to fill in any gaps or cracks in the subfloor.
If you are wondering why your laminate floor flexes or moves when you walk on it, it could be due to one or more reasons as explained above.
In summary, it could be due to;
1. A gap on the underside due to poor installation
2. Lack of enough padding underneath
3. Your subfloor is uneven
4. Expansion and contraction due to changes in temperature
5. Damaged laminate floor. This could be due to exposure to moisture or water since it’s not waterproof or by termites.
Whatever the cause, you will need to fix the floor as soon as possible to prevent further damage. You can fix it through simple DIY techniques but the best solution is to call a professional laminate floor installer for assistance.