How do I fix damaged floating wood panels?

Q: I just purchased a house that came with “floating wood flooring”, I think that’s what it’s called. Wood on top of foam? The planks slide together.

My question is: How do I seal it and clean it? I don’t think it has been sealed, because there is some lifting in areas around the sink where it has gotten wet. Can the water damage be fixed or do I replace each plank?

One more question: there is one plank that moves and the foam will show then I have to slide it back into place. I think this is caused by not having a strip of wood in front of the dishwasher where this happens. Everywhere else in the kitchen has this wood strip under the counters except in that place. Can you help?

A: There is no coating I am aware of that can be applied to these floors. You would not gain adhesion. The panels are lifting because water has gone between them and damaged the core.

Not all laminates are created equal. Products from Torlys and Quick Step offer the best with low swell rates because of a superior core and less chance of water penetration because of a superior click joint.

The only thing you can really do is remove and replace the damaged panels, if you can find a matching product. That one panel which moves? If this is a pre-click joint floor, then it was not properly glued. If click joint, either the joint is damaged or the panel has not been properly engaged to the one beside it. Another advantage of Torlys laminates is that the panels can be clicked together even with the panels sitting flat on the floor. Most other laminates need to be lifted on and angle first to make the joints mate.

Silicone caulk in expansion space (laminate in kitchen)?

Q: I just installed a laminate “click” glue-less floating floor in my kitchen and foyer. I left an expansion space of about 3/8′ on all sides. The place where I purchased the flooring suggested placing silicone caulk in the expansion space all the way around since the kitchen may be wet, which I did.

Now that I’ve done that, I’m worried that the silicone might not ‘give’ enough to allow for proper expansion. Should I remove it before I place the shoe mold?

A: I think I would check with the manufacturer on this one. Some products require such caulking in wet areas such as bathrooms.

Can we install laminate over carpet?

Q: My mother is getting a floating floor installed in a Kitchen/Hallway area. The area has been covered by a rubber-back carpet with no pile, and is over 20 years old, but on a good subfloor.

Does this carpet need to be removed?

A: Yes the carpet needs to be removed. The laminate still needs a good base, and carpet does not provide that.

Laminate floor barrelling, curving on lengthside

Q: We had laminate wood flooring installed, but each plank where it is connected on the length is now “barrelling” or curving a little. What is the cause and is there any remedy for this problem?

A: An apparent moisture issue. Not all of these products are created equal. Torly’s and Quick Step have exceptional joints and low swell rates regarding the core of the product. If you are using too much water to clean this product that could cause the problem as could very high humidity or a leak.

Related Q: I installed M***** laminate floors in my house last year. There are several places where our cats urinated and the sides of the board turned upward, forming a ridge. This is a floating floor. Is there any way to repair this without removing and replacing the boards?

A: I have not worked with this product, but I do know that not all laminates are created equal. I believe you will have to replace this panel. Torlys has a tool that can be used to remove a panel in the middle of the room, provided an expansion gap was left along the walls.

I would also suggest you contact the manufacturer of your floor to see if they have any further suggestions.

How long will these laminate or prefab floors really last?

Q: We live in the very dry climate of Denver, Colorado. I have allergies, and we would like to install hardwood throughout the home. People keep suggesting prefab and laminate flooring, but I’ve heard they don’t last like real wood. How long will these laminate or prefab floors really last?

A: The good products (Torly’s, Quick Step) actually are very tough with an excellent core and click joint. Everything depends on the type of use/abuse it gets, but I would expect a floor like this to last 15-20 years. They aren’t as easy to install as one might think however, and the sub floor needs to be very nearly perfectly flat for a successful installation. In the end though, they are still a throw away floor. Solid 3/4 hardwood on the other hand can last for centuries if properly cared for.

Laminate floor making a grinding sound

Q: I recently installed Torlys engineered uniclick hardwood flooring in my big condo. Work was performed in two days by a Torlys certified company that sells and installs flooring. The problem I have now is I would say rather strong grinding sound coming from the floor as I walk over it (almost every step).

If I only had time I would have installed a real wood floor over 3/4′ plywood. Or at least I would have installed Mirage engineered over glued underlayment, i.e., something stable that would not produce this grinding all the time (does this come from uniclick mechanism?).

