Can Laminate Flooring Mold? (Solution & Prevention Tips!)

Is there really a chance that mold is growing on your laminate flooring? It sounds like a scary story people read online, but is it really possible for these types of floors to mold, or are we worried for nothing?

Yes, Laminate flooring commonly molds due to moisture build-up, but also leaks in the plumbing, rainwater, wear and tear and many other reasons. You can catch mold pretty fast by its musky odor or by dark green streaks on the planks. If your floor has buckled, this may also lead to mold in the long run.

You just spent a small fortune on new flooring and want it to last. But if you’re not careful, that new flooring could be the perfect place for mold to grow. The good news is that you can eliminate any mold when it manifests. Even better, you can avoid it entirely!

Can You Get Mold Under Laminate Flooring?

Unfortunately, you can get mold under your laminate flooring for many reasons. The good news is that when mold manifests under your laminate flooring, you would usually be able to detect it pretty fast. 

How Do I Know If My Laminate Floor Is Moldy?

Luckily, a few signs can tell you if your laminate floor is moldy. And these are signs that should make it easy for you to detect and take action early on. 

  1. The odor
    Mold has a distinct musky odor, and it can help you identify if there is an infestation under your laminate flooring.
  2. Buckling floor
    If water damage is causing mold to grow under your laminate flooring, the planks will start to buckle. When you step on the planks, they may become deformed or even crack. Also, if you’re wondering why your laminate flooring moves, this might be one of the reasons.
  3. The appearance
    It’s also possible to detect mold growth visibly because there will be dark green streaks on the planks, and the clusters will also start growing on top. Not a sight you want to be looking at every day. 

Why Does Mold Grow Under Laminate Flooring?

Mold growth under your laminate flooring is directly related to moisture. But it’s not the only reason. Some of the other reasons why mold may grow under laminate flooring are highlighted below.

  1. Leaks in the plumbing
    A leak in your home’s piping system can lead to mold growth under your laminate flooring. If there is a leaky toilet over or beside the laminate flooring, it will eventually lead to mold growth.

    Appliances such as leaky refrigerators, dishwashers, or washing machines can also be responsible. Improperly installed downspouts or faulty grading systems can also lead to moisture build-up that causes mold.
  2. Rainwater
    The weather can also play a key role in contributing to mold growth. Areas that experience seasonal hurricanes or frequent and heavy rainfalls are likely to see mold growth. The laminate flooring can become damp, leading to moisture seeping under the planks, creating the perfect environment for mold to grow. In the worst-case scenario, if your Drywall is touching your floor, it will inevitably soak it up and sustain heavy damage, as it would if it’s left outside in the rain.
  3. Wear and tear
    Over time, your laminate flooring is going to see some wear and tear. There can be scratching, peeling, or even cracks. This provides a path for the moisture to get through and under the planks, which can result in mold growth.
  4. Regular Laminate on walls
    Reusing old laminate floors for other purposes can be a fun DIY project. And if you’re interested, I have an article that explains everything you need to know about reusing old or leftover laminate flooring. However, if you use regular laminate flooring on your shower walls, you’ll undoubtedly end up with mold.
  5. Drywall touching the floor
    Drywall should never touch your floor, but if it does and your drywall is in direct contact with water, it could seep into your lamiante floor, which will inevitably lead to mold. Like regular drywall in your basement, water or moisture would equally seep into your drywall because it doesn’t have any moisture-resistant capabilities.

Is Mold Under Laminate Flooring Dangerous?

Whether mold is growing under your laminate flooring or elsewhere in your home, mold is always dangerous and harmful. This is because mold contamination can lead to health problems, such as respiratory issues, or can also trigger allergies. In addition, mold also tends to spread quickly underneath the flooring, and before you know it, your furniture will also be infested.

How Do You Check For Mold Under Flooring?

