The luxurious look and cost-effectiveness of the vinyl plank floor have made it be the popular choice for many homes and an alternative to hardwood flooring. Nonetheless, it is also easy to install, clean, and maintain.
Regardless of how they are installed, vinyl plank flooring tends to buckle, whether it is loose lay, glue-down or click-together.
Your vinyl plank floor can buckle even after a few days of installing it due to several reasons that you might know nothing about the vinyl plank floor. Buckling is the cramping of the vinyl floor into ripples and the formation of gaps between the planks.
There are many reasons as to why your vinyl floor is buckling, and thus, it is worth understanding the causes to help you take the necessary precautions to stop it. They include;
Table of Contents
5 Reasons Why Your Vinyl Plank Floor Buckling
Extreme Temperature Changes
Vinyl plank flooring is sensitive to extreme temperature changes as it causes it to expand and contract. Due to expansion and contraction, the planks will shift and buckle with time.
Buckling occurs as a result of lateral pressure generated when planks expand under extreme heat and thus lead to cramping.
Low temperatures or cold weather cause the planks to contract, causing gaps to form between the vinyl floors. Also, planks that are near direct sunlight, like those on a window, door, or sliding window, are more likely to buckle because they get more heat.
However, heat also weakens the bond between the planks and the glue, which eventually allows the plank to shift and buckle over time, as is commonly seen in vinyl plank floors with fiberglass inner layers.
Therefore, if you want to minimize heat-induced expansion, you should employ these tips. They include;
- Install UV Film or Glass Tint: To reduce the effects of sunlight or block the passage of UV light to a room, either install a UV film or glass tint on the windows, doors, and sliding windows.
- Hang Thermal Curtains: Alternatively, you may hang thermal curtains to limit flooring damage adjacent to the above-mentioned areas.
- Install Luxurious Vinyl Flooring: Despite being expensive, installing luxurious vinyl plank flooring which is more resistant to extreme temperature changes than inexpensive options.
Trapped Moisture Underneath the Planks
Moisture weakens the adhesive that binds the planks to the concrete floor, making the vinyl floor susceptible to moisture intrusion if the concrete floor has a moisture problem that allows moisture to seep through the floor.
Besides moisture seeping up, if the seams between the planks are not tightly sealed, the water or moisture will seep through.
Due to moisture, the planks will be separated, provoking the flooring to buckle. Spaces that are prone to buckle due to moisture include kitchens, bathrooms, and very high traffic areas.
To stop the buckling caused as a result of moisture seeping, the following tips will lessen moisture absorption;
- Install Waterproof Vinyl Flooring: It is ideal to install waterproof vinyl plank flooring in areas that tend to be damp or humid, such as the kitchen, bathroom, and high traffic areas.
- Install Moisture Barrier: As a precaution, it would be advisable to install a moisture barrier over the subfloor. This will prevent moisture from dripping through the planks when installed.
- Place a Dehumidifier: By installing a dehumidifier you can reduce the chance of moisture accumulating on the planks.
- Use High-Quality Adhesive: For prevention of moisture seeping through plank seams, use an adhesive that is both heat resistant and moisture resistant.
Not Providing Breathing Space
When installing the vinyl floor, flushing the planks to the wall can cause the planks to buckle because there is no breathing room for expansion and contraction.
Since there is no room for expansion when the planks expand, they will bend and lift to allow other planks to expand.
Therefore, do not install the vinyl floor flush or adjacent to the vertical wall. Instead, you should leave ½ or ¼ an inch perimeter around where you lay the planks so that there is room for the vinyl to breathe.
Moving/Dragging Over the Vinyl Plank Flooring
Loose-lay Vinyl plank flooring is well known due to its durability and straightforward installation process without adhesive.
However, poor maintenance can cause the vinyl floor to shift and buckle. For instance, dragging or moving heavy objects or furniture over and across the floor places too much pressure on the planks.
Because of too much weight, the heavy object will pull the planks apart, causing them to buckle while leaving ugly scratches on them.
For that reason, you can lessen the effects of heavy objects by;
- Lifting heavy items above the floor surface to avoid putting pressure on the planks.
- If you intend to move a heavy object, the place felt pads under it to protect your vinyl floor.
Using Low-Quality Adhesive
A low-quality adhesive cannot resist moisture or high temperatures for a long period.
Due to this, the planks buckle and come apart because the adhesive is not effective against moisture and heat. We strongly recommend using an adhesive that can withstand both high temperatures and moisture.
Nonetheless, when installing the planks, the adhesive should be used properly per the designated application and working time as recommended by the manufacturer to ensure a secure bond and achieve the best result.
The Unevenness of the Subfloor
Poorly leveled or uneven subfloor makes the planks appear bumpy on the floor, which increases the risk of hitting the plank seams.
Continuous hitting of the bumpy seams release the adhesive from the planks and thus leading to buckling. Before installing any type of vinyl plank flooring, ensure the subfloor is even so that the vinyl floor easily resonates with the subfloor evenness.
How to Fix Vinyl Plank Flooring Buckling?
Follow the steps below to help you stop or repair buckled vinyl plank flooring.
Step 1: Remove the Wall Molding
Undo the wall molding around the wall perimeter for you to easily reach and remove the planks that need to be replaced.
Step 2: Remove the Adjacent Planks
Remove the planks closest to the wall and continue removing the neighboring plank on that row until you arrive at the damaged plank.
Step 3: Remove the Damaged Plank
After taking out the damaged plank, install a new one and then lock it in place.
Step 4: Changing the Other Planks
Place back the old planks while moving towards the floor and make sure you lock the planks as initially.
Step 5: Put the Molding Back in Place
Reinstall the molding. You are done!
Unlike click-together or loose-lay, fixing buckling Glue-down vinyl plank is a straightforward process. That’s because it does not require you to remove planks from the wall towards the one that needs to be replaced.
Instead, you dislodge the damaged plank, remove the old adhesive, clean the surface and reinstall the plank.
Once the plank is reinstalled, roll over the buckling area with a heavy roller to facilitate adhesion and minimize the risk of buckling. Once this is complete, allow it to cure.
Tips to Prevent Vinyl Floors from Buckling
Follow these tips to prevent your vinyl flooring from buckling shortly:
- To prevent ground-water slippage and mold growth, use an effective moisture barrier during installation.
- Use premium adhesives and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when gluing down vinyl floors to ensure long-term durability.
- The vinyl planks need to be protected from direct sunlight striking them directly by using curtains, blinds, or tinting the windows.
- You must roll the floor, as this is needed to secure the flooring down, as well as to prevent buckling in the shortly.
Maintenance Tips For Vinyl Plank Floors
Generally, adhering to the precaution and tips we have mentioned will help to minimize the buckling of your vinyl plank flooring before and after installing the vinyl plank flooring.
Read More on Vinyl Flooring
- Do I Need Expansion Gaps for Vinyl Flooring? (Explained)
- How to Fix Vinyl Flooring Seams? (A Step By Step Approach)
- How to Fix Gaps in Vinyl Plank Flooring? (5 Easy Steps)
- How to Remove Sticky Residue from Vinyl Flooring? (Full Guide)
- How to Clean Shaw Vinyl Plank Flooring? (Beginners Guide)