How to Fix Bubbles on Laminate Flooring: 6 Ways to Repair Swollen Planks

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How to fix bubbles on laminate floors

Bubbles on your laminate flooring are a sign of possible water damage or air trapped in the subfloor. An insufficient moisture barrier will always cause buckling and bending on the edges of the floorboards as well. So, how can you fix bubbles in laminate floors?

The best way to fix constant bubbling on laminate flooring is to get rid of excess moisture under the planks. Create expansion joints and use a dehumidifier in the room to reduce moisture content causing the bubbles and swelling. You may need to replace the subfloor and the water-damaged planks to maintain a uniform look.

Why is my laminate floor bubbling?

When there are bubbles on your floor, it means there’s a lot of moisture content in your floor’s underlayment and planks.

The laminate floor may feel bouncy and appear buckled due to expansion and contraction triggered by changes in humidity level and moisture build-up over time.

Here are some of the causes of bubbling on the laminate floor:

Why Is My Laminate Floor Bubbling? how do i fix bubbling laminate floor

Moisture damage

High moisture content is the major cause of damage on any solid or engineered flooring. An increase in moisture content will create continuous dampness that can cause bubbling especially when it gets to the laminate core.

Laminate floors are not water-resistant even though they can be waterproof. High moisture content will definitely make your laminate floor swell.

Tension between planks

Bubbling on laminate flooring can be due to too much tension between the planks. In response to temperature changes, the laminate floor will expand and contract. If there are no expansion gaps left the laminate will end up peaking, bubbling, or even buckling. Attaching the molding tightly to the floor may also lead to bubbling.

Water spills and wet mopping

Water spill and pipe leaks that haven’t been taken care of immediately as they happen will leave a swollen laminate floor.

Another problem is wet-mopping. You should not wet-mop or steam clean your laminate floor because of the injection of water or steam into the finish that can easily cause water damage signs such as bubbling and buckling.

Lack of expansion joints

Large area installations require expansion joints or small gaps between the joining sections of laminate boards. Excessively large continuous installations will lead to air bubble being trapped under the laminate boards.

Usually, poor installation methods increase the risk of water damage on wood floors. Ensure you measure your room moisture content before installing laminate. Even when the moisture content is at a normal level ensure its properly installed.

In case you install laminate over wood and concrete subfloors, ensure you don’t interfere with water evaporation and good ventilation of your house. Lack of installation of an effective moisture barrier on your floor may also cause bubbling.

How to Fix Bubbles in Laminate Flooring

To fix and repair swollen laminate flooring you need to establish the main of your floor bubble?. Here are a few steps to fix laminate floor bubbling-water damage.

Inspect Your Floor

Carefully inspect your floor the area that is bubbling. Walk on your floor to check any bubble present. If the bubbles are in one board it means the board has become damaged and needs to be removed.

In case during the inspection, you find a bubble at the center of the flooring seam. It a sign of inadequate expansion gap that forces then boards to squeeze and swell on seams.

Remove the Wall Molding

Removing the laminate wall mold near the damaged laminate board with air bubbles. Remove the mold carefully with hammer and screwdriver to avoid damaging the laminate floor molding.

Remove the Laminate Board

After removing the wall mold, remove laminate boards one by one until you reach the damaged. Slip the floorboard carefully from the locking mechanism with the connecting board.

Where the bubbling was a result of an inadequate expansion gap, you just need to fix the floor by relieving the board’s tension. Check the gap between the board and wall at ensuring its about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch. Fix it by cutting the board near the wall.

Replace the Damaged Laminate

Slide the new matching laminate floorboard in place of the damaged one. Insert the tongue of the board carefully into the groove of the next board. In cases of the peaked board, you just need to place a weigh on top of the peaked board after providing appropriate gap. This would help the flooring floor to settle without any other intervention.

Return the Flooring

Return the other undamaged floorboards to their initial place. Inspect your floor carefully to ensure there are enough expansion and contraction gap pon your laminate flooring.

