Laminate flooring is a prevalent flooring choice in millions of homes. But one of the most common problems is that it can move when you walk on it, especially when it has been in place for years or decades.
Yes, it is normal for laminate flooring to move when you walk on it, but only a little. Usually, this shows that it needs some maintenance or is getting old. How severe the movement is will determine whether you need to do anything about your laminate flooring. A significant move in the planks should not occur.
I will cover some potential causes of this problem, what you can do to fix it, and whether you can leave it as is!
How is Laminate Flooring Installed
Before I get into the weeds about what condition causes laminate flooring to move around when walked on, let me share some brief background knowledge on what laminate flooring is and how it gets installed.
Laminate flooring is a type of synthetic material made up of several layers of wood-based materials that are pressed together and laminated. We then finish it with a protective coating to make it more durable and attractive.
We typically install it by floating the planks on top of an existing subfloor, meaning there is no need for nails or adhesive, and why it’s so popular; it’s easy to install, so a do-it-yourself requires minimal effort.
What Causes Laminate Flooring to Move
Now that you know more about how to install laminate flooring, I want to discuss why it moves when you walk on it.
The most common reason is that the flooring hasn’t been correctly installed and secured to the subfloor. If there are any gaps between the planks, then this can cause them to move around when people walk around them.
Another potential cause of movement is humidity and moisture. Suppose we expose your laminate flooring to significant humidity changes. Here, it can cause the planks to expand and contract, leading to gaps between planks or even buckling the flooring if it’s not installed correctly.
Finally, age can be another factor. Over time, laminate flooring will wear down and become less stable, and this can lead to it shifting and moving when people walk on it.
Should You Fix Laminate Flooring That Moves
The answer will depend on the degree of movement. You should not leave your laminate flooring unfixed if it moves a lot when you walk on it. If an installation problem or normal wear and tear has caused the movement, it could cause more severe issues, such as buckling or warping, if left unchecked.
It’s also important to note that any movement in your laminate flooring can increase noise and creaking when you walk over it. So, it’s important to address the issue sooner rather than later.
However, it’s also important to know that it usually isn’t a big or urgent problem if there is only minor movement. All laminate flooring might move a little just because it’s impossible to measure correctly.
Solutions to Movement in Your Laminate Floor
If you’ve noticed that your laminate flooring is moving more than usual and believe this to be a problem, then there are several solutions you can try.
One of the most common solutions to movement in laminate flooring is having professional installers re-secure it. How? Ensure all the planks align correctly, and that you adequately secure the flooring to the subfloor.
You can also try placing a piece of plastic sheeting between the laminate planks and the subfloor; this will create a barrier that prevents moisture and humidity from getting in, reducing movement caused by these factors.
Finally, if the flooring is older, you can consider replacing the planks to ensure that your laminate floor looks and feels like new.
Should You Hire a Professional to Fix Your Floor
When fixing your laminate flooring, the best advice is to leave it to the professionals. They will identify the cause of the movement and then come up with a solution that will not only stop it from moving, but also make sure your floor looks new.
So if you’ve noticed that your laminate flooring is moving when you walk on it, it’s best to get a professional to look and provide you with the best advice.
Risks of Leaving a Laminate Floor With Large Movement
Most of the time, slight movements on a laminate floor are acceptable. However, there are some potential risks if you decide not to do anything if your floor moves a lot.
Firstly, if an installation issue causes the movement, this could lead to buckling or warping of the floor, which can cause significant damage and require costly repairs.
Secondly, large movements on a laminate floor can also increase the noise and creaking when someone walks on it, which can be annoying and disruptive.
Finally, leaving a laminate floor with significant movement can also increase wear and tear as the planks are constantly shifting and moving, and this can cause them to become weak or even break.
Overall, laminate flooring can offer a beautiful and durable finish for any home. But if your floor does start to move or shift, then getting professional help is always the safest option.
There are do-it-yourself solutions to solving this issue, but most of the time, minor movements are not an issue. If you have a laminate floor that is moving, the first step is to assess whether the movement is significant enough to warrant any action. Then, you can make the right decisions from there.
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John Thompson, Writer and Commentator, EvolutDesign.com
Soldier, writer, researcher, consultant, and bon vivant, John Thompson is the author of numerous columns, op-eds, reports, briefs, short stories and books as the “Felicity Files” and “Spirit Over Steel: A Chronology of the Second World War” (version III). Often found hunched over his computer, or in his garden, and now often found doing both. His diverse talent has led him to work in industries and projects such as energy, security and home construction and renovation.