What are my options now? Can I sue company that installed the flooring? Or should I sue Torlys? Do I have any warranty regarding scraping/grinding sound produced by the floor? My underlayment for this Torlys floor is Torlys Accoustik 4-in-1, but it probably only sound-proofs the flat below my unit. Is there any way to stop this terrible sound?

A: It sounds like the concrete may not be flat. If this is the case, Torly’s does have a tool which can pull the panels apart in the middle of the room where they would then be able to insert some building paper to raise any dips.

I don’t think lawsuits are a good option to consider right from the get go. They cost everybody a lot of time, money and pain. Even if a judgement is won, that still won’t get you any money. What is needed is good communication and cooperation.

Call the company who installed it and call Torlys and have them send representatives to your suite and inspect what might be causing the issue. By all means, everybody should be fair and reasonable.

Can I put polyurethane on my laminate floor?

Q: Can I put polyurethane on my laminate floor?

A: If by laminate you mean the product with the hard, melamine like surface, then NO.

Similar Q: I have had my laminate floor now for about 4 or 5 years. I have not found anything that will give it a shine. Can I apply an application of polyurethane?

A: Putting polyurethane on laminate – a No! Phone the floor manufacturer to see if they have any treatment for their product. Otherwise, use a hardwood floor cleaner to see if that will brighten it up.

Transitional strip to join carpet and laminate on concrete

Q: What kind of transitional strip do you use to join carpet and laminated flooring on concrete?

A: Probably what is called a T cap, flat cap or dome cap. I would contact the manufacturer of the laminate or the store where you purchased it to get the appropriate strip.

Related Q: We are trying to find and install a transition from laminate wood floor to concrete floor. The gap in height is 7/8″ because the underlay and laminate itself are thick, and the reducer provided with the laminate is not big enough to cover this gap. We want to know how else to make this transition and avoid a tripping hazard.

A: There are a couple of ways you may attempt to deal with this step of almost an inch. You could install a piece of the laminate on the face of this step and then install a stair nosing made for laminate. That may be the best way.

Pulled up part of a laminate board

Q: While pulling out our stove it caught and pulled up part of a laminated wood board. How can we fit it back in, replace a single laminated board, without having to replace the whole floor?

A: If this has a better click joint such as Torly’s laminates do, and if you left a small expansion space along the wall, you should be able to push the floor apart about 3/8, drop the board into place and snap it in. Torlys also makes a tool to ease the task of replacing panels in the middle of the floor. That expansion space is essential for success.

Standard transition materials are not fitting

Q: After installing laminate flooring in a living room and bedroom, we realized the standard transition materials are not fitting in the oversized gap. What can we do to fix this problem?

A: It reminds me of the old saying ‘measure twice, cut once’. At this point, I think you will have to find someone who will make you a custom strip wide enough to cover the space. Anybody with a good table saw and a bit of skill could make something up.

Related Q: We have installed 3/4 inch hardwood in our living room and there are several doorways with different issues to transition to. The hardwood flooring product does not offer a carpet reducer and the color of the flooring would not be a standard match for a premade piece. Do you have any other ideas for something to go from hardwood to carpet, other than just rounding off the last board and butting the carpet up to it? Also in the kitchen, the tile is slightly higher than the flooring and I want something really nice there because it is the main traffic area. Not the old gold metal strips. Any non-traditional ideas?

A: Any retailer who specializes in wood flooring should also carry transition strips for just about any occasion. For the kitchen tile to hardwood you could use something called a dome cap. There is also one for wood to carpet. You would have to stain and finish it yourself.

Steam mop for laminate floors?

Q: Due to back and neck problems, it is very difficult for me to use conventional cleaners on my laminate floor. Is it safe to use the ******* Steam Mop on my Torlys Uniclic Wide Plank laminate (there are grooves between the planks)? Can I use a steam mop on laminate floors?

A: No, I wouldn’t recommend that. I would suggest you go to their web site and see their recommendations for cleaning their laminates.

Similar Q: Is it safe to use a steam mop on laminate flooring? I have Torlys uniclic flooring and I am considering buying a steam mop to use instead of the way I clean it now. Is there a risk of separating the laminate if I use a steam mop?

A: I would strongly discourage you from using a steam mop on any wood, engineered or laminate. Why not simply vacuum and occasionally use a micro weave mop and a cleaner recommended by the floor manufacturer?

Another Similar Q: I am considering the purchase of a D*** D**** Steam cleaner. Product information says it can be used on sealed laminate. I have Armstrong laminate flooring. What is sealed laminate?

