Are you tired of your vinyl plank separating? Sadly, what’s done is done. However, there are various ways to fix the issue, and we’ll discuss each of them in this post.
But before that, it’ll definitely be helpful for you to learn what factors play roles in vinyl plank flooring separation such that you can become mindful of these causative agents.
Later on in this post, we’ll also share effective ways to prevent your vinyl plank flooring from separating. Let’s get started!
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What is Vinyl Plank Flooring Separation?
However, many homeowners remain dissatisfied with their vinyl plank flooring. And one of the main reasons giving rise to such frustrations is vinyl plank flooring separation.
So, what actually is vinyl plank flooring separation? It is simply the formation of gaps or separations in between the vinyl planks.
Many factors engender expansion and contraction of vinyl planks and weaken inter-planks bonds, eventually leading to such gap formation. In the next section, we’ll dissect each of these factors and how they play a role in vinyl plank flooring separation.
What Causes Vinyl Plank Floors To Separate?
Before moving on to the solution, let’s find out the culprits behind your vinyl plank flooring separation. There are four major reasons which can cause gaps between your vinyl planks.
1. Weather induced expansion and contraction
Hardwoods are notorious for going through weather-induced structural changes. In this category, vinyl planks aren’t saints either.
When the weather is extremely hot, vinyl planks often expand due to the excessive warmth, and once the weather cools down, these planks contract to their normal sizes. Once they’re reduced to their original sizes, the extra volume which they had occupied during expansion remains unfulfilled, thus giving rise to inter-planks gaps.
Even minor changes you make in your indoor temperature, over the long run, can be the reason behind such expansion and contraction.
Moreover, when your flooring is continuously exposed to extreme heat or sunlight and cold, the structural changes often render the locks between the planks dysfunctional and weakens the adhesive in case of glue-down floors. Thus, the planks become vulnerable to movement giving rise to bigger gaps.
2. High-traffic and moving heavy furniture around
You might notice gaps in your vinyl plank flooring around the areas with high traffic in your home. Especially if your kids are running around the area all the time or someone religiously performs strenuous exercises, the pressure might cause the planks to move around.
Similarly, the horizontal tension created on the vinyl flooring while moving heavy objects around can also result in gap formation.
3. Moisture issues
Moisture can weaken the bond between adhesives and the planks and thus, making the planks in high traffic areas vulnerable to movement. Moreover, if you move around furniture atop of such weakened flooring, there’s a high chance of gap formation.
How Do You Fix Vinyl Plank Floor Separation?
Now, onto the solution! So, what to do when you notice gaps in your vinyl plank flooring? Luckily, there are a few solutions you can opt from.
1. Using suction cups
Use a suction cup and a rubber mallet to bring back the planks to their original position. Clean the area around the plank, and use a vacuum cleaner to clean the gap you’re trying to get rid of.
Once the gap is clean, add some caulk to the gap and attach a suction cup to the plank. Hit the suction cup with a rubber mallet to close the gaps. Once the gap closes, remove the excess caulk with a damp finger, and you’re done!
2. Using a scrap piece and double-sided tape
Sometimes, a suction cup doesn’t perform well with the texture of your vinyl flooring. In such cases a attach a few strips of double-sided tape to a scrap piece of wood. Peel the other side of the tape and attach the scrap wood to the vinyl plank that requires fixing.
Once the wood is nicely attached to the plank, hit it gently with a rubber mallet towards the direction that closes the gap. This technique also works equally brilliant. So, if you don’t have a silicone cup, you can easily follow this method instead.
3. Using wood putty
If your vinyl floor planks have a wooden print and texture, and if the gaps are relatively small, you can solid fill the gaps using wood putty that matches the color palette of your planks best. And remember to clean the gaps beforehand.
However, this method works well only if both of the planks have similar colors. If one of your planks is dark and the other bright, the putty doesn’t work well visually. So, we’d recommend this method only if the above two method fails to work in your case and the gap is very small.
Moreover, while matching the wood putty color to your planks, make sure you observe the putty color while wet as well as dry, as the color and tone of some putty can change drastically once dried.
Like wooden putty, you can also use caulk to solid fill the gaps. Select either latex, acrylic, or silicone caulk and mask the floor near the gap using masking tape. Make sure the gap is thoroughly cleaned and vacuumed beforehand.
Now, caulk the gaps carefully. Once dried, remove the masking tapes and excess caulk using damp fingers. To match the caulk color to your vinyl color palette, stain and blend in your caulk accordingly.
How Do You Prevent Vinyl Plank Floor Separation?
While gap formation in vinyl plank floorings can be unpredictable, you can try out a few prevention methods beforehand if you aren’t already.
1. Avoid intense exposure to sunlight
If you notice direct sunlight hitting the same flooring spot religiously, take action to lessen the future damage. Close the blinds and drapes of the windows unless the exposure is softened. You can also put a piece of furniture in a way to block such intense rays.
Protecting your vinyl flooring from sunlight not only precludes the gaps from forming but also protects the color and design of the flooring from sun-induced fading.
2. Try to maintain the indoor temperatures
If possible, keep your indoor temperatures as maintained as possible. While this doesn’t mean that you don’t up the temperature when it’s freezing outside or lower it when the sun is scorching, just trying not to make the fluctuations huge can also have an impressive impact.
3. Avoid moisture issues
To ensure that the adhesive of your glued-down flooring is in perfect condition, make sure you have no underlying moisture issues. Look for molds and other signs of moist flooring symptoms and fix the issue, if there’s any, as soon as possible.
4. Use high-quality adhesives
Prevention is definitely better than cure. So, while performing the glue-down installation for your vinyl plank flooring, try to select the best-quality adhesive so that it can resist moisture/sunlight-induced damage to some degree. Low-quality adhesives can quickly lose their hold leaving the flooring prone to gap formation.
5. Caulk using silicone to the extreme edges of your flooring
During flooring installation, before putting in baseboards, make sure to leave a small gap between your flooring and the wall. Spot caulk the ends of the planks with silicone. This will make sure that the vinyl planks have enough room to expand but not too much room for the planks to separate.
Once you’re done, attach the base shoe or corner round moulds, and you’re done! This technique will save your day, especially if the planks you bought were cost-effective and of so-so quality.
Even if you’ve installed high-end vinyl planks, we’d highly recommend you this method of vinyl flooring gap prevention.
6. Use smart fixes while moving around heavy furniture
There are varieties of clever ways to move around heavy furniture with ease and without damaging the flooring. Even a potato is a great tool for moving furniture; put slices below the legs of furniture and drag the item with the strength of a rat – your furniture reaches the destination!
If you don’t believe us, check out this video by Sondre Drevdal Borge, many have claimed that this technique worked wonders for them. If not, you can purchase heavy furniture sliders for this purpose.
In short, the ultimate goal is to reduce as friction as possible and not to bother those peacefully resting vinyl planks.
We’ve discussed causes, solutions, and even prevention techniques for vinyl floor separation. The best way to move forward, as per our view, is to find out the underlying issue of what caused your planks to separate and take action and preventive measures for the future accordingly.
However, if your vinyl plank flooring is too old and has a gap every here and there, it might be time for you to upgrade your flooring with a brand new set of vinyl planks. And, make sure to install properly, as improper installation can lead to plenty of unforeseen problems later on.