Category Archives: Flooring Guide

Causes of Common Laminate Flooring Problems

Causes of Common Laminate Flooring Problems

Image credit: Wikipedia

As an inexpensive alternative to wood or stone, laminate flooring has recently grown in popularity. It requires less professional expertise to install than other flooring types, and it can save time, maintenance, and overhead costs for businesses and homeowners alike. But maintaining a laminate floor comes with its own set of potential problems. This guide provides an overview of common laminate problems, along with possible explanations, and links to sites with helpful repair / maintenance tips.

NOTE:

If you’re looking for information on installing laminate flooring, you can check out the following links:

Creaking, Popping, and Cracking Sounds

Creaking or cracking sounds are usually the result of the laminate flexing under pressure.  A soft crackling noise may be heard occasionally as the laminate presses against the foam layer beneath it. However, if sounds are persistently audible over most of the floor, the laminate may have been incorrectly installed, or a number of precautions may have been overlooked.  The following video provides an example of a noisy laminate floor that may be in need of repair:

Here are some reasons that noises may occur:

  • Lack of proper on-site acclimation: The humidity and temperature of an installation site can drastically change laminate panels, causing them to expand or warp, especially if the panels have not had time to respond to a site’s conditions.
  • No expansion gap: As a preventative measure, a 6-10mm  gap should lie around the perimeter of a room with laminate flooring, allowing for some  expansion due to changes in the indoor climate.
  • Un-level sub-floor: It’s essential that the floor beneath the laminate has been adequately leveled; failure to take this precaution creates weak points in the flooring, forcing certain sections to flex beyond their capacities, and putting undue pressure on the joints between panels.

If you have a persistently noisy laminate floor, there’s a chance that it was not properly installed, and sections of the floor may need to be re-installed or repaired to fix the problem.

Bubbling and Curling

image credit: thefloordetective.com

  • Irregularities:Bubbling and curling are most frequently caused by irregularities in tension, moisture levels, and temperature.  Luckily, this problem can usually be fixed without professional help. You can find a helpful guide for fixing bubbles in laminate flooring here.
  • Problems with panel connections: It’s also possible that sections of the floor were not properly aligned when they were connected, or that something is wedged between two or more panels, causing an uneven surface. You may be able to disassemble a section of the floor yourself, to fix the problem, but it’s still advisable to contact a flooring professional if you did not install the laminate yourself.

For more flooring help, contact us. We serve all of Sonoma County’s flooring needs.


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What is the best type of flooring for a kitchen?

Flooring Guide

How do you choose the best type of flooring for a kitchen?  We can help.  To make the right choice, let’s first look at the properties of kitchens:

Kitchens:

  • Kitchens are high traffic rooms
  • Spills are common with lots of messy food products.  Ease of cleaning is very important. Water resistant flooring is crucial.
  • Non-slip flooring is necessary for safety purposes.
So, what are the options?

Vinyl or Linoleum Flooring for Kitchens:

The benefits:

  • Vinyl and Linoleum are more affordable than the other flooring options.
  • It is also the easiest of the options to clean.  Just sweep, and then mop with soap and water.
  • Vinyl flooring also has some give, so if you drop a glass, it may not break.
  • Vinyl is easy to install and is available in an endless array of colors and patterns.
Keep in mind:
  • Vinyl will melt if a lighted match or cigarette lands on it, linoleum can’t.
  • Linoleum can be used on countertops and backsplashes where vinyl cannot.
  •  Durability – linoleum can last 30-40 years where most vinyl cannot.
  • Linoleum requires an acrylic coating upon installation and then again annually where vinyl flooring does not.
  • Vinyl flooring is a synthetic product made of chlorinated petrochemicals and linoleum is made from raw and natural ingredients.
  • One of the drawbacks of vinyl floors is that the edges can curl.

Ceramic Tile Flooring for Kitchens:

The benefits:

  • Ceramic tile flooring is arguably the most aesthetic option.  It allows for a great deal of customization in terms of colors and patterns.
Keep in mind:
  • Though tile is easy to clean with a damp mop, the surrounding grout can be difficult to maintain.
  • We recommend using the largest tiles possible to minimize grout lines.
  • Tile can be hard on the legs and feet, and even harder on dropped dishes.  You can use a room rug over the flooring to solve these issues.
  • Tile doesn’t help with sound control in a kitchen.
  • It can be cold underfoot, unless you get Radiant Heating installed below.
  • If there is any foundation or standing water issues below the flooring, uneven flooring can cause the stiff tile to crack.
  • One of the drawbacks of vinyl floors is that the edges can curl.

Laminate Flooring for Kitchens:

The benefits:

  • For homeowners who like the look of wood, but want a floor that is extremely durable and requires little maintenance, laminate is an option.
  • It is easy to clean.
  • Laminate is factory-finished, and it can be put in over an existing floor.
Keep in mind:
  • Laminate looks like wood flooring, but it typically lacks the warmth of hard wood flooring.
  • Some people find it noisy.

Wood Flooring for Kitchens:

The benefits:

  • Wood comes in a variety of colors and types, and fits many decor styles.
  • It generally looks great.  You can also use a rug over the wood.
  • It’s easy on the legs and feet.
  • It’s a quiet option.
Keep in mind:
  • The maintenance and durability of a wood floor depends greatly on what species of wood is being used and how that wood is finished.
  • Wood is that it may scratch, but remember that wood floors can always be sanded and refinished.  See my post on refinishing a wood floor to learn more.

Bamboo Flooring for Kitchens:

The benefits:

  • Bamboo provides the look of wood, but is made from bamboo grass, a rapid-renewable resource.

Keep in mind:

  • If you choose bamboo because it’s eco-friendly, make sure the factory finish is formaldehyde-free.
There are pros and cons to each flooring choice.  Feel free to contact us for more help figuring out what’s best for your particular kitchen.  We can help you chose a floor that’s best for you.  We can work with all of these materials, and more.  We serve all of Sonoma County, including Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Petaluma, and Windsor.