How to Avoid Hollow Sound with Laminate Floors? (5 Tips)


One of the most common complaints about laminate flooring is that it can often sound hollow. This can be really frustrating, especially if you just finished installing it. So, what can you do about it, or even better, can you avoid it altogether?

You can avoid hollow sound with laminate flooring by ensuring an underlayment is installed, the subfloor is even, the expansion gaps are correct, and the installation method is done correctly. You can, as an alternative, glue or nail down the planks, but this is not recommended.

You may think that the only cause of hollow sound on your laminate flooring is bad installation, but there are more causes than you might think. The good part is that you can do something about it and sometimes even avoid it. With this guide, you’ll have all you need to finally say goodbye to the hollow sound that has been pestering you. 

Why Does Laminate Flooring Sound Hollow?

There are several reasons why laminate flooring can sound hollow. Most people think that the only reason is bad installation, and the solution is to reinstall their entire flooring. It’s not. In fact, this is not as common as you might think. Below you can check some of the prominent ones.

Problems with the subfloor

If the subfloor on which your floor is installed is not in the optimal condition, which means it’s either damaged or uneven, your laminate flooring will not sit on it evenly. The laminate flooring will make a hollow sound when you walk on or put weight on it.

This is also the reason the subfloor requires preparation before you install anything on top of it to avoid any problems in the future. This means cleaning and making it as even as possible.

Installation method

The method of installation is one that most people tend to think is the main reason why they end up with this irritating hollow sound. 

These days, almost all laminate flooring planks come with a clicking system, which is very convenient and quick. This also means laminate flooring with a clicking mechanism is not glued down to the subfloor. 

But because of this, there may be gaps between the subfloor and the flooring planks, making hollow sounds when you walk on them. 

Improper expansion gap

Laminate flooring is installed with an expansion gap because it contracts and expands in response to the temperature and humidity levels. However, the expansion gap needs to be accurate, or you may end up with even bigger problems than hollow sounds. 

An improper expansion gap can cause your laminate floors to sound hollow. This is usually because the gap will allow the laminate flooring to move. Thus, when you put weight on it, the movement will cause hollow sounds on the floor.  

No underlayment or wrong one

I know this sounds weird, but many people still install their laminate floors without underlayment. Well, no underlayment is like asking for trouble. The hollow sound would be the least of your problems

An underlayment that is too thin might also cause hollow sounds. So choosing the correct thickness is really important.

Does All Laminate Flooring Sound Hollow?

All laminate flooring will sound hollow if it’s appropriately installed or moves too much, does not have a proper expansion gap, or is an uneven subfloor. This means that there is no laminate flooring currently on the market that can mitigate these issues. 

How To Avoid Hollow Sound With Laminate Floors?

Fortunately for you, some simple tips can help you avoid the sound altogether. Check some of them here below.

Fix the subfloor

One of the most prominent causes is when the subfloor is damaged. Before you install your laminate flooring planks anywhere, it’s essential to prepare the subfloor to prevent such issues down the road.

You need to check the subfloor and ensure it’s not damaged, uneven, or dirty. If the subfloor is damaged, repair it before installing your laminate flooring, or else you’ll have to remove it later, which can be extremely expensive. 

Glue them down 

Another tip that can help you prevent a hollow sound in your laminate flooring is to go for another installation method. There is no doubt that the clicking mechanism offers a lot of conveniences and allows you to install the laminate flooring yourself. But this may come at a price.

You can either glue or nail down your laminate floor planks. This way, they won’t be able to move at all, so there will be no sound to worry about. But, it would be best if you used good adhesive to ensure the planks stay put. 

Note: Even though gluing or nailing down is not the best option, Laminate flooring should have room to expand and or contract. But if you’re sure that the temperature fluctuations are reasonable and you don’t have any extreme humidity changes, it should be fine. 

Measure the expansion gap

Measuring the expansion gap accurately during the installation process is a must. This means that knowing how much your laminate flooring will expand is something you should probably research. If you’re unsure, you get it done by an expert, which may cost you a little but will save a ton in the long run.

Use good underlayment 

One of the best tips to fix hollow sounds in your laminate flooring is to use underlayment that suits your floor. An underlay is designed to muffle any hollow sounds because it provides insulation. 

Furthermore, it helps in filling the gap between the subfloor and the laminate flooring, which is the best way to minimize any sounds. Different types of underlayment can be used for laminate floorings, such as rubber, cork, or even foam. Just make sure you use the correct thickness to get the best results. 

Opt for an adhesive product

If you do some research, you will discover that repair adhesives are specially designed to help people eliminate the hollow noise. 

This method might need some work, and you’d need to know what you’re doing because you kinda need to dig a small hole in your laminate flooring planks first, which scares most people. 

Then, you need to insert the tip of the adhesive product into the hole and inject it. Once it comes into contact with the subfloor, the adhesive expands and forms a layer of foam, and voila!

You can check out this video below to learn more about using this product.

FAQs

What to Do If Laminate Flooring Sounds Hollow?

If your laminate floor sounds hollow, you should first figure out the reason behind it. But usually, if no underlayment was installed before, installing one will fix the problem.

Do Laminate Floors Need to Settle?

Yes, laminate flooring needs to settle in the room where you want to install it because it needs to acclimate to the temperature and humidity levels. If it’s not allowed to adjust, the planks will not be conditioned uniformly, and their locking system will become compromised when expansion and contraction happen. 

How Do You Stop Laminate Floors from Crackling?

Laminate flooring usually crackles because of insufficient underlayment, moisture (dampness) problems, or if the subfloor is poorly installed. A good quality underlayment with the right thickness is essential to stop cracking. Also, ensuring the subfloor is prepared correctly is important. You should also add an expansion gap to the laminate flooring to avoid moisture build-up, or it will swell and make crackling noises. 

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