Why Is My Laminate Floor Creaking?

Written by andromeda agnew
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Why Is My Laminate Floor Creaking?
Finding out what's causing that creak in your laminate flooring can take some detective work. (Floor image by Einar Bog from Fotolia.com)

Laminate is a popular flooring material as it is cheap and versatile. In addition, compared to carpet or tiles it is also easy to lay and can be fitted by someone with little or no DIY knowledge. Sometimes, however, problems such as creaking can occur. If this happens it may take some sleuth work to find out what has gone wrong.

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Insufficient Underlay

Underlay is a padding substance that you must lay under artificial wood floors. It creates a cushion between the original subfloor and your laminate. Underlay evens out small bumps and helps to level minor inclines in the subfloor. According to DIY website Wood's The Best, if you have laid a bad quality or too thin layer of underlay this could be what is causing the creaks. A good underlay made of cork, rubber or foam puts less stress on the interlocking joints of the laminate, helping to prevent creaks.

Uneven Floor

Underlay can only do so much to level your floor. If your subfloor is noticeably uneven then your laminate will buckle and creak as it will be unable to lock together. If this is the problem then you must rip up the boards and re-level the subfloor.

Expansion

Creaking can also be a result of expansion. Wood is a natural substance and therefore expands and contacts according to temperature and humidity. As such, according to website Flooring and Carpets, you must allow for this movement by leaving a quarter inch gap around the parameter of the floor and fill the space with cork strips. Failure to do this will eventually lead your floor to raising slightly off the ground and creak when you walk across it.

Broken Joints

If the creaking is located in just one area, website Money Saving Expert suggests it may be that a particular board or joint is broken. This may not be immediately obvious as the crack has occurred underneath the board. If you think this is the case your only option is to take up the section to check.

Not Allowing the Laminate to Acclimatize

If you have done all of the above correctly and you still have creaking, the reason could be that your boards were unable to acclimatise to the humidity levels in your house before they were laid. They have therefore since expanded to an uncomfortable level and now creak. To avoid this problem, website DIY Fix It advises that before laying, take the laminate out of its packaging and leave it for at least 24 hours, in the room where it is to be laid, to adjust to air conditions.

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