If you are smelling a pungent, musty, and earthy odor, then there is a good chance that mold is growing under your laminate flooring. You can check the planks to confirm your suspicion. Mold can also become visible on the planks, as you will see clusters growing on top of it.

If the planks have cracked or loosened, you can simply lift them up to check underneath. The planks may also have streaks of green that can warn you of mold growth. 

How To Get Rid of Mold Under Laminate Flooring?

Getting rid of mold is not such a difficult task. Below you have the exact way to get rid of mold without any hassle. 

  1. Take safety precautions
    When you start the process of getting rid of mold under your laminate flooring, the first thing you should do is ensure your safety. This is because mold is toxic and dangerous.

    Put on a mask and gloves before you begin. It’s also recommended that you wear safety goggles to protect your eyes, as mold splashes can often cause allergies or irritation.
  2. Make sure there is no water.
    Is the laminate flooring we? If that’s the case, you must get rid of the water first. Otherwise, there is no point in trying to get rid of the mold. Otherwise, it will cause it to continue to grow as long as there is water/moisture present. You can use dry towels, a mop, or even a vacuum cleaner to help you.
  3. Remove uncontaminated furnishings
    Not everything in the room may be infested with mold as yet. Therefore, you must remove any uncontaminated furnishings, such as mats or rugs. Leave them in the sunlight just to be sure and allow them to dry if they get wet. This is done as a precaution, so any mold spore that may have been left behind is eliminated. 

If the furnishings are also infested, you might need to say goodbye depending on the damage. I know this sounds overdramatic, but no matter how much you treat them, it’s really hard to get rid of mold 100%. It’s therefore sometimes better to put them in a trash bag.

  1. Seal the room
    The last thing you want is to have your entire household infested with mold. As soon as you find out that there is mold growing underneath your laminate flooring, seal the room immediately. All exits, like windows and doors, so it does not spread to other areas.

    Use plastic for this purpose and secure it with duct tape or pins. Leave one window open for light and ventilation. A fan can also be used for blowing air out of the window, but the fan should not be turned towards the mold patches because it will promote growth.
  2. Remove the laminate flooring.
    It’s time for you to remove the laminate flooring planks. This is where you have to decide how much flooring needs to be removed, which means assessing the area that has become infested. You may be lucky if the mold growth is restricted to one area.

    But, remember that removing the entire flooring is safer because mold tends to grow quickly. If even a little bit’s left behind, it will grow again. It’s best to start removing the planks from one corner, as this allows you to move quickly.
  3. Scrape the subfloor
    Once you have removed the laminate flooring, you must also check the subfloors for mold. If there is mold visible, scrape it off. 
  1. Discard the contaminated floorings
    It’s understood that laminate flooring and the sub-floor beneath it cannot be used anymore. You should put them in a trash bag and seal them right away. Don’t try to save them. It’s better to discard them because reusing them will be a risk.
  2. Wipe the area
    Take a gallon of water and add one cup of detergent to it. Wipe the laminate flooring with this solution. You can use a mop for this purpose. Bear in mind that you should not do this in a hurry. Take your time to wipe so every visible mold spore is scrubbed off. You can also use a brush to do so.  
  3. Treat with borax
    If your laminate flooring is still usable, you can treat and reuse the planks. Add one gallon of water to a bucket and mix a cup of borax in it. Put this mixture in a spray bottle and use it to treat the cleaned floor.

    Then, use a broom, or brush to spread the mixture evenly. Swabbing the sub-floor with a borax solution can also give good results. Wait for 10 to 15 minutes to allow it to saturate. It will weigh the mold down. You can re-install your laminate flooring now.
  4. Vacuum your laminate flooring
    It’s time for you to vacuum your treated laminate flooring. This can be handy for removing any inactive spore that has not yet bloomed and contaminated the area. A good vacuum will trap all the mold spores that have dried up and get rid of them.

    Moreover, vacuuming also ensures that the treated area remains dry and is not oversaturated with water. If the treated laminate flooring remains wet, it will allow mold to grow again.

