How and why do you acclimate a laminate floor? Our expert team discusses acclimatisation.
Almost daily our customers as us, "do I really need to acclimatise laminate flooring?" Acclimatising laminate flooring may sound complicated but it is really a simple process. During this process, the laminate floor will adjust to the temperature and humidity of the room of installation. These factors will have an effect on how much a laminate floor will expand or contract after installation. To reduce the amount of movement it is essential to acclimate a laminate floor immediately before installation. The normal period is 48hrs within the room of installation, before beginning to lay the floor. If the flooring is not acclimated correctly, it can result in warped flooring or excessive movement in the flooring after the installation, creating creaks, gaps or causing damage.
Important On-Site Checks for Laminate Floors
Humidity in a room is a very important consideration. Often it is a critical factor when the house is a new build, or over 40 years old. With recently laid screed or newly plastered or painted walls, the moisture content in a room can be extremely high. Therefore, the room is not suitable for laminate flooring installation. Wet trades such as plastering or painting must be finished before the floor is acclimated. It is also important to ensure that the temperature of the room is between 16-25deg. in addition, humidity levels must be within 35-65% (RH Scale). Humidity can be measured with a hygrometer, available in DIY stores.
Checking a Sub-Floor
When it comes to your sub-floor, we recommend that moisture is no more than 12%MC on a prong test for timber subfloors or 3%MC using a concrete moisture metre across the sub-floor. If you install or acclimate a laminate floor outside these parameters it can cause issues with expansion which can not always be easily fixed and possibly leave you with a permanently damaged floor.
How Long To Acclimate Laminate Flooring?
Ensuring that the site is now within the advised parameters, most manufacturers consider a period of 24-72 hrs suitable to acclimate laminate flooring. This means leaving the laminate flooring packs in the room in which they are going to be laid. Please use this as a guideline and follow the manufacturers specifics on the floor you have purchased. We always tell our customers that it is best practice to receive the floors a few days before you have a fitter install the floor.
Correct Storage for Laminate Floors
During the acclimatisation period, ensure that the sealed packs are left flat on the ground with a small gap between them. Storing them upright may save space but it can cause bowing in the boards making installation difficult. Take extra precaution on under-floor heating. Ensure each pack is stored individually and flat on the floor. The heating system should be turned on at a comfortable temperature for a minimum for 48hrs.
By following our guide, any laminate floor installation will no longer be affected by poor site conditions. Always read the manufacturers recommendations as laminate floors can vary. For installation information, read our guide to laying laminate flooring.
Hopefully, the next time someone asks, "do I need to acclimatise laminate flooring?", you will be full of helpful advice.