A: I’ve never heard the term “sealed laminate”. I would suggest you do not use a steam cleaner on any laminate or any wood product.

Related Q: I have laminate hardwood flooring in my den and cleaned it with a steam cleaner. I forgot to put the protective pad under the cleaner when I stopped to answer the phone, so it sat in one spot for about 10 minutes. Now I have a spot about 6″ x 12″ that is dull and does not match the rest of the floor. What can I do to remedy this situation?

A: Using a steam cleaner for wood and laminate floors thereby injecting hot water at them is a definite wrong thing to do. It is likely that the only fix for this area is to remove and replace the damaged panels. If you know who the manufacturer is, you might want to contact them for a recommendation.

Previous owner used the wrong cleaner or possibly wax on floors

Q: We recently moved into a house with laminate wood floors. I think the previous owner used the wrong cleaner or possibly wax on them. The floors look dirty with a film on them. How do I clean these floors?

A: Any of the cleaners for polyurethane finishes could probably be used to remove the residue. You could use this one: or even one purchased from this site called Bare Floor:

Similar Q: I have a laminated floor that has a residue build up. I cannot get it clean. I recently used O***** G** for laminated floors, and I believe this made the film on the floor. I am ready to have a new floor installed. Any suggestions to make the residue disappear?

A: Here are a couple of cleaners you might try: Bona Pacific floor cleaner or one made by Swing Paints called Bare Floor.

Removing bubbles on laminate flooring

Q: Can I remove bubbles on laminate flooring?

A: No, but you may be able to change the panel(s).

Similar Q: After our installer installed our laminate floor, we noticed a few bubbles in it. What should we do? Is this a poor quality laminate or can he repair it? Should we continue? Thank you!

A: There shouldn’t be bubbles in the surface of your laminate floor. I would suggest it is a defective panel. Torly’s and Quick Step are top of the line laminates and it is possible to pull the floor apart in the middle of the room provided an expansion space has been left around the perimeter of the room. I don’t know about your product. The installer might have to start at the last panel installed and take it all apart, back to the bad panel(s).

My laminate floors are very dull

Q: My laminate floors are very dull and won’t shine when washed. What can I do?

A: I would check with the manufacturer to see if they have a recommended cleaner. I am fairly sure, however that Bona Kemi Pacific floor cleaner can also be used on laminate.

Another one which can be purchased on line is made by Swing Paints in their Circa1850 line called Bare Floor.

Edges raising in centers of laminate boards

Q: We had a laminate floor fitted 6 months ago, and some edges in the center are raising slightly. Also, there are slight divisions becoming apparent in some areas. Is this expected or should I complain to the fitters?

A: This type of flooring is supposed to be more stable than solid wood. Not all are created equal. what you describe is usually a symptom of excess humidity swings. During installation, a gap should have been left along walls to allow for any expansion. That may be an issue here as well as the product you had installed. I wouldn’t consider it normal or desirable.

Torly’s and Uniclick are 2 of the best

Q: We recently purchased Torly’s Laminated flooring with the 4 bevelled edges. It is supposed to be 9.5 mm thickness… What does this thickness refer to, the wear layer or the core? I am asking because we have only had the floor for 5 months and have found it is not standing up to the durability of the laminate in our previous house (only 7 mm thick and much cheaper). I am in fact very disappointed with the durability of the Torly’s floor – we have several scratches on it already, as well as dents, and we have not abused the floor. In fact, we are treating it much more carefully than the previous flooring that was used at our last house. Have you ever had any other complaints about the durability of Torly’s flooring for scratching and denting, etc.?

A: I try not to get too involved with laminates, because they are not a “lifetime” floor. However, Torly’s and Uniclick are 2 of the best. 9 mil, 7 mil etc., I believe refers to the thickness of the floor in its entirety. If you are not happy with it and feel you have a legitimate complaint, I would suggest you contact them. They do have a tool that can be used to remove a panel or plank from the middle of the room, and replace the board.

How long does it take for locking hardwood floors to settle?

Q: How long does it take for locking hardwood floors to settle? We installed locking hardwood floors in the living room and you can see the floor move when you walk on it near the fireplace.

A: Do you mean click joint laminate? It is floating, so some movement wouldn’t be a surprise. If you have a dip in the sub structure near the fireplace, that should have been levelled first.