Popping Adhesive on Wood and Laminate Floors


When a wood floor has been incorrectly installed, there is a chance that the flooring may experience some popping, or similar sounds, when that area of the floor has been stepped on.


There are various reasons as to why wood flooring may suffer from popping. The cause of such an issue could be one of, or a combination of number of things which may include, the applied adhesive failing to secure the floor, laying flooring on an uneven subfloor, and using an underlay that is not suitable for the installation.

Make sure you apply your adhesive properly

Failure of Adhesive

A popping sound can come from adhesive fixed floors. The failure of adhesion may have occurred through significant movement of the flooring. One way this may have been caused is by excessive amounts of moisture entering the boards, resulting in expansion. Alternatively, an increase in the amount of heat may have resulted in the boards drying out, allowing shrinkage to occur.

Failure of adhesion may also be caused by a delay in the placement of the flooring element onto the bed of adhesive. Another reason may be down to the contaminant on the back of the flooring element (e.g. Oil), which creates a barrier to good adhesion. Popping sounds can similarly be caused by the separation of the flooring element from the sub-floor due to the adhesive becoming unstuck. This coincides with vertical movement of the flooring resulting in floor experiencing popping. Adhesives tend to fail when a sub-floor is not even. Due to the inconstancy of the evenness, raised areas will be less susceptible to unsticking than the lower areas.

Uneven Subfloor

A subfloor that has been made from materials that are not able to offer the necessary support to the flooring may also provide a cause for concern. A thin and flexing timber sub-floor can also create a popping sound. Ensuring that they are secure and suitable for the chosen type of flooring may substantially reduce the chances of any popping. Having an even sub-floor will ensure that the correct underlay can be effectively applied without the inconvenience of unsticking.

Suitable Underlay

Using an underlay that is not suited to the type of flooring installed, or not suitable for such a project may result in the occurrence of popping. Ensuring that it is correctly applied, and is of adequate thickness will help to reduce the chances of this happening. An equally important detail to be careful of is the quality of the underlay. If this does not reach the necessary standard, flooring will be more open to popping, more so than if a better quality product was used during the installation process.


It is very important to diagnose the problem with a good degree of accuracy as it will provide you with the best course of action for repair. We advise that you identify if a number of things, the first of which is looking into the result of moisture testing of the sub-floor prior to installation. Secondly, check if the flooring has suffered any damage in the form of cupping, warping, shrinking or distortion in any way. It is equally important to know the source of the heat under the floor, with hot water pipes being an example. Finally, you must identify whether the sub-floor is of load bearing thickness.


If there is widespread popping, or failure of adhesion due to excessive moisture movement, the floors usually require replacement. Where there is localised popping, injecting adhesive between the floor and sub-floor will help to resolve the problem. Alternatively screwing the flooring down tight from the suspended timber floor, followed by face nailing or screwing and plugging from above can can help to eliminate the sound of popping from flooring completely.

Popping is not the most serious or expensive issue to solve in regards to wood flooring and can be resolved with or without the assistance of a professional depending on the nature of the problem.