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My laminate wood flooring creaks and cracks!
July 8, 2012 7:39 AM   Subscribe

My laminate wood floor creaks like crazy. How do I fix it?

I have a 3 year old Armstrong laminate wood floor. In the winter (lower humidity) it doesn't creak much but in the summer it's like walking on bubble wrap. Drives us crazy sometimes. We've already gone the route of warranty and installer. Each blames the other and we're stuck in the middle. There is enough room along the edges. It's not the gap. The subfloor is not that old and also solid. It's something in the laminate boards themselves. They flex a small amount when you walk on them and creak. Any ideas??
posted by Thrillhouse to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
We have a hallway with the EXACT same problem, down to the brand and warranty/installer issues. We've decided to eat the cost, pull it out an tile the hallway. I've had a couple contractors in who have all said there is nothing I can do to fix the existing floor short of bringing it to the dump. My woodworker / former builder father concurs with the contractor's assessments so it's being ripped out next month. Sorry I can't give you a more positive answer.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 7:45 AM on July 8, 2012

I think this is just a characteristic of floating floors. I've never seen one that didn't do that. I think what happens is that the tongue and groove part gets tight in the more humid weather and when you step on the right area, one plank "slips" just a little bit against the next one and causes that bubble-wrap sound.

My only suggestion is to see if there isn't some kind of underlayment that is "recommended" but not required by the manufacturer that might improve the sound.

Beyond that, if it was my floor, I'd be screwing or gluing it down. But that's not recommended and I'm sure I would regret it.
posted by gjc at 8:16 AM on July 8, 2012

What kind of underlayment did you all use? There are ones called "Quiet Step," etc., and then there is the cheaper stuff.
posted by slidell at 8:35 AM on July 8, 2012

I have an old-style floating laminate floor by a different manufacturer in the rest of my house and have no creaking or buckling and it's 10+ years old. It's the newer Armstrong in the addition that's horrendous. For the record, we have the top of the line underlayment- we paid more for the premium stuff to avoid this exact issue and yet...... So I'm not all that sure that tearing it up and re-laying the floor will solve your problem.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 10:03 AM on July 8, 2012

Squeaking is often caused by surfaces slipping past each other but catching intermittently at high frequency as they do.

So if I were you, I would try pulling it up and dusting the subfloor and edges of the boards very liberally with tire talc, perhaps dampening the edges of the boards in order to make it stick.

Tire talc because baby powder these days is almost all cornstarch-based rather than the orginal mineral.

If you do this, you MUST wear goggles and a dust mask (please).
posted by jamjam at 10:24 AM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Tire talc.
posted by jamjam at 10:25 AM on July 8, 2012

As much as I feel like there's no hope at all for this floor, I think I'll try to tire talc in the in the small section of floor in the hall just to see if there's any success. I appreciate the responses.
posted by Thrillhouse at 5:55 AM on July 9, 2012

If you go through all that will you PLEASE come back and tell us if it worked? That would be a significant savings for us if it did. Thanks!
posted by PorcineWithMe at 3:12 PM on July 9, 2012

Thrillhouse, did you try the tire talc? Update please!
posted by PorcineWithMe at 5:52 AM on August 25, 2012

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