Why Does My Laminate Floor Feel Spongy? (And How to Fix it)

Getting a spongy feeling while walking over laminate floors or spotting a soft spot is a concerning issue for most homeowners.

Especially when you are not aware of the reasons behind this problem. So, if you are someone who is facing the same spongy laminate floor problem, it’s obvious for you to think why your laminate floor feels spongy. 

And to help you get to know the roots of this problem, this article will lead you to the core reasons behind the soft spots of the laminate floor.

Why Does My Laminate Floor Feel Spongy? 

Laminate flooring feels spongy if the flooring planks are affected by any of these 5 major reasons: an underlayment problem, uneven subfloor, an extension chasm problem, termite damage, or water damage. Any of them can be the root cause, and you may even need to hire a professional to fix the issue. 

Laminate flooring always requires an even subfloor as the planks float and create bounciness. And quite often it’s seen that an uneven subfloor is the main reason why the laminate floor feels spongy or gets soft spots.

A wrongly installed or wrong underlayment is another major reason that causes spongy laminate floor.

If the extension gaps between the planks are filled with air or if the floor is damaged by water or termites are also the other reasons why laminate floor can feel spongy or can get soft spots. 

5 Reason Why Laminate Floor Feels Spongy? 

Above the main 5 reasons are already mentioned and here for your better understanding, the reasons are going to be explained.

Wrongly Installed Underlayment/ Wrong Type Of Underlayment 

Improper installment of underlayment or a wrong type of underlayment can make the laminate floor spongy or can create soft areas over the laminate surface. 

If you didn’t put the underlayment on a flat and even subfloor before installing the laminate flooring, the underlayment sheets will overlap with each other. And this will cause spongy laminate floor or soft spots on your flooring. 

Or, if you’ve used the wrong type, for example, underlayment for carpets, then it can cause spongy laminate floor as the underlayment can be too soft or excessively bulky for laminates. 

An Uneven Subfloor 

An uneven surface is one of the main reasons why your laminate floor feels spongy. Uneven subfloor regardless of concrete or hardwood will create a spongy laminate floor or soft areas.

Because the laminate floor planks are laying flatly and the subfloor has voids that a generating air gap between the floor planks and the subfloor. Therefore, laminate floor feels spongy when you walk on it. 

Extension Gap Between The Planks 

While installation a little gap is left between the laminate planks so that they can extend and contract. If there are many gaps or the gaps are filled will air, it can cause spongy laminate flooring as the air bubbles move when you walk over the flooring.

Read more, How Long Can You Run Laminate Flooring? 

Water Damaged Laminate Floor

Spongy laminate floor or soft spots on the laminate flooring can be a result of water damage. 

If you mop the flooring with water dripping wet mop or if there’s an inadequate moisture barrier underneath the flooring planks, you’ll get the spongy laminate floor. 

Termite Damage

Termites are another reason. Termites enter the laminate flooring that was installed a long time ago or just faced water damage. So, if termite is the reason, you will find fine wood particles near the spongy areas. And the spongy laminate areas can even start to crumble. 

How To Fix Spongy Laminate Flooring? 

Now that you know the reasons, here the fixing solutions are explained for you to fix your spongy laminate flooring.

Redo The Underlayment 

If the spongy laminate floor is caused by improper installment of underlayment or for installing the wrong type of underlayment, then reinstalling the underlayment is the only fixing solution. 

So, choose the appropriate underlayment sheets and lay them again properly by following the correct instruction. 

Use A Thinset Mortar 

When the spongy laminate floor or soft spot are caused by an uneven subfloor, you can use thinset mortar to fix the problem. 

Just take out the flooring planks where there are void or low spots in the subfloor. And then place thinset mortar in those areas making it even. For wooden subfloor use the particular thinset for woods. 

Fix The Peaking 

Spongy floor caused by extension gap can be fixed by fixing the peaking. 

First, check the corner where the perimeter of the laminate flooring has met the wall by removing the molding.

Then keep a gap about 1/4  inches and cut the part which is nudging against the wall. Fix the bounciness and reinstall the molding. Put some weight until it gets fixed. 

Replace The Planks 

If your laminate is spongy because of water damaged the floor planks or termites have damaged the flooring, then only replacing those planks is the only solution. Because you can not rebuild damaged planks. 

