[[dropcap]L[/dropcap]]aying laminate flooring requires a lot of pre-thought and planning. It’s the seemingly little things that can make a big difference to how your flooring will look in a years time. Acclimating your laminate flooring is one of those areas that first-time laminate DIYists sometimes believe to be unnecessary. Many will find out the hard way.
The company that manufactures the laminate flooring that you have purchased will likely provide you instructions on how best to lay there flooring, they will also provide in-depth instructions on how to acclimate the flooring before use – pay attention!
How long does it take laminate to acclimate? Laminate flooring takes 48 – 72 hours to acclimate, but it is always best to follow the manufacturers’ guidelines.
[pullquote type=”right”]Laminate flooring takes 48 – 72 hours to acclimate, but it is always best to follow the manufacturers’ guidelines.[/pullquote]If you fail to follow the manufacturers’ guidelines your guarantee could be declared null and void should you ever attempt to claim.
Why laminate flooring need’s to be acclimated?
Laminate flooring like hardwood is porous, which means that the tiny microscopic pores allow air into the laminate itself. When the air is humid the humidity also enters the core of the laminate causing it to expand. When the air loses humidity the laminate flooring will contract.
While the expanding movement and contracting movement is very slight, it can cause the laminate flooring to buckle or create gaps across your flooring.
Acclimated laminate flooring is when the wood has been left for a reasonable amount of time in the conditions that it will eventually be accustomed to when laid, thus reducing the possibility of extensive expanding or contracting beyond what would normally be expected by conditions dictated in a single room.
What happens if you don’t acclimate your laminate flooring?
Everyone loves a good horror story, as long as it’s not happening to them. So for your amusement (and as a little bit of a warning) here are some images that I have found online that demonstrate just how much this little expanding or contracting can affect the overall finish of your laminate flooring project.
The process: Acclimating laminate flooring?
The manufacturer of your laminate flooring should provide you with instructions on how to acclimate your flooring. However, the most common method is to place the laminate flooring (still shrink-wrapped) in the middle of the room in which you intend to lay it. Keeping the wood away from the exterior walls is advised, to avoid any major deviation in temperature.
Your laminate flooring can be stacked, but lay it as flat as possible.
The longer you can leave the laminate flooring the better, but a minimum of 48 – 72 hours is advised for best results.
Acclimate your flooring in the conditions of a lived-in room
While many websites and manufacturers give you precise temperatures, humidity levels, and other advice your goal should be to acclimate your laminate flooring in as close to the conditions as the room will be kept after the installation has been completed.
As a more precise guide, the room should be between 65ºF-75ºF (18.5°C – 24°C), with a humidity level of 45-65%.
If you have recently laid a new concrete floor it is advisable not to lay laminate until the floor has been left for at least 90 days to ensure the excess moisture has evaporated, the longer you leave the floor the better results you should have.
In addition, a newly painted, or plastered room should be left for a minimum of seven days prior to being used to acclimate laminate flooring.
Once your laminate flooring has acclimated you can begin the job on installation.