Why is my laminate floor bouncy?

Why is my laminate floor bouncy?

Although laminate flooring is known for being durable and resilient, you can occasionally experience problems – for instance, laminate flooring that feels bouncier than you’d expect. We’d never expect this from a Tapi product installed by one of our expert fitting partners, but if you do - what’s going on? 

This guide will talk you through the different issues that could cause laminate flooring to feel bouncy. We'll discuss our top tips to prevent your laminate floor from feeling bouncy in the first place, so it doesn’t turn into a troublesome trampoline.

How bouncy is too bouncy?

Whether you’re wonder ‘why is my laminate floor bouncy?’, or ‘should laminate flooring bounce?’; the first thing to say is that it could be normal. A minor amount of “deflection” (feeling the flooring compress and spring back underfoot) is actually a good thing – that slight give means the flooring, laminate flooring feels bouncy rather than your body, is absorbing some of the impact of your steps. Even a more noticeable bounce can be normal, as bouncy laminate flooring may take weeks or months to feel fully settled and sturdy.
So even if your laminate flooring is bouncy, it may not indicate a serious problem, but it’s worth keeping a close eye to see if your flooring does eventually settle, or if the issue persists. If your laminate flooring is bouncy, with no improvement after a prolonged period of use, there are a few different problems that could have occurred:
 
  1. An uneven sub-floor
  2. An expansion gap issue
  3. An issue with your underlay

Uneven subfloor

Another pretty crucial issue that causes laminate flooring to feel bouncy is an uneven subfloor. When your laminate flooring was installed, your subfloor should have been checked to ensure it was even, clean, and dry. Laminate flooring is very thin, so any unevenness on the subfloor will eventually begin to show as the floor settles into position – you can find out more about this in our ‘What is laminate’ flooring guide.

An uneven subfloor can be levelled out to get rid of that bouncy feeling – but we’d always advise calling in an expert to do it. There are many different types of subfloor – concrete, OSB and wood, and all can develop different issues and require different approaches.

Expansion gap issue

When you install laminate flooring or any kind of ‘floating floor’, there should be an expansion gap left around the edges of the room, concealed by the skirting boards or scotia. This is a space of around 8-10mm between the laminate and the wall which allows for the boards to expand and contract in response to temperature and humidity. If no gap was included, then there’s nowhere for any expansion in the boards to go but up, causing the bouncing sensation when you walk on the floor.

The good news is that this issue can be fixed by trimming away a narrow strip of laminate at the very edges of the floor to create an expansion gap. Theoretically, it’s possible to do it yourself if you have the right tools (such as safety equipment and a multi-tool with a circular blade). However, we’d suggest you have a professional do this as any skirting boards or scotia will have to be removed and re-attached later, which could damage either them or your plaster. 
 
Once you have your expansion gap, remember the bouncy floor feeling may not change right away as the boards need time to re-settle. 

Underlay problems

It’s common practice when fitting laminate flooring to include a layer of underlay beneath the boards, which helps with insulation, sound absorption and cushions the boards. If the wrong kind of underlay was installed, it could be to blame for that bouncy feeling – carpet underlay, for example, is much thicker and softer than laminate underlay. 

Even if you have the correct type of underlay it could still be creating problems if it isn’t lying flat: overlaps, kinks and creases will cause the boards to lift up and create bounce. 

Your only option is to bring up the entire laminate floor and relay your underlay, either replacing it with the correct type or eliminating creases or overlaps. Again, your best bet is to have a professional do this.

Check out our guide to removing laminate flooring to ensure you don’t damage any of your boards.

How to prevent laminate flooring from bouncing

Here are our top tips on how to stop laminate floor bouncing before you even install it:
 
  1. Buy great quality laminate boards and have them fitted professionally – a skilled contractor will ensure you never have issues with expansion gaps or misaligned underlay. 
  2. Let the laminate boards acclimate in the room where you’ll be laying them before you put them in – the manufacturers' guidance should tell you how long they’ll need. During this time the material can adjust to the temperature and humidity conditions in your house – so they’re less likely to undergo dramatic expansion or contraction after fitting.
  3. Have a flooring contractor check the existing subfloor for unevenness, moisture issues or any other concerns.
  4. Avoid cheap underlay as it may deteriorate faster, creating uneven patches and reducing the longevity of your flooring.
  5. Avoid moisture damage as far as possible – wipe up any spills as soon as they occur, never use a sodden mop on your laminate floors and regularly check your water pressure levels and pipes to avoid mishaps. 

If you find that your laminate flooring feels bouncy beyond repair, you can always come down to your local Tapi store to find our amazing array of laminate options to upgrade your flooring to a more stable option. You can also find other guides on different issues around laminate, vinyl, and carpet in our Ideas Hub

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