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Does Laminate Flooring Need To Acclimate?

Yes, Laminate flooring needs to acclimate. So don’t install your new laminate flooring as soon it’s delivered to your apartment. New laminate floor products must be allowed to sit for a minimum of 48 hours in the area where it will be laid. This will enable it to adapt or get used to the new climate or conditions.

Take, for instance, if you live in a hot climate like Dubai and you decide to take a vacation in a colder region like Alaska-it will take you some days to get acclimatized with your new surroundings.

So just like humans, laminate flooring equally needs to get acclimatized to where it will be installed. It needs to get used to the condition of your home in terms of temperature and humidity level. The paragraphs below will show you why Laminate Flooring needs to be acclimated.

Why Laminate Flooring Needs To Be Acclimated

Laminate flooring is like hardwood because it is porous. Hence air is allowed to pass through the tiny microscopic pores into the laminate itself. 

When the air is humid, moisture also penetrates the core of the laminate, causing it to expand; when the air loses moisture, the laminate shrinks.

Although the expansion and contraction movement is very slight, it can cause the laminate to bend or create gaps in the floor. 

Acclimated laminate flooring simply means that the wood has been left for a considerable amount of time in conditions that it will eventually become accustomed to when installed. 

This reduces the possibility of significant expansion or contraction beyond what is generally expected under conditions dictated by a given room in the house.

How To Acclimate Laminate Flooring

Fortunately, most manufacturers have their guidelines for acclimatizing their laminate floors and should be best followed. Below are common recommendations that are provided by most manufacturers. It will be in your best interest to follow them.

  • Ensure that the humidity level and temperature in your room is stable before you begin to place the carton boxes in the center of the floor. Place them right next to each other side by side. There is no need to open boxes at this stage. So it should be kept closed.
  • Keep boxes away from outside walls. They should be at no less 3 feet apart from the exterior walls. Also, keep them away from any ventilation openings for heating and cooling.
  • The laminate flooring needs to sit in the room for some time (least 48-72 hours, or 2-3 days) before installation. This will give the boards enough time to adjust to the level of moisture and temperature in the room.
  • Be sure to acclimate all of your laminate boards at the same time. This will allow the boards to get unified and, at the same time, adapt equally.
  • After 48-72 hours, you can start laying the laminate.
  • Lastly, its best you card read the manufacturer’s instructions for acclimating their product. Everyone has their recommendations.
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What Conditions Are Required To Acclimate Your Laminate Flooring?

New paint and new heating are essential for a new laminate floor, which is often part of a renovation or addition to a room. The most crucial condition is a constant and stable internal environment.

Hence it is pointless to acclimate and lay laminate flooring outdoors (for example, with open windows or open-frame walls). Before starting the process of acclimation and installation, stable conditions in terms of temperature and humidity are required. 

Here are some pointers mentioned below to acclimate your laminate flooring:

  • The range of the temperature should fall between 64°F and 86°F.
  • The temperature of the floor should not go less than 59°F
  • The level of humidity within the room should lie in the range of 25 to 70%. Furthermore, you should use the hygrometer to measure the relative humidity. Moreover, you can buy a desktop or tabletop hygrometer, which can easily be combined with a thermometer.
  • Ensure you have concrete to be cured for no less than 60 days before installing on a slab. This is done at a vapor-flow rate of 3 lbs. per 24 hours per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Make sure your newly painted walls and woodwork are cured for three days.
  • If your floor has a built-in radiant heat, it should be switched on at 80 degrees for three days before installation. Take note for Swiss Krono, that the radiant heat must be supplied with hydro and commercially available.
  • Remember that when installing laminate floors that are not Swiss Krono, you must take time to check out the instructions provided by the manufacturer for acclimating the product.
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How Long Does Laminate Flooring Need To Acclimate?

The time it takes for laminate flooring to acclimate depends on the manufacturer. However, most of them mention anywhere from 48 to 72 hours as acclimation time. 

This means that the flooring products must be brought into your home. In addition, they should be placed in the room where they will be for at least 48-72 hours. This should be done before the work is carried out.

Why Do You Need To Leave An Expansion Gap For Laminate Floors?

Expansion gaps are required when installing laminate floors. There will be a difference in temperature and humidity in all rooms. As a result, the laminate will expand and contract as there is a change in temperature and humidity. 

The same is true for solid wood floors and parquet floors. Without an expansion gap, “warping” is a common problem. This means movement cannot be allowed in expanding laminate flooring because it has no gap. 

Over time, this will cause the laminate floorboards to lift upward, often causing a rebound. In the worst cases, the click system can be damaged. This is an issue common among low-quality installations. Fortunately, it can easily be prevented with proper preparation.

How Can You Manage The Expansion Gap?

If your laminate flooring is installed correctly, then it would not touch stairs, walls, pipes, kitchen units, adjacent floors, and more. Hence the question; what to do with the remaining expansion gaps? The solution is to cover the expansion gaps with radiator collars, skirting boards, beading, and door bars, depending on their location.

Also, use laminate flooring spacers to overcome and resolve the challenges of spacing. Laminate spacers will ensure the right gap between the laminate and adjacent floor or objects. You can easily avoid common issues associated with laminate flooring with the use of laminate spacers and proper preparation.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you walk on new laminate flooring after installation?

Make sure the floor is completely cured before using a new floor or moving into the room. Avoid walking on the floor within 24 hours after installation. Failure to do so will result in damage to the floor.

How much space should be between the laminate and the wall?

The width of the gap between the laminate flooring and the walls should be 10 mm on all sides. The same measurement applies to other solid objects such as stoves, door frames, heating pipes, and radiators flush with the furniture and floor.

Do laminate floors expand?

Yes, laminate floors expand and contract due to changes in temperature and humidity within a room. There is a constant change in temperature and humidity daily.

Why is your new laminate floor buckling?

Excess moisture or water on the floor surface can also cause it to buckle or warp. Thus, it is a good idea never to wipe a laminate floor wet. Water is the most common cause of edge deformation or buckling. Another reason is moisture rising from the subfloor, combined with the lack of an adequate moisture barrier.

Why does my laminate floor creak when I walk on it?

Your laminate floors creak as a result of an uneven subfloor. However, a poor installation can also cause squeaking on a new floor. The solution if the subfloor is the cause of the creaking is for you to raise your floor and fix the problem.

Do you need to remove furniture to install laminate?

There is a strategy for laying laminate flooring. It can be applied effectively if you want to try installing laminate flooring in the room with furniture. However, in such cases, you should seek the services of a professional. 

Final Thoughts

Laminate is designed from materials that can change in varying environmental conditions. For instance, if you decide to remove your laminate flooring from a warm or dry store and install it in a cool, damp basement, it’s most likely it will expand due to moisture.

Although, it is not a significant change, but even a small amount can cause buckling on the floor. The reverse is if you remove laminate flooring from a cool, damp warehouse and lay it in a dry, warm home in them during winter. 

Over time there will be a gap that can make your floor uneven depending on the width of the gaps. To avoid all these, ensure the contractor simply applies acclimation periods to the materials before installation.