Tip: Ensure the newly installed plank board matches the other planks to avoid color mismatch on your flooring.

Provide Appropriate Expansion Gap

Ensure you leave 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch expansion and contraction gap to avoid laminate peaking problems down a week or month. Below is a video of how to replace the water damaged laminate board.

How To Replace Warped/Water Damaged Laminate Floor Boards

In summary, visible air bubbles on your laminate are caused by high humidity and moisture content level content. Bubbling is fixed through creating expansion joints, the use of spacers and dehumidifiers, or even replacing the laminate board. Peaking is better fixed after identifying the cause. Minor bubbling can be fixed by busting and gluing the laminate together.

Can I repair swollen laminate flooring without replacing?

It’s possible to fix the bubbling floor without replacing the board. If the floor was initially glued down, the cause of swelling might not necessarily be caused by water or moisture content. Glued joints can swell slightly as they absorb water from the glue. This bubbling problem tends to resolve itself with time, within 2-3 weeks.

Sometimes a simple popping method may be used to get rid of the air bubble on the laminate flooring. Here a video of how to repair laminate without replacing using the busting method as explained in bellow video.

How to fix popping floors for less than $25

At times the moisture may have minimal or no effect on your laminate board. Such laminate boards can be salvaged by using a hair drier or room heater to dry the undamaged laminate board. However, if the board swells you may need to replace it. It is good to seek professional wood installers for advice before replacing your bubbling floor and solving other common locking laminate flooring problems.

Here a video on how to dry laminate flooring with water under it and fix a laminate floor that got wet without replacing.

Water Damaged Laminate Flooring-How To Fix It (Without Replacing It)

Tips to Prevent Laminate Damage

  • Never allow standing water on your laminate floor for a long time.
  • Always mop up the spills as they happen.
  • Avoid wet mopping laminate floor, instead, you can dry mop it for longevity.
  • Always use recommended cleaning products to avoid leaving behind a sticky floor after mopping or even cause other floor damages.
  • Maintain a 35-65 percent relative humidity level always. You can use dehumidifiers to maintain this relative humidity.
  • It is always wise to consult wood floor professional about your laminate flooring repairs and problems

Can I fix swollen laminate flooring?

The best fix for swollen laminate flooring is to disassemble the floor and install new boards after addressing the source of water that damaged the board. Remove the board, one row at a time until you get into the bubbling board, and replace it with a new one. This can be easily fixed by DIYs since laminate is mostly installed as a floating floor.

Is there a way to fix water damage on laminate floor board?

Yes, there is a way, but its a wok in futility. Extensively water damaged laminate boards require replacement with new ones to save on recurring repair works. When damaged laminate boards are repaired they are even more prone to bubbling and other wood flooring problems like buckling, warping, peaking, crowning, and cupping.

Can I dry the water under laminate floor out?

Water under laminate can be a cause of alarm, but, with best dry mop or vacuum you can dry it out. However, if the water source if from the sub-floor you may need to remove the board and rectify the problem.

What happens if the laminate flooring get wet?

Laminate flooring tends to be water-resistant, however, this doesn’t mean they are totally waterproof. Flooding and stagnant water on the laminate floor will end up destroying your floor. When the laminate boards get saturated with water they tend to warp, buckle, and delaminate.

How can I get rid of water under laminate flooring?

The first step is to get to the water source under laminate flooring. Once done, it may require you to remove the wet damaged laminate board. Allow the area to air dry or speed up the process through the use of a wet mop or vacuum cleaner to help absorb the water and dehumidifier to reduce moisture content.

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Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

4 thoughts on “How to Fix Bubbles on Laminate Flooring: 6 Ways to Repair Swollen Planks”

  1. On 12th October, we returned from a long summer holiday and found that our 30 m2 living room with seamed laminated floor, had been flooded due to internal water leakage from kitchen side. Fortunately, there is no significantly severe damage at laminate flooring, except little cupping at the seamed joints.

    How can I eliminate these cupped edges without any replacement?

    I can send you the current photos, if you provide e-mail address.

    Kind regards,


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