Although laminate flooring is moisture resistant, fluctuating humidity levels cause laminate planks to expand, which is normal. All properly installed laminate floors contain 1/4-inch gaps next to walls and fixtures to allow room for the laminate boards to expand. Without expansion gaps, laminate flooring boards are unable to naturally swell and therefore become susceptible to cracking and warping from compression. Although they are essential, expansion gaps allow entryways for spills to seep underneath laminate flooring planks and damage the flooring's core. Sealing gaps in laminate flooring makes them more visually appealing and inhibits spills from seeping underneath laminate planks.
Things You'll Need
- Vacuum with attachment
- Masking tape
- 100-percent silicone caulk
- Utility knife
- Nail or other pointed object
- Caulk gun
Vacuum the gaps between the laminate floorboards to extract dust and grime. Glide the vacuum’s attachment over the gaps until they are clean.
Adhere masking tape to the edges of the laminate boards along the gaps. In addition, mask off any fixtures or baseboards along the gaps.
Clip the tip off of a cartridge of 100-percent silicone caulk using a utility knife. Cut the nozzle’s tip at a 45-degree angle, making the nozzle’s opening slightly smaller than the gaps you plan to seal.
Puncture the foil seal within the caulk cartridge’s nozzle using a nail or other pointed object. Pull the caulk gun’s plunger handle all of the way back, and then snap the caulk cartridge inside the caulk gun. Position the base of the cartridge tightly against the gun’s plunger. Put the tip of the cartridge into the clip at the end of the gun opposite from the plunger.
Squeeze the caulk gun’s trigger several times to build up pressure within the caulk cartridge and get the caulk flowing out of the nozzle. Apply a few test beads of caulk to paper until the caulk flows evenly and smoothly.
Glide the caulk cartridge’s tip over a gap in the laminate flooring while squeezing the caulk gun’s trigger and holding the gun at a 45-degree angle. Generate a smooth, even bead of caulk along the entire length of the gap.
Wet your index finger with water. Glide your index finger along the fresh caulk to push it into the gap and smooth out bumps.
Continue caulking the remaining gaps in the laminate floor as you did the first gap. If the caulk runs out, replace the empty cartridge with a new one using the previous procedure.
Let the silicone caulk cure for 24 hours. Once the caulk has cured, remove the masking tape from the floorboards, baseboards and fixtures.
Tips & Warnings
- Smooth fresh beads of silicone caulk using a flat wooden stick.
- Never use any other caulk except 100-percent silicone for sealing gaps in laminate floors, as only 100-percent silicone caulk is flexible enough to allow for expansion.
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