The floating wood laminate flooring in my kitchen has several noticeable gaps between some of the floor boards. Unfortunately, some of these boards extend under the kitchen cabinets so I can not easily re(move) them to fix the problem. Any ideas how I can get rid of the gaps along the edges of the floor boards?
Michael ~ Salida, CO
Hi Michael. Fixing the gaps in your floating laminate flooring could be fairly easy except for one major issue: the kitchen cabinets are holding it in place. The first thing I suggest doing is verifying that that is indeed the case. It's fairly unusual for the finish flooring in a kitchen to extend under the cabinets unless there was some kitchen remodeling done and the construction phases got a bit out of sequence. A good flooring contractor can make the material appear to go under the cabinets, but it actually stops at the front edge of the boxes.
If your laminate flooring doesn't extend under the kitchen cabinets, the flooring repair for gaps is just a matter of applying some pressure at the edge of the room to force the openings closed. You may have to take off a piece of baseboard or the last piece of laminate to accomplish this task. One of the advantages of a floating floor is that it isn't secured to the sub-floor and can be moved if the need arises.
However, if your laminate flooring does extend under the kitchen cabinets, the flooring repair becomes a little more complicated. I'm assuming that the cabinets run at 90 degrees to the flooring joints so that a majority of the boards are affected. If this is the case, the boards can be cut at the point where they meet the front edge of the cabinets to allow movement. This should be done very carefully to avoid damage to the cabinets or floor so you might be wise to hire an experienced flooring contractor from around Salida for the job. Once the boards are cut, the gaps can be closed by exerting pressure at the perimeter of the room.
One other option I have read about is to use a wood filler in the gaps. I have never tried this solution and have my doubts as to how long it would last.