New laminate flooring buckling in front of doorways

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  #1  
Old 10-01-08, 11:27 AM
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Angry New laminate flooring buckling in front of doorways

Several months ago we had had laminate flooring installed in the bottom floor of our raised ranch. We purchased the laminate at Home Depot and had it installed by them as well. They came out to our house before the installation and did a moisture test. The laminate was in our downstairs for a couple of weeks before the installation, so it had plenty of time to acclimate to the surroundings.

All was fine until the summer months hit. For the past couple of months, the floor in front of the doorway to the downstairs has buckled and the floor in front of the bathroom downstairs has also buckled. Both of these areas do not have furniture on top of them, as does the rest of the downstairs area. The buckling extends across the length of the room in front of these areas. The buckling is so bad, peaking anywhere from 6 to 10 inches, that the narrow piece of laminate that they have going across the doorways on top of the laminate has popped off.

We called Home Depot and they sent a person out to the house. Unfortunately, I was not there and the person from Home Depot spoke to my very-rushed husband. The person from Home Depot said that we should install a humidifier.

Everything that I read on the Web about laminate buckling seems to indicate that the floor is supposed to lay flat despite any humidity if it is installed properly.

I don't know if the person who installed the floor did not leave enough space between the walls for the pieces of wood that extend into the doorways or if they may not have left enough space between the laminate and the other walls surrounding the room. They may have done it correctly, I'm not sure and my husband said that the person who came to the house did not pull off any trim to see if adequate space was left in these areas.

Does anyone know whether Home Depot should be able to fix the buckling or is their statement that the problem is because we don't have a dehumidifier an accurate one? It seems to me that the root of the problem would be in the way the floor was installed, not just that there is humidity in the air every summer. (We've got plenty of windows in our downstairs. It is not as if this is a basement.) I would hate to think that we have to deal with this problem every spring/summer/fall when it is humid out. If I'd known that, I would have never bought the floor...
 
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  #2  
Old 10-01-08, 03:57 PM
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As a first step, someone is going to have to remove some trim to check the expansion gap. I am betting there will be a few areas that are tight. If so, Home Depot has to repair at their cost.

How large an area is this floor?
 
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Old 10-01-08, 05:15 PM
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Home Depot provides a 1 year warranty and they will fix it if it's in that timeframe. As long as you didn't spill large amounts of water and such and abuse the floor of course.....

Did they install a vapor barrier as well?
 
  #4  
Old 10-03-08, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by semple View Post
The person from Home Depot said that we should install a humidifier.
Buckling is always due to moisture. So installing a humidifier would be rediculous. Most likely there is no expansion left between the vertical perimeters and the floor. During the humid season your floor expands and with no expansion left, your floor begins to lift. This is an installation issue that needs to be corrected. The base needs to be removed and checked.

I would also want to make sure that there is not a specific cause of the buckling other than natural expansion. Like moisture coming in from the doorways or a slab leak.
 
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Old 10-09-08, 07:28 AM
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Thanks for all your quick replies. I meant dehumidifier, not humidifier. The floor is 42 feet by 16 feet. The doorways are along the 42 foot section. There is no extra moisture, leaks, or spills coming into the room. The doors are not near an entry way.

However, there are support poles several feet out from the wall on either side of both these doorways. I lifted the trim around one of the poles, and think I may have discovered a source of the problem. As you all suspected, I think there is an issue with how tightly they placed the flooring against something.

The flooring butts up right against the poles. There is no expansion space there as there is for the floor that is up against the walls. I'm hoping that this is the only issue. I just placed a call to Home Depot to see if I can get someone out to the house to fix it. They said that the person who responds to installation issues is busy. Hopefully, he'll call me back soon.
 
  #6  
Old 10-09-08, 06:16 PM
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Improper installation. No expansion gap as REQUIRED.

But I am not there to inspect the floors in person, so it is just a guessing game.
 

Last edited by Carpets Done Wright; 10-09-08 at 06:55 PM.
  #7  
Old 10-13-08, 09:36 AM
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After several in-vain phone call attempts to reach someone at Home Depot who dealt with floor installation issues, I went down to the store myself.

I brought a diagram of the room and several photos I had taken after removing the trim to show that the floor had been tightly laid all around the three posts in the room. (The floor is buckling in the areas in between each of these posts.)

Someone is coming on Friday to (hopefully) fix it...
 
  #8  
Old 02-18-09, 10:13 AM
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Update on floor that buckled

Just an update FYI - After a visit from a Home Depot floor installer who confirmed the issue with not enough expansion space and then a visit from two managers to confirm that the issue was with the installation lacking expansion space around the poles (think they were there to confirm what the problem was and then to decide who was going to pay for the replacement floor, Home Depot or the subcontractor agency), my floor was replaced at no cost to me.

Because the floor is interlocking pieces, the entire floor on the side of the room where there was an issue had to be torn up and replaced. It was not possible just to replace the pieces around the poles and doorways.

They did a great job, and except for the hassle of having to be home for multiple visits to prove to several people in person that the buckling issue was the result of the installation not allowing for proper expansion around the poles and then all that goes with the dust etc. of ripping up and putting down a floor again, we were grateful that we had contracted with Home Depot. If someone else had installed the floor and there was an expansion problem, we could have ended up having to pay for the materials and labor to replace the floor ourselves.
 
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Old 02-18-09, 03:34 PM
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Thank you for checking back in! I'm glad HD helped you out and fulfilled their end of responsibility.

Post some pictures of the install. We like pictures. Upload them to a sharing site then post the IMG url back here in a post!
 
  #10  
Old 02-19-09, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by semple View Post
we were grateful that we had contracted with Home Depot. If someone else had installed the floor and there was an expansion problem, we could have ended up having to pay for the materials and labor to replace the floor ourselves.
I'm glad to hear they took care of your issue. Though if you hired someone that new what they were doing, you never would have gone through this. I only say that as your quote above seemed like an interesting take on the whole situation.
 
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