Why does my laminate flooring feel bouncy?

June 7th 2021
bed on laminate flooring

One of the most common questions that we are asked involves a laminate or wood floor bouncing, lifting up, or breaking at the joints.

In this article, we explore the common causes of these issues and how they can be prevented.

Why does a laminate and wood floor ‘bounce’?

A laminate or wood floor will ‘bounce’ when there is a substantial gap between the underside of the wood/laminate plank and the sub-floor. The feeling of bounce is caused by the flooring moving downward when weight is applied (stepped on).

The flooring moves or bounces as it is not properly supported from underneath which puts added pressure on the flooring joints, in most cases causing them to separate, break or squeak.

Some reasons for the gap between the laminate flooring and subflooring are:

  • – The wrong or low-quality underlay has been used with the flooring and so it does not support the flooring joints adequately.
  • – The subfloor is not flat or uneven and when the laminate or wood planks have been laid onto it, they form ‘bridges’ over low areas of the floor and when the floor is stepped on it can bend or bounce.
  • – The floor has risen up over time, creating a gap between the planks and the subfloor. This is also known as buckling, lifting or humping.

Over-expansion of flooring planks

As with nearly any material, wood and laminate can expand and shrink with temperature changes as well as changes in moisture and humidity. So, when installing flooring it is important that it has time to acclimatise to the conditions inside the room before installing to reduce the amount of movement as much as possible.

When a wooden or laminate floor does expand more than it should, there are a few common reasons;

  • – There has been excessive water on the flooring that has been left to soak in. This is generally caused by a roof leak or spillage.
  • – It had not been correctly acclimatized before insulation.
  • – A leaking appliance or pipe has caused damp and moisture, damaging the floor.

The floor is lifting, buckled or humping

A wood or laminate floor can lift over time, creating a gap between the plank and subfloor.

Then, when weight is applied to the floor, further damage is caused as the joints weaken and break. Even a very small amount of floor buckling can expose the edges of a plank, which is not only unsightly but also dangerous. When this happens, the exposed edges of the flooring plank become damaged as they are no longer protected.

The floor can begin to lift up and feel bouncy for a few reasons:

  • – When the flooring was installed, the expansion gaps have not been correctly spaced. Because the floor has no space to expand into when temperature or moisture changes in the atmosphere of the room, it is forced up usually near the middle of the planks.
  • – A very heavy, static weight is resting on the floor. For example, a kitchen unit.
  • – The floor has expanded more than expected during unseasonally hot or cold temperatures or moisture changes. For example, floorboards right next to a radiator, or bathtub.

Conclusion

If your wood or laminate flooring feels bouncy, and you cannot pin down the exact cause, get in touch with a flooring expert and see if they can diagnose the cause.

Bouncy laminate can not only be unsightly but also hint to further problems such as damp, so be sure to investigate.

Check out our other flooring installation and care guides.

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