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ClumsyCarpenter 11-22-2010 08:30 PM

Bubble in Laminate Flooring
Hey all,

Got a problem that is extremely frustrating.

About 2 months ago we purchased laminate flooring to redo the entire first floor of the house, ~1,000 sq ft.

We hired a handyman that has done several successful installations, and came highly recommended to us.

About a month ago, I noticed a slight bubble forming in our kitchen area, near a door frame from the dining room into the kitchen. This bubble seems located at a seam between boards, which made me think it was possibly due to insufficient expansion at a wall. It grew over the next few weeks to a point of being about a 1' x 1' "bubble". This bubble would lay flat while I stepping on it, but bounce back up when I removed my foot.

I had the handyman come back out, and after checking the molding around the room and not finding any tight expansion joints, he noticed that it appears our refrigerator was pushed up against the cabinets tighter than it should. He thought perhaps the pressure on the fridge was keeping the floor from expanding, so we removed the fridge, cut the cabinets to allow some room about, and put the fridge back. I set some weights on the floor to possibly help settle if that was the problem, but after about a week, no luck.

We had him come back out last week, and his solution was that the fridge had basically warped the boards due to the pressure and the only solution was to replace them. He tore up the kitchen installation (due to the water glue in a kitchen we were unable to reuse most of the boards) and reinstalled using the remainder of our extra boards. After he was done, the floor seems tight to the floor, with no bubble whatsoever.

That was last week, and I noticed today when I got home from work the small workings of a bubble has worked itself back into the exact same spot.

A few extra notes:
1) Kitchen area was a vinyl flooring. When we ripped up the old carpet in the rest of the house, the flooring was below that of the vinyl, so he put down sheets of plywood to raise the level. The area where the bubble occurs is very close to a transition between rooms, which is where that height change may be. I did not see how level the surfaces were when he put down the kitchen and dining room.
2) The span of boards this bubble is in reaches just about 30' lengthwise. The manufacturer's recommended length without a transition is 27'.
3) We have not had any major water spills or anything in the area.
4) We do have a moisture barrier underneath the entire flooring.
5) All boards sat in the house for 3 days minimum before being installed (during initial and reinstall)

Do any of you have any suggestions on what to do here?

I know he's checked around the room and not found any tight spots, but I'm thinking of checking again myself over the next week. But if I can't find any tight spots, I'm at a loss. I have definitely learned my lesson about not hiring an actual professional instead of "someone who's good at this." I refuse to believe that any bubbles are "natural."

Thanks for any ideas.

KCB 11-23-2010 05:31 AM

So you glued down a floating laminate floor in kitchen ???

ClumsyCarpenter 11-23-2010 07:01 AM

No no, it wasn't glued down. We used the sealant that we were told to use by the company we purchased our wood from. It basically seals the boards together, not glues them to the floor.

KCB 11-23-2010 05:38 PM

it sounds like stress is causing the boa cuppled with a leveling issue.Check your expansion joint around the entire perimeter of the floor(very important)More moisture will cause more expansion. Lay an 8 foot level accross the problem area or whatever level will fit,start looking for causes.Youll have some variations, look for extremes.
Is the fridge totally on laminate ? Is it possible to get the fridge off the laminate , setting it on its own laminate or tile tile platform?Normally laminate will move with weight on it but theres allways an exeption that it wont causing issues such as yours
Unfortionately youll just have to start trying things.

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