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When looking for the sophistication of hardwood flooring but with something more kid- and pet-friendly, laminate is a fantastic option, unless laminate flooring feels bouncy.
Laminate floorings are manufactured from pressed wood designed to resemble real hardwood. While laminate flooring looks simply outstanding, it is not impervious to the effects of moisture and can sometimes lead to all sorts of problems.
And when your new or old laminate flooring feels bouncy, you want to know why.
In most cases, laminate flooring feels bouncy when there is ample space between the bottom of a plank and the subfloor, which could happen for many reasons.
Should You Worry When Laminate Flooring Feels Bouncy?
Irritating as they may be, bouncy floating flooring is really extremely common.
Experts in the flooring industry commonly use the term “deflection” to describe the typical bounce rate.
There is some degree of water damage associated with bouncy flooring, especially if it is old.
But you should not worry much about it, especially if you have just installed the flooring.
You need to know that while engineered hardwood floors may feel stable right away, laminate floors may take a few months to settle following installation.
Tip: Always check the floor's care recommendations provided by the manufacturer before using anything to clean it.
How Bouncy Should It Be to Warrant Repair?
Learning how bouncy is too bouncy makes all the difference. In most cases, you do not require any repair, especially if the water seepage is not serious.
Laminate flooring seems bouncy because it “deflects” (compresses and springs back) somewhat underfoot as you walk.
It is actually a good thing and represents that the flooring absorbs part of the force of your footsteps.
Note: It may take several weeks or months for laminate flooring that is particularly bouncy to feel completely settled and strong.
What Causes Laminate Flooring to Feel Bouncy?
Whether or not you need repair depends heavily on what causes a bouncy feel in the first place. Once you have identified the root cause of the trouble, it becomes easier to fix.
In most cases, you notice that “bouncy” feel because of inadequate space between the subfloor and laminate planks.
If the space is too large, the floor will “bounce.” This is true for both laminate and wood floors.
Moreover, the flooring’s downward movement in response to weight application creates the sensation of bounce (stepped on).
It means that in the absence of adequate subfloor support, flooring is likely to move or bounce.
If the bounce is quite substantial, it needs to be fixed, as it puts undue stress on the flooring joints and often results in breakage, separation, or squeaking.
What Are Your Options to Fix Bouncy Laminate Floors
You may notice a gap developing for many different reasons.
For starters, it could result from using low-quality underlay, which fails to properly support the flooring joins.
Therefore, it is of utmost importance to avoid cutting corners when buying laminate flooring, as quality matters a lot here.
However, even if you buy the best quality laminate flooring, things can still go sideways. And it happens for a number of reasons.
Tip: Quickly clean up spills to remove potential stains and protect laminate flooring, which is particularly susceptible to water damage.
The Subfloor Is Uneven
When the subfloor is uneven, it leads to the formation of “bridges” when you install laminate planks.
Ideally, you should work with a professional because they can address the issue of an “uneven” floor at the time of installation.
How Do You Fix the Issue?
When you know your laminate flooring feels bouncy because of an un-level subfloor, you can fix it in a number of ways.
Consider Sanding and Grinding
If you notice only a small uneven area, you may want to smooth it out first.
Grinding concrete floors and sanding timber subfloors are two methods for achieving a uniform surface.
Mostly, rough surfaces are smoothed with rotating discs.
If your concrete slab has a significant bump in the center, you may want to consider grinding and sanding the area down to level.
Install a Layer of Plywood
When a joist leans, the bottom edge leans to one side. So putting an extra sheet of plywood on top of the joists is the way to go.
It helps make the floor more rigid and reduces the amount of bending that occurs from side to side.
You need to understand that the joists must be securely fixed to the subfloor in order for this to work.
It is essential to use construction adhesives and screws to fasten plywood to the bottoms of the joists.
Make sure the adhesive sticks securely by sanding the bottom of the joists with coarse sandpaper.
Note: Keep in mind that you may hear some squeaking if the subfloor and joists are not correctly joined.
By connecting the subfloor joists with bridges, the floor can support a more significant load.
First, observe if any of the original bridges are coming apart. Use screws to fix the shaky bridge first.
If it does not work, you may always build another row alongside the present bridging to provide the floors with more support.
More bridging should be installed on the rows 4 feet and 8 feet from the base of the foundation, if the joists span 12 feet.
Bridging can also be installed in the central portion of the span for adequate support.
Tip: Always use a soft-bristled broom or mop to avoid scratching the surface of your laminate flooring.
The Floor is Humping or Buckled
The planks of a laminate floor might lift over time, resulting in a space between them and the subfloor.
When you start walking on it, the joints weaken and eventually snap, causing even more damage.
Exposing the edges of a plank is not only ugly, but also dangerous, and even a small degree of floor buckling can cause this.
A few things can cause the floor to start lifting up and feel bouncy.
- The expansion gaps are incorrectly spaced, leaving no space for expansion.
- The flooring is under heavy weight, like a kitchen unit.
- The expansion is greater than expected.
However, sometimes, the issue is with the installation, but with the flooring itself.
For instance, laminate flooring has a tendency to expand and shrink with a change in temperature and moisture.
How Do You Fix the Issue?
If you want to minimize the movement in your floor as much as possible during installation, give the flooring some time to acclimate to the room’s conditions before you begin.
But, if you have already installed it, there are things you can do to fix bouncing floors.
Take Care of the Moisture Issues
Bounce is a common problem with floating floors like laminate and can be exacerbated by changes in humidity and temperature.
Laminate flooring is susceptible to water and roof leaks.
Therefore, fixing these issues quickly is crucial to preventing further damage to the room and the house.
Here are a few things to do:
- Keep an eye out for any sudden spills on the floor.
- Immediately wipe up any mess that may occur.
- Avoid wet mopping by planting a garden next to the room with laminate flooring.
- Control humidity using appliances and specialized technologies.
Consider Repairing Problem Planks
Avoid walking on the buckled area of your floor, or you may harm the locking mechanism irreparably.
After determining and correcting the cause of the buckling, the planks can be removed, damaged ones replaced, and the room reinstalled.
Here is how to repair it:
- Strip off baseboards before installing new flooring.
- Get rid of the laminate right up to the damaged area.
- Verify the integrity of the locking system.
- Check the condition of the planks and reinstall them if possible.
It is imperative that the cause of the buckling be fixed so that it does not recur.
How Do You Keep Laminate Flooring from Bouncing?
You can indeed do many things to fix laminate flooring that feels bouncy.
But sometimes, it is easier to take steps and avoid this issue from happening in the first place.
Do Not Cut Corners
Get high-quality laminate flooring professionally installed to safeguard your investment.
A professional contractor will make sure that you never have to worry about expansion gaps or uneven underlay.
Pay Attention to the Subfloor
Do not ignore any issues with the subfloor – it will come back to haunt you in the future.
A good idea is to let a flooring contractor inspect the subfloor for moisture issues, unevenness, and any other concerns.
Understand the Importance of Acclimatizing the Boards
Wait for the laminate boards to acclimatize to the ambient temperature and humidity for the recommended amount of time before installing them.
A significant expansion or shrinkage following installation is unlikely if the materials have had time to acclimate to the indoor temperature and humidity levels.
Tip: To keep your laminate floor fresh, be sure to carefully mop it at least once every two months.
If laminate flooring feels bouncy, you should not panic. In most cases, it is quite normal, especially for your newly installed floors.
But, if the problem persists, you may want to investigate it to rule out certain serious issues, including water damage.