How to know if an uneven subfloor is the cause of the soft spots or spongy areas of your laminate? 

Quite easily you can know if an uneven subfloor is the root behind soft spots or spongy areas of your laminate.

If there were already low areas on your subfloor that you didn’t deal with before installing the laminate flooring, the subfloor surely is the main cause. 

When you see that soft spots or spongy areas are flat and not peaking but still you can feel the spongy floor and the flooring is dipping down, just know it’s the subfloor that is causing the soft spots. 

Also, when you have a wooden subfloor with tongue and groove wood. And if some of the floorboards weren’t secured properly before installing laminate flooring, the floor will feel spongy. 

So eventually, you will get to know if your subfloor is the main culprit behind soft spots or spongy areas in laminate flooring or not. 

How To Fix A Soft Spot On Laminate Floor Caused By An Uneven Subfloor?

Above one fixing way to fix a soft spot on the laminate floor caused by an uneven subfloor is given. Now for your convenience, another method is going to be described in step-by-step guidelines.

Put Down A Layer Of Masking Tape

Find the areas with soft spots and protect the laminate flooring surface by putting down layers of masking/painter’s tape. 

Drill A Small Hole 

Now, make a small gap on the flooring’s trench by using a 3/32” drilling bit.

Attach Air Inflator Needle 

Take an extending foam spray can and insert an air inflator needle in the tubing nozzle of it. 

Inject The Extending Foam 

Now inject the foam into the small gaps until you see it is filling up the gaps created by air underneath and the laminate flooring seems properly even and aided. 

Remove Excess Foam

Then clear all leftover excess expanding foam and cover the small gaps with duct tape till you feel that the foam has been set properly. 

Remove The Duct Tape

When the foam has been set, take off the duct tape and fill the voids with matching wood putty. 

This is the quickest method you can apply to make an uneven subfloor even. But before applying this method, check the extending/expanding foam first to know how it functions.

Are Spongy Laminate Floors Dangerous? 

Spongy laminate floors are not dangerous. Typically, you will be less concerned about the bounciness of your laminate flooring. As the days will pass, you will get habituated to the spongy or soft areas of your home’s laminate flooring. 

However, if spongy laminate flooring or soft spots are creating severe structural problems, then spongy laminate flooring can be a matter of concern. But still, it’s not that dangerous.  

Should My Laminate Floor Bounce? 

The laminate floor should not bounce. If you notice that your laminate flooring is feeling bouncy there must be any underlying problems. 

It can be an uneven subfloor that has low/high areas that you didn’t fix before installing laminate flooring. 

Or an improper underlayment or wrong try of underlayment can be the other reason why your floor is bouncy. 

Besides, if your wooden floor’s structure is damaged, or flooring planks weren’t properly acclimated, your laminate floor will bounce. Water damage, extension gap are the other reasons. 

So, unless any of these causes are attacking your laminate floor, your floor will never bounce. 

Can You Fix Swollen Laminate Flooring?

You can fix swollen laminate flooring. The best method of fixing a swollen laminate flooring is disassembling the flooring and installing new laminate boards.

You got to remove all the boards one by one and one row at one time until you find the swollen board. And then replace that with a new board. 

Or you can even try some no replacing laminate floorboard method to fix the problem. You can try using an epoxy laminate restoration kit to restore the swelling laminate floor, or others.

How To Fix Laminate Flooring Bubbles Without Replacing? 

Bubbling laminate floor means loads of moisture have been soaked up by your laminate flooring planks. 

And the easiest way to fix this problem is to remove the root cause of excess moisture underneath the laminate planks. You can install extension joints and add a dehumidifier in rooms to reduce moisture. 

If the condition is too bad then you must replace the subfloor and the planks to fix this problem. 

As various reasons can make the laminate floor spongy or create soft areas, therefore, you always should try to fix first. If it can’t be fixed then replace it.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Much Laminate Flooring Can Be Laid In a Day?

How Much Do Laminate Floors Expand and Contract?

How Much Water Can Laminate Flooring Take?

How Much Weight Can Laminate Floor Support?

How Uneven Can a Floor Be for Laminate?

How Soon Can You Walk on Laminate Flooring After Installing?