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  • Lanny Freng

They're Back...



They seem to be all the rage right now... LVP (luxury vinyl plank) floors. They are installed in the majority of new housing and are very popular for remodels. It is a great product, it looks good, is waterproof, and is very easy to install. There is always a "but" though. LVP flooring tends to develop gaps after it is installed and they tend to return time and time again. There are a few reasons why this happens, fortunately, it can be repaired pretty easily.


The "Why"- In most cases you are going to see this occur in high-traffic areas. Unless your floor is a concrete slab it is going to have some bounce in it which is called deflection. Continual foot traffic causes the floor to bounce just a bit but it is enough to work the tongue and groove "click lock" seams apart. Once they are separated they start to scooch over ever so slightly. Over time this can develop into a half-inch gap in some cases. Unfortunately, this is tough to stop from happening. Another reason this happens in areas less traveled by feet is an uneven subfloor. If there are dips in the subfloor it creates a void under the floating floor which gets compressed every time someone steps on it which in turn stresses the joints causing separation. Another reason can be temperature change. Vinyl products tend to shrink and expand quite a bit. If you have an area that is near an exterior wall that is not insulated well or a large sliding glass door this can be enough to cause separation.


So what do we do about it? For the high-traffic areas, it basically boils down to manual labor to repair it. A block of wood with high-quality double-sided tape can be placed on the plank a few inches away from the gap and tapping on it with a hammer will usually move it back into place. You may need to put a little weight on it to keep the tape holding. The pieces behind it may separate from the movement so you might be doing it a couple of times. Another option if that doesn't work is to get to the end of the plank run and access the edge. Often times it is covered up by base shoe/quarter-round trim which would need to be pulled up temporarily. A laminate floor pull bar works well for this. Hook it on the end of the flooring and tap it back toward the middle of the room.


Ensuring the subfloor is prepped correctly is often the easiest way to make sure gap problems won't manifest. Any low spots should be filled in with a self-leveling compound, a gap should be maintained around the perimeter of the flooring when installing to allow for expansion and contraction. If you have the extra $$ to spend on a higher quality LVP product do it. The thin economical LVP just does not have enough rigidity to keep separation at bay. It sounds like a deal when purchasing it but usually leads to this gap issue. Until next month...

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