    After vacuuming, spray more borax solution over the laminate flooring. Wait for a couple of minutes, and then use heat to dry the solution. Using a dehumidifier is also a good idea, so no moisture drop is left behind. The borax residue will ensure there is no growth of mold again.

How To Prevent Mold Under Laminate Flooring?

Why go through all that hassle of fixing it when you can avoid it in the first place? Luckily, you can avoid it, and it’s actually really easy.

  1. Keep the floor dry and clean.
    You should first remember that damp and dirty laminate flooring is a breeding ground for mold. A damp environment allows a couple of mold spores to become an entire colony. Therefore, it’s a must to keep your laminate flooring dry and clean at all times. If you spill water on it, make sure it’s wiped right away.

    It’s also a good idea to leave your shoes outside the room, as this prevents any extra moisture from getting into the room and causing mold growth. Have a regular schedule for cleaning laminate flooring, but make sure to use the correct products to avoid having a white film covers your floor afterward.
  2. Sealing your Laminate Flooring
    If your Laminate planks are not pre-sealed, you should ensure they are. Sealing helps with moisture build-up beneath your planks, ultimately leading to mold growth. You can use Silicone caulking or Polyurethane coating to seal, or some manufacturers offer specialty laminate sealers for their own flooring.
  3. Check for leaks
    It would be best if you kept an eye on your walls and other surfaces to ensure there are no leaky pipes or faucets. Even if there is a little drip, you should get it fixed right away to prevent it from causing more problems. Don’t delay getting a plumbing issue resolved because this only increases the possibility of mold growth.
  4. Don’t let water accumulate.
    If heavy rainfall or flooding occurs, your priority should be getting the standing water out immediately. The longer it stays, the greater the possibility of your laminate flooring developing mold underneath it because of the moisture.
  5. Get rid of any damp items.
    Don’t place any damp items in the room where you have installed laminate flooring. This includes everything from clothes, and towels to utensils, as even a little bit of moisture can give mold a chance to grow. As it spreads quickly, you will have an infestation on your hands in no time. Thus, it’s better not to keep any damp items near the flooring.
  6. Install humidity sensors
    These days, you can easily find a humidity sensor and install it in your home to prevent mold growth. The purpose of these sensors is to alert you when humidity is too high or too low. This way, you will know when there is too much moisture and can turn on the fan to get it out. You can even buy fans with humidity sensors, which will turn on automatically to eliminate excessive moisture. 
  1. Use a dehumidifier
    Using a dehumidifier in your room with laminate flooring is also a good idea. The purpose of a dehumidifier is to reduce humidity, and this can prevent the growth of mold. Excessive moisture will cause mold to grow quickly, so keeping it low is a must, and dehumidifiers can help you with that.
  2. Ensure ventilation and airflow
    Another way to prevent mold from growing under your laminate flooring is to ensure proper ventilation and airflow in the room. This is useful because it can prevent condensation and moisture build-up, which is known to create a moist environment where mold needs to grow. 

Appropriate ventilation ensures that the room’s air quality is improved and moisture content remains low, so there can be no mold growth or any damage from it. 


Is Laminate Flooring Mold Resistant?

Not all laminate flooring is mold resistant. Different types of laminate flooring can be found, and their ability to resist mold can vary. Waterproof laminate flooring can resist mold because the water is unable to penetrate the planks and go underneath, so there is no moist environment for mold to grow. 

Also, mold can grow around the edges where the wall and laminate flooring meet, even if it cannot grow underneath. 

As for water-resistant laminate flooring, it will resist moisture but will eventually soak through and can develop mold. If the laminate flooring is neither waterproof nor water-resistant, it will not be mold resistant. 

What Does Mold Look Like on Laminate Flooring?

You will see dark green or black streaks in-between the laminate flooring planks that look like a stain. Sometimes, it may appear to be slimy or fuzzy growth on top of the flooring as well. 

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