Edge Lipping on Wood Floors


When the edges of the flooring elements join, the edge of one is raised higher than the adjoining board. This is commonly known as lipping, and is a problem to wood flooring as it becomes more exposed to increased wear. As a result, maintenance jobs may become more frequent and the life of the flooring may significantly reduce.

Edge Lipping on Wood Floors


There is not just a single type of lipping. It can be seen in multiple ways, all of which are caused by different issues during the installation process.

Extreme lipping is when the highest point of floorboards is at least 2mm. This is almost always caused by two or more different board’s tongue and groove joints being misaligned during installation.

Another form of lipping is caused by a combination of a loose tongue and groove fit, and sub-floor unevenness or debris on the sub-floor prior to placement of the flooring element. This is known as lesser lipping which, as it states is not as noticeable and significant as extreme lipping.

If wood flooring has been laid with multiple loose tongue and groove fittings, and will provide the supporting surface for heavy items such as cookers, fridges and sofas, issuesmay arise.

Alternatively, lipping may occur if a floor has been installed without a sufficient expansion gap. If this is the case, and the flooring has no space to expand, the flooring will undergo a process called compression lipping. This is when the flooring expands inwards as opposed to the usual outward expansion. If this becomes apparent, the problem of buckling tends to follow.

It is highly advisable to research the necessary information in regards to the installation process taking into account the preparation, the use of the flooring and the manufacturer’s guidelines


Misalignment of tongue and groove fit should be seen at the time of installation. If flooring is installed, uplift the flooring element and observe the alignment of tongue and groove looking at a cross section of the flooring.

It is crucial to thoroughly check the sub-floor prior to installation to see if it is even enough to begin the project, as uneven sub-floors are the core of numerous problems in wood and laminate flooring. Additionally, clearing and debris will contribute to eradicating the problem of lipping as well as other faults in flooring.


Eliminating lipping is a long and difficult process which requires progressive sanding to remove the raised edge. Following up the sanding by refinishing the flooring will ensure that the surface is returned to its smooth, original state. This is also done so that lipping does not coincide with cupping causing greater damage to the flooring.

If this type of repair does not suit the project, there is always the option of removing and replacing the floorboards in question.


  • Ensure evenness of sub-floor meets manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Sweep floor clear of all debris prior to installation.
  • Check alignment of tongue and groove before installation.
  • Check suitability of tongue and groove fit, especially where flooring is to be installed as a load-bearing floor.