Laminate flooring is very affordable and a great replacement for hardwood. It is easier to install and even a DIYer can do it themselves if they want to. That is one of the biggest attractions of laminate flooring, easy installation. But the biggest issue with laminate flooring is that it absorbs moisture and swells up. Unlike tiles, which are great for use in bathrooms and kitchens, laminate flooring swells up when it absorbs water. So using them in such places is not a very bright idea. But regardless of the place you spill water on it, here is how to repair swollen laminate flooring.
Laminate flooring is a great choice for people who want to save up on labor money. People often use it in their houses and we can understand why. It has such an aesthetically pleasing look. Not to mention it is very light, affordable compared to hardwood, and more durable as well. Due to the process, they are made with, they can give either the look of marble or wood. And because of that, they are an exceedingly attractive choice for flooring.
But nothing is perfect. If laminate flooring was so perfect people would have only chosen them for every room in the house. Specifically, people who live in humid regions avoid laminate flooring. Because it can absorb moisture quite easily and swell up. But if it does swell up because it has absorbed water, worry not, there are a few ways you can try to save it.
Reasons Why Laminate Flooring Can Become Swollen
The main reason why laminate flooring can get swollen is that it has absorbed water. Because of their complex structure, laminate boards can suck water very easily. If you have dropped a lot of water by mistake on the flooring, it is bound to swell up. But what if for some reason it still does so, even when you have not dropped any water?
If you have used glue under the laminate flooring to stick it to the underlay it can swell as glue contains water. The glue dries when all the water in it evaporates. Water evaporates very fast, but it can be affected by the conditions around it. When you use glue under the laminated boards, they can absorb the water in the glue. If that is the case, don’t be alarmed. It will normalize after 2-3 weeks of time. If you want to hasten the process, use a dehumidifier.
If you have not used glue, and it still swells up, then there might be a leak somewhere in the wall. You need to address the leak before you can get to trying to repair it.
How to Repair Swollen Laminate Flooring
These days you can find laminate flooring that comes with a waterproof coating. But even that cannot protect it from an excess amount of water. Regardless of what way you choose to repair the swollen laminate flooring, first fix the leakage. If you spilled water then clean it as fast as you can. If the boards are not swollen, you should still dry the boards as much as possible. There are a few ways how you can clean the laminate flooring without taking it out.
Method 1 – Using a Wet and Dry Vacuum
You can use a wet and dry vacuum, which is the preferred method for sucking out any water under the flooring. Put the head of the vacuum nozzle right above the cracks between the laminate flooring. It will be able to take out any water that might have slipped through them. You need to be thorough with this process.
Method 2 – Using a Dehumidifier
A dehumidifier is a very important appliance for people living in humid regions. Regions like tropics have so much humidity in the air, that metal rusts incredibly fast. If it does not rust, it oxidizes. It does not help wooden furniture either. People have to coat all of their furniture in a sealant that prevents their furniture from absorbing all the moisture in the air.
So a dehumidifier reduces the amount of humidity in the air helping things dry fast. When you put it in a room, you can expect all of your metal objects to stay rust-free for a long time. It helps dry things slowly, compared to how things would dry fast under a blowdryer. When laminate flooring is swollen up, it is because it has absorbed moisture. Using a dehumidifier can help in drying it up.
Keeping a dehumidifier will keep things dry in your room. This includes the laminate flooring. If it has swollen up a bit, keeping a dehumidifier nearby will surely ensure that the floor returns to its original shape.
Method 3 – Using a Heater or Hairdryer
While this is not the recommended method, for those who cannot afford a dehumidifier, this can work. But it only works if there isn’t a lot of water damage. A hairdryer is a very common appliance and can be found in most homes. People usually blowdry their hair when they want to dry it in a hurry. It usually takes around 3-5 minutes to dry the hair completely. You can also style your hair using a blowdryer pretty well. This is why it is the preferred method of drying hair.
A heater is also an important appliance that can be very useful when it is very cold. People usually have electrical heaters which can be very useful in places where natural gas is in short supply. Electrical heaters, however, do consume a lot of electricity. So people try to use it sparingly. Both a heater and a blowdryer are something that can be found in most households.
You can use both of these to dry laminate flooring. But, as we said earlier, it only works when there isn’t a lot of water damage to it. But it can also damage the laminate flooring. It can cause it to shrink since using a blowdryer or a heater will dry the moisture in the boards too fast. It might cause warpage as well.
Method 4 – Replacing Laminate Flooring
If the laminate flooring is too swollen, chances are you will never be able to repair it or salvage it. The best thing you can do is replace the boards that are non-salvageable. Just cut the new laminate boards in the same size as the ones that are swollen. Pull apart the moulding, take the boards out one by one till you reach the damaged one. You will also need to replace the underlay of foam if it has absorbed too much water.
Underlay is cheap and so are the boards, but it can be a hassle to replace the boards. Try to use the first method initially, see if it helps. If the first method does not work, try the second one and the third one. Keep the fourth method as a last resort.
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Laminate boarding with all its qualities can be very fragile in the face of moisture. If you have tried both the first and second method, which does not require you to pull the boards apart, then your last choice is to replace the flooring. Sadly, that is the only way you can go once it has absorbed too much water.