Why Is My Laminate Flooring Moving? (Reasons + Solutions)

You may be wondering why your laminate flooring is moving. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many people have this question and it’s more common than you might think.

Laminate flooring moves when it’s not acclimated before installation, when it’s poorly installed, and because of water damage. You can prevent this by giving enough time for your flooring to acclimate, using underlayment that consists of a moisture barrier, and making sure that your underfloor is even during installation.

Laminate flooring can move for various reasons; even though this may sound scary, it’s something that occurs more often than you might think. The good news is that there are ways to fix the issue and even prevent it from happening again.

Does Laminate Flooring Move?

Laminate flooring does move due to several reasons. This usually happens sometime after the installation. You’d start noticing gaps between your laminate floorboards, which were not there at the installation time. 

Now, it should be pointed out that we are not talking about gaps that occur on the sides due to humidity and temperature changes. In case these are present and you’re unsure how to handle them, check out this article.

While there is always a reason for movement, it’s not considered normal for spaces to appear on your floor. If this happens, you need to fix the root cause right away before more gaps appear or, even worse, destroy the entirety of your floors.

How Much Does Laminate Flooring Move?

When the temperature and humidity levels change, your floorboards will shrink or expand accordingly. As a result of this physical movement, you may notice that some boards click loose and start to move along their length by up 10-12 mm at any given time after the installation process, leaving an empty perimeter around each side where there should have been carpet before. If in case you decide to install carpet on top of your Laminate flooring it might limit the floating floor’s movement.

Why Is My Laminate Flooring Moving?

As previously mentioned, there are several reasons your laminate flooring may be moving. But the important part is to understand why yous might be moving.  

  1. Incorrect acclimation

So we know that temperature change is one of the most common reasons your floorboards start moving. However, knowing this issue’s root cause is really important. Mainly, this occurs due to incorrect acclimation of the laminate planks at the installation time. Without previous acclimation, your floorboards may even end up buckling or developing bubbles. Or, it may also be because you didn’t let your laminate floor settle after the installation. 

  1. Poor installation

Whether you’ve decided to install your laminate flooring in A Herringbone Pattern or H Pattern, if your laminate flooring was not correctly installed, the chances are that improper installation could cause movement. One of these issues is, for example, the glue used for the floorboards obstructing the interlock system or, for example, if you’ve decided to glue laminate floor joints due to the risk of high moisture exposure. As a result, the planks move, leaving gaps amongst themselves. 

In addition, installing your laminate floorboards on uneven subfloor could also be causing movement. Planks tend to become undone when installed on a bumpy floor, leading to open joints. This leads to a movement in your laminate flooring, leaving gaps in between. 

  1. Water damage

Your laminate floorboards may get damaged if you continue to leave excessive puddles of water on them without mopping them up. Consequently, the spillage may soak in, or you may be using inadequate cleaning methods, which lead to the movement of the planks. Similarly, a leaking appliance or leaking plumbing left unattended could lead to the molding of your laminate flooring but also movement if left unattended for long enough. 

Can you and should you fix moving and shifting laminate flooring?

You can take several approaches to ensure that your laminate flooring stops moving and shifting. All you have to do is follow a couple of steps, and you can easily fix the moving and shifting of your floorboards. 

However, the question remains, should you fix your moving and shifting laminate planks or leave them as they are? If you don’t want to ruin the aesthetic appeal that the flooring adds to your space, you should take immediate action. 

How Do I Keep My Laminate Floor from Moving?

Preventing it would be better than fixing it when it’s probably too late. If you want to learn how to prevent your laminate flooring from moving, then you can go through the steps below. 

Moreover, you can check out the video below for visual instructions. 

  1. Make sure to Acclimate

The first thing you need to do is to make sure that your Laminate Floor has acclimated correctly. Laminate floor needs, like many other types of flooring, to acclimate before installation.

  1. Gather all the necessary tools

The first thing you have to do is ensure you have the right tools. Here are several tools that you need. 

  • Polyethene tape
  • Laminate flooring spacer, which you can find at any local specialty store
  • Polyethylene foam
  1. Observe the gaps in your laminate flooring

Before you get excited and start taking any action, you need to identify the problem areas. 

The spaces between the planks are important to pay attention to. Take a close look at whether they start closing up with changes in weather conditions. If yes, then you have nothing to worry about. However, if considerable gaps appear between the floorboards, you need to get to work immediately. 

  1. Installing correctly

Now you need to start installing your laminate flooring the correct way. And this means you need to have underlayment installed. Follow the steps below down to a T and stop the unwanted movement between your laminate floorboards. 

Step One: 

First, take some polyethylene and roll one layer of closed-cell foam underlayment on the clean subfloor of your room before you can start off with the installation of your laminate planks. Make sure to cover the entirety of the subfloor using the underlayment. Moreover, it would be best if you were especially focused during this process to ensure that there are no overlapping edges. 

Step Two:

Level your floor with care and attention to detail, making sure that it’s perfectly level within 3/16″ for every 10 feet. You’ll need an accurate leveler like these long rods or boards (depending on how far away from the center you want walls).

Step Three

Next, you need to secure the seams of the underlayment with the help of some polyethylene tape. The texture of the underlayment will create friction against the undersides of your laminate panels and prevent movement afterward.

Furthermore, remember to use an underlayment that consists of a moisture barrier to protect your floorboards from any damage in the future and an underlayment that is thick enough, but make sure not to use double underlayment. It would help if you had water-vapor control to ensure that a change in moisture levels does not disrupt your laminate planks.

Step Four

Now take the first laminate floorboard and place it on the left-hand side of your room. Be sure to start with the far corner to move in order. You will also want to verify that the laminate plank is parallel to the room’s longest wall if you are hoping for an appealing layout appearance. 

Lastly, before you lay your first laminate flooring, ensure it can be installed if you have sealed baseboards, so you don’t have to remove them to install your flooring. 

Step Five

Once this has been done, take your laminate flooring spacer and slide it between the short edge of the panel and the wall. This step aims to ensure that an expansion gap is created, enabling the panel to contract and expand at varying temperatures. In addition, it ensures that the laminate flooring only moves within the given spaces and does not form gaps. 

Step Six

Repeat the previous step once again and put laminate flooring spacers along the long edge of the plank. Leave no more than 6 inches intervals and arrange the multiple planks in a row. Thus, your floorboards will be secure from excessive movement. 

Step Seven

Then, take the short edge of your first plank and lock it into the next one simply by slipping the tongue inside the groove.  

Step Eight

Now, repeat step five and add the spacers along the long edge of the second laminate plank.

Step Nine: 

Lastly, repeat the last two steps and complete the first row of your laminate flooring. Voila! Your masterpiece of a room with floorboards that do not move beyond their given spaces will be ready. 


Do Floating Laminate Floors Move?

Laminate flooring is not attached to your subfloor, which means that it can slightly move whenever you walk on it. However, this is primarily due to tiny movements that are caused due to the underlay compressing beneath your feet. 

Should Laminate Flooring Move When You Walk on It?

If your subfloor is even and flat, then the vertical movement of your laminate planks will be significantly reduced. Given that your floorboards are installed atop a pad, you will always feel a little movement underfoot. Your footsteps cause the pads to compress, and the planks move alongside them. 

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