How to stop laminate floor from creaking
It’s the third plank of laminate, about a metre from the right-hand wall. Exactly where your foot lands every time you walk through the room. Surprisingly loud, especially when you pop down for a glass of water in the middle of the night. And it’s starting to drive you a bit mad.
We get it, creaky laminate flooring can be incredibly frustrating.
You’ve spent a lot of time and effort (and money!) to ensure your new flooring looks and feels as good as possible. But – whilst creaking isn’t usually a sign of any serious damage – clearly, something isn’t right. And nine times out of ten, that something is a lack of adequate laminate underlay.
Laminate underlay – the easy remedy for a creaky laminate floor
Underlay is often overlooked when it comes to laminate, but it plays a very important role. And there are a number of reasons why – if it’s missing – creaking and squeaking can start to occur.
Here we take a closer look at each and explore how underlay can make a difference.
Reason #1 – the subfloor is uneven
Most subfloors – whether made from concrete or plywood – will have some slight defects. However, any high or low spots that measure approximately 5mm or more are likely to cause an issue.
If the subfloor hasn’t been prepared properly – and your new laminate flooring has been laid on top of an uneven and bumpy surface – the planks can very easily shift and start to rub together. Which over time, will not only cause creakiness, but can also lead to issues such as buckling and breakage.
The addition of high-quality laminate flooring underlay can help fix this problem.
Having taken up the laminate planks, it may be worth re-evaluating your subfloor’s overall condition. Are there any imperfections that you could easily sand down? Or obvious dips that need filling? Detailed information on how to tackle high and low spots can be found in our previous blog.
Once you’re satisfied you’ve done all that you can, then add a layer underlay.
By correcting any defects or imperfections that you may have missed, this will ensure the subfloor is as smooth and flat as possible. And as such, will improve the stability of your laminate flooring – reducing the chances that the individual planks will shift and preventing any unwanted creakiness.
Reason #2 – there’s friction between the subfloor and laminate
Laminate flooring is described as a ‘floating floor’. The individual planks are simply clicked together, and they don’t need to be nailed or glued in place – which is great, as it makes it super easy to install. But it also means it’s very easy for the planks to move about over time and start to rub together.
This friction can often lead to the issue of a squeaky laminate floor.
If this is the case, again, laminate underlay is usually the simplest solution.
Sandwiched between your laminate and the subfloor, underlay fills the gap between the two – ensuring they hardly come into contact and improving the stability of the individual planks. As a result, it’s much less likely for any movement or friction (and the associated creakiness) to occur.
Reason #3 – the laminate has expanded
All laminate flooring is prone to some level of expansion.
After all, it’s made from wood fibres – therefore, any changes in humidity and moisture levels can lead to swelling and contraction of the planks. That’s why, it’s recommended that all new laminate flooring is acclimatised to the room’s atmosphere at least 48 hours before its installation.
However, it’s important to keep in mind, moisture can also reach the laminate from the subfloor.
If this happens, over time, the planks will start to expand and press against each other – as well as the walls, beading and door frame. Leading to creakiness, plus a range of other potential problems.
Once again, laminate flooring underlay is the easiest way to avoid this.
Most have an in-built damp-proof membrane, which essentially, creates a barrier between your laminate and subfloor. Any dampness or moisture will be unable to reach the planks, therefore reducing the risk of severe expansion – and the broad spectrum of issues that can cause.
When re-installing your laminate, it’s also worth allowing it to readjust to the room’s temperature and humidity, by leaving it for at least 48 hours. And to be on the safe side, be sure to add an ‘expansion gap’ – measuring approximately 10mm wide – around the full perimeter of the room.
Which laminate underlay do we recommend?
If you suspect a lack of underlay could be the cause of your creaking laminate floor, our advice is to invest in Royale 7mm Professional Sonic Gold Underlay.
Regarded as the industry’s ‘gold standard’, this measures 7mm thick – making it the thickest product of its kind – and is made from a unique high-density foam. As such, it’s a fantastic choice for levelling imperfections in the subfloor and will significantly improve the stability of your laminate. Thereby reducing the likelihood of any unwanted movement or squeakiness.
Plus, it’s fitted with advanced thick gold foil – which acts as an in-built damp-proof membrane and will successfully prevent the issue of extreme expansion.
As a leading laminate underlay, it also comes with a few extra benefits. For example, it boasts a 5* durability rating, offers excellent thermal and acoustic protection – reducing impact and airborne noises by up to 37dB – and will significantly enhance the final results of your project.
Available for the affordable price of just £7.98 per m2, in our opinion, it’s one of the easiest and most effective ways to fix the issue of creaky laminate and will ensure your new laminate flooring looks, feels and (perhaps most importantly!) sounds as good as possible.
Take the first (silent) step to non-creaky laminate
Fixing that annoying creak could be as simple as popping down a layer of underlay.
So why not make the purchase today and get it sorted once and for all?
Royale 7mm Professional Sonic Gold is our no.1 recommendation. However, as one of the best online suppliers, we have a comprehensive selection of high-quality laminate flooring underlays to choose from – with something to suit all requirements and budgets.
Take a look and, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our in-house experts are always happy to help and will gladly offer further guidance on how to stop laminate flooring from creaking. We can also offer tailored advice on the best laminate and laminate underlay for your specific project – whether home-based or commercial.
- Alex Illidge