After you select new laminate flooring for your home, you understandably are eager to see the transformational effect that it can have in your home. Many homeowners who intend to install flooring themselves begin doing so as soon as the material is delivered. Some professional installers may also immediately begin the installation process after bringing the flooring into your home. However, you must acclimate laminate flooring to your home’s environment before the material can be properly installed. A closer look reveals the importance of acclimation and how to successfully tackle this step in the installation process.
Why You Need to Acclimate Laminate Flooring
You may be aware of the need to acclimate true hardwood planks to the home environment before installing them. The reason for doing is to allow the planks to adjust to the temperature and humidity in the home environment. Minor fluctuations in these factors can impact the size of planks. While laminate flooring is a synthetic material, it can likewise experience minor fluctuations based on environmental conditions. In fact, it is comprised of a high-density fiberboard core, which is a wood-based material.
The Impact of Environmental Changes on Fiberboard
If you were to look at high-density fiberboard underneath a microscope, you would see small openings or air pockets. These air pockets can expand when they are exposed to a higher level of humidity, and they likewise may shrink in a very dry environment. While these pockets are tiny, the overall impact of expansion or shrinkage can significant. If you fail to acclimate laminate flooring before installing it, these adjustments will occur after installation. The result could be gaps between the laminate tiles, buckling and other undesirable effects.
How to Effectively Acclimate Laminate Flooring
Some homeowners assume that the laminate flooring would be acclimated to the local environment because they have been stored in a nearby warehouse or in a store for a period of time before delivery. However, the internal environment in these areas as well as the conditions that they are exposed to during shipping and delivery likely are not identical to the conditions inside your home. Once your laminate flooring arrives, you should research the manufacturer’s specific instructions regarding acclimation. Generally, you should place laminate planks in the specific room where they will be installed for at least 48 hours before installing. Some manufacturers may even recommend a week-long acclimation period. All of the boxes should be placed side-by-side rather than stacked on top of each other throughout the acclimation period. Contrary to what you may assume, the boxes should remain sealed with their plastic wrapping. During this period of time, the climate should be maintained via the HVAC system according to how it will be maintained on a regular basis going forward.
The Risk of a Voided Warranty
Laminate flooring is typically sold with a manufacturer’s warranty, but the specific terms of this warranty can vary. In addition to specifying the acclimation period, the terms may also state an air temperature range and a subfloor temperature range that the environment should be maintained in. Some warranty terms also outline a humidity range and the type of subfloor that the laminate material can be installed over. Because warranty terms vary dramatically, you should carefully review the terms for your preferred flooring material.
Schedule Professional Installation
Acclimating laminate floor will delay the installation process by a few days. However, you can see that this is an essential step for proper installation and warranty protection. Are you ready to schedule professional installation and to ensure that your new floor is installed properly? Schedule an appointment today.