When considering all-encompassing flooring solutions, wood laminates are some of the most extraordinary products currently available on the market. You will have a tough time finding many solutions that are as well-rounded and durable – and cost-friendly enough to afford an installation throughout your home. It’s exceptionally scratch- and impact-resistant, and it can withstand everything from dogs’ nails to high heels. Being economical, easy to maintain and versatile means that wood laminates are at the forefront of flooring solutions in South Africa. As with any product, however, there are some issues to watch out for to promote the longevity of your floors. Below, we explore a few common laminate flooring problems and how best to remedy them.
1. Scratches and Scuff Marks on the Surface
As mentioned above, wood laminates are superb when it comes to resisting scratches, scuff marks, dents and impact marks. They are ideal for high-traffic areas within the home and can last ages when taken care of properly. Commercial laminate flooring is even used for heavy-duty applications like malls, sales floors and restaurants. No flooring solution is infallible, however, and it is still possible for problems like scratches to appear when the floor is damaged enough.
Before trying to fix laminate flooring problems such as these, remember to never use a harsh tool such as a wire brush, sandpaper or scouring chemicals. Fixing those scratches or scuff marks depends on the depth of the scrape. It is possible to cover the issue up with pencils, markers, melted crayons or even coloured putty to fill up deeper dents. There are also repair kits for wood laminates on the market that one can use. These solutions can only go so far, though, and sometimes the entire plank will need replacing.
2. Boards that Show Bubbling
Wood laminate flooring is a beautiful addition to any home, but the seamless aesthetic it provides can be destroyed by water damage. This is because laminates have a core layer of fibreboard material that will swell if it meets water. There are plenty of new and improved wood laminate flooring products on the market today that significantly reduce problems like these because they are relatively water-resistant, but this does not mean that they are 100% waterproof. Bubbling is often an issue caused by water damage. Another cause of bubbling is when the expansion gaps in the installation are insufficient.
The best way to fix this dilemma is to firstly ensure that the cause of the damage is dealt with. Then, you will need to replace the damaged boards with spares. In some rare cases, it may also be possible to remove trapped air or moisture in the boards very slowly and carefully by hand.
3. Faded Areas Due to Sunlight
The aluminium oxide coating on higher-quality wood laminate flooring generally prevents problems like fading in sunlight. Exposure to harsh UV rays over a long period, however, can cause one patch to fade slightly more than the rest. As with all issues, prevention is better than cure. If you are planning to, or find yourself in the process of, installing wood laminates, ensure that you have a way of preventing direct sunlight from reaching your floors. UV-protection windows and blinds are a great idea to keep this damaging sunlight out. For small spots that already show some signs of fading, it is possible to paint over the area in a matching shade and then coat the area with a sealant. You can also use a rug or décor items to hide larger faded areas – but these will need replacing to fix. In the end, it is always best to invest in a superb brand and product from the start that will not fade easily and leave you with such problems.
4. Expansion Issues with the Boards
Many installers do not understand that an expansion gap must be left around the perimeter of the floor to accommodate expansion and contraction of the boards. Expansions and contractions are normal with temperature and humidity changes, and, without room for this, your laminate flooring will face problems such as buckling. From the get-go, proper installation is essential. If you are dealing with this issue, then it is possible to fix it by introducing expansion gaps to your floor, but this process can be incredibly tricky and is best left to the professionals. The best course of action in this instance is to phone a flooring expert for assistance.
5. Peaking Boards that Lift at the Seams
Sometimes also called “crowning”, peaking happens when your wood laminate floorboards’ edges press together so tightly that they begin to lift at the seams and create shallow peaks. This can be caused by inadequate expansion gaps, excess moisture in the substrate floor or any kind of moisture damage. For peaking issues that do not look too serious, introducing a wider expansion gap by cutting the planks can work, and more stubborn areas can be weighted down with a heavier object to try and flatten it.
Many laminate flooring problems occur due to improper installation techniques and low-quality products. Partnering with a national, industry-leading flooring solutions provider such as Top Carpets and Floors will ensure that your installation is done right and lasts for years to come.