Laminate Flooring Water Problems

Written by kay miranda
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Laminate Flooring Water Problems
Water damage can ruin the beauty of your hardwood floors. (texture of wooden floor image by Elnur from Fotolia.com)

Laminate hardwood floors are a cost-effective choice for many homeowners to have beautiful, wood-like floors. Laminate comes in many finishes to mimic the many types of wood choices available. Beyond the cost effectiveness of the material, laminate is durable and easy to clean and maintain. One of the major drawbacks of laminate floors is the risk of water damage.

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Causes

There are several possible causes of water damage to your laminate floors aside from a major flood. Improper installation and poor maintenance are the two primary causes of laminate water damage. If the floor is installed over a concrete foundation that hasn't been sealed, you have the risk of ground moisture rising through the cement to the laminate. Not sealing the seams with a laminate sealer also will allow the laminate to be susceptible to water damage.

Effects

The effects of water damage can be minor or major, depending on the source of moisture. Spills that are left on the floor too long can lead to dark water spots discolouring your floors. Water that seeps into the seams or finds its way under the laminate boards can lead to swelling, cracking and lifting of the boards. It may lead to warped sections, bubbles and dimples along the floor.

Susceptibility of Laminate

Laminate is more susceptible to water damage than regular wood because of how it is made. Laminate is comprised of many layers of particleboard, pressed into a thin, hard plank. Real wood is homogeneous and can better withstand swelling and shrinking. Pressed layers are unable to shrink back to the original layer without high pressure. This inability to re-press itself leads to separation of particles and long-term damage.

Solution

Minor problems such as water spots can be fixed with simple home remedies. You can remove water spots by sanding the area lightly and applying vinegar for a few minutes before thoroughly drying the area. Cracks in the laminate can be filled with laminate filler if they aren't too large. Make sure you apply a sealer after you repair the areas to prevent moisture from damaging the wood. If there is major water damage to much of the floor, identify the issue first and replace the laminate planks that are beyond repair.

Prevention

When it comes to laminate floors, preventing water damage is easier than repairing most problems. Review the floor area prior to installing laminate to see if it is a suitable, moisture-free area. Seal concrete floors prior to installing laminate. Make sure the laminate is installed properly with a good laminate floor sealer to prevent moisture from seeping into the seams. Use a laminate floor wax at least every six months to promote shine and keep water from penetrating the seal. Finally, remember to clean up spills as soon as they occur to keep your laminate looking new.

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