Laminate flooring pops and cracks

Q: I recently put down P—- laminate flooring that has a backing on it, no underlayment, concrete floor is 20 years old. Now the floor pops and cracks.

A: Possibly some expansion happening. Did you leave a gap around the perimeter? Was the concrete flat? You could place a hygrometer on the floor and see what kind of humidity reading you get. If it is very high, say 65% or more, dehumidify.

Temporarily removing part of laminate floor

Q: The previous owner laid laminate flooring in the lounge. I need to remove part of the flooring to check the floor boarding underneath, because the floor has become springy near to the rear door. Is there an easy way to do this and preserve the laminate flooring that I have lifted?

A: If this is a click joint type floor and an expansion space was left along the side walls, Torly’s has a tool for removing panels in the middle of a room.

Laminate floor brand ID help

Q: Hello! Two years ago, I had a contractor install laminate wood flooring, which he purchased at Home Depot. I had water damage on a few and only need to replace 4 boards. I don’t have a brand name, but I think it’s Mohawk, maybe Shaw. There’s no model number, just a date stamp on the existing boards.

I’ve gone back to several Home Depots and at least 5 different speciality retailers to try and look at samples and can’t find a match. I’ve also ordered several samples from Mohawk and Shaw and have talked to their customer support, and no one seems to know how to help. I recognize these laminate manufacturers don’t always have a perfect match, but I was hoping to at least find a close match.

If I send you photos, do you think you can try to tell me at least the brand (perhaps based on the click lock system)? The boards measure 7.5″ wide x 47.25″ long. I can’t tell if they are 7mm or 8mm thick and there’s no underlayment.


A: I’ve never heard of a laminate that did not require and recommend and require an underlayment or padding. If the stores where you bought the product don’t know, I’m not sure how I can know? You have access to the same web sites as I do. I wish I could help. Did you contact the contractor?

Spilled carpenter’s/wood glue on laminate floor

Q: In the kitchen of the house we just bought, the previous owner spilled carpenter’s/wood glue on the inside of our cabinet doors as well as on the laminate floors. Is there any solvent I can safely use to dissolve the glue to make it easier to scrape it off? Any other advice on wood glue removal from laminated surfaces would be appreciated.

A: Not sure. Some wood glue will soften with water, but my suspicion is that what he used may not, but it’s worth a try to wet it really well (tape a wet cloth to it if you have to). Otherwise, I would contact the company that makes the adhesive. Some adhesives such as cyano-acrylate and polyurethane have their own adhesive removers. You might also try emailing Lee Valley Tools but you will probably need to know the exact adhesive that was used; adhesive name and manufacturer.

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.