Does Laminate Flooring Bend? (Here’s Why & How to Fix!)

Worried about your laminate flooring bowing? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. A lot of people have this same question. That’s why we’ve put together a guide on how to prevent your laminate floor from bowing in the first place and how to fix it if it starts to bow.

Bending or bowing laminate flooring is not something unusual. It most commonly happens due to moisture and water damage. It can also be due to improper acclimation or the absence of expansion gaps, and lastly, an uneven flooring. 

You’ll be able to keep your beautiful laminate floor looking great for years to come with our helpful tips. And if you do happen to experience some bowing, don’t fret! We’ll show you how to quickly and easily fix it yourself.  

Is Laminate Flooring Supposed to Flex (Bend)?

No, laminate flooring tends to flex when adjusting to an uneven subfloor. Hence, it’s not normal for your floorboards to be bent because they often result in a damaged locking system, poor performance of the floor, and micro-gaps between the laminate planks. 

Why Is My Laminate Floor Bowing/Bending?

There can be many reasons why laminate floorings bow or bend. Some can be easy to avoid, some not. 

  1. Moisture and water damage.
  2. Lack of acclimation of the floor at the time of installation.
  3. The absence of expansion gaps that provide space for the planks to move.
  4. Small expansion gaps limit the expansion and contraction of floorboards.
  5. The room temperature was unusually low or high when laminate flooring was installed. Find all info about temperatures in this guide here.
  6. The absence of a vapor barrier on your underlayment leads to moisture damage.
  7. Uneven flooring.
  8. Floating restrictions prevent the floorboards from expanding and contracting as the temperature and humidity levels change. 

How to (Prevent) Fix Laminate Floor From Bowing

It’s not unusual to find a couple of minor scratches or see slight flexes on your planks. The good news is that this can easily be fixed with a repair kit you can find at any local store. These normally come with latex or acrylic putty, wax pencils, or crayons. 

However, if the damage is severe and the bowing laminate is stressing you out, then you will need more than just a repair kit. You can watch the video below for a better understanding or follow some steps explained below to fix this issue. 

  1. Start the process by removing the plywood, frame, or laminate baseboard.
  2. Next, lift the floorboards and begin the molding. Slowly and steadily, make your way towards the damaged plank.
  3. Change the damaged laminate flooring and the other planks you previously lifted by securing them back in place.
  4. Once all of this is done, feel free to replace the molding.

While fixing laminate flooring is not a challenging task, it’s tedious. Therefore, it’s better to learn how to prevent flexing from happening in the first place rather than going through the tiring process of fixing the entire thing. Following are several easy steps to help prevent your laminate floorboards from bowing. 

  1. The first thing you need to do is to take out all the baseboards present in the room where you are hoping to set up your laminate planks. Remember to cut below the edges of the doors and door frames.
  2. Next, utilize a vapor barrier to fix any moisture problem that you may have. There is no denying that water vapor can be the reason for your laminate floor undergoing some severe damage. Even if you leave water on your floor for too long, it could lead to irreparable deterioration. Therefore, a vapor barrier will ensure that your planks don’t get wet by acting as a plastic sheet and preventing the seepage of moisture underneath.
  3. Now, put the underlayment over the plastic sheet and secure it with the help of tape. Make sure that the tape covers the entirety of the seam; otherwise, you are at risk of the moisture making its way inside.
  4. It’s now time for you to place your laminate planks according to the instructions issued by the manufacturer. Keep in mind to leave ample expansion and contraction gaps to limit the buckling at the center of the room. If you don’t adhere to specific instructions, you will end up causing your floorboards to bow. 
  5. Once this is done, you can place T-molding in the doorways of your rooms. To do that, you will first have to mark and trim the floorboards accurately, allowing a space of ¼ inch on every side of the base of the molding. 
  6. Next, fasten the floor and molding together without securing the laminate in one place.
  7. Remember, the baseboards will not be attached to the flooring, and they need only be connected to the walls. This is because the planks need ample space to move, contract, and expand alongside the temperature and humidity shifts. 
  8. After completing the process, clean your laminate planks with a dry dust mop. However, make sure only to use a cleaner approved by the manufacturer. 
  9. Lastly, you need to acclimate your laminate flooring. Leave it be for enough time in suitable conditions to allow it to get used to its surroundings. However, it’s recommended that you set the floorboards in the middle of the room to keep the planks as far away from the exterior walls as possible. This prevents any significant change in the temperature experienced by the flooring. It’s important to remember that the longer you give to your laminate flooring, the better the result will be. 


Can You Bend Laminate Sheets?

Laminate sheets can be bent during production since it’s difficult to shape them manually. However, it’s not impossible to make small bends during the installation process to allow you to create detailed and neat work. You will not need heat for gentle or small bends either. But if you are hoping to make tighter curves, you will need to heat the laminate sheets. 

How to Bend Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring can be bent using the following steps.

  1. The first thing you need to do is measure the curve’s radius.
  2. If you are making tighter radius curves, then you need to ensure that you have the correct laminate flooring. Opting for vertical grade floorboards is recommended as they are of a thinner standard and make it easier to bend them without cracking. 
  3. Next, heat the laminate to around 170 degrees Celsius, but target only that area that you are hoping to bend. 

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