Laminate flooring is made of layers; the bottom layer is usually a high-density fiberboard (HDF). The topcoat, which is often plastic, was formerly polyethene (PE) and included vinyl (PVC) or other materials.
When you receive your order, it’s best to wait at least 48 hours before installing your new laminate floor. It allows the layers to adjust to one another, decreasing the chances of expanding or contracting differently after installation.
But do you need to acclimate it for several days? You don’t need to acclimate it before installation. But if problems occur with expansion or contraction due to humidity changes, it’s recommended you use FastFret for wood or PlankGrip for laminates to reduce friction. These are also good products to use after installation to help keep your floor looking new (see also ‘How to Whitewash Laminate Flooring‘).
What Is Laminate Flooring?
Laminate flooring is a type that can mimic the look of other types of flooring but is often less expensive. It is designed to resemble hardwood or stone floors. Some laminate floors are made from recycled wood and plastic waste, giving them a more authentic appearance while being eco-friendly.
The exterior walls of your home often protect the inside from humidity changes, but an unfinished basement will not be protected by exterior walls.
Laminate Flooring Installation Process
After the material has been acclimated, you can begin the installation process. The first step is to remove all the furniture and other items from the room. Next, you’ll need to measure the space and make a diagram of its layout. It will help you determine how much flooring you need.
Once you have your materials, you can start installing the flooring. Begin by laying down the first row of flooring and tapping it into place with a rubber mallet. Make sure the edges are flush with each other. Then, use a utility knife to cut the flooring to size. Be careful not to cut into the subfloor.
Next, install the second row of flooring. Make sure to stagger the joints between the two rows.
Once you have installed all the flooring, you can reinstall your furniture and other items in the room.
What Happens If I Don’t Acclimate Laminate Flooring?
If acclimating laminate flooring is not done before installation, there is a chance that it may expand or contract differently than the other layers in the flooring. It can lead to problems, such as warping, buckling, and even cracking.
However, if you do experience these problems after installation, there are laminate flooring products available that can help.
FastFret is a product designed for wood floors, while PlankGrip is explicitly intended for laminate flooring. These products help reduce the friction between the layers of the flooring, which can help prevent expansion and contraction.
So, while it’s not necessary to acclimate laminate flooring before installation, it’s best to do so to ensure the best results.
How Long Does Laminate Flooring Need To Acclimate Before Install?
There is no set time frame for how long laminate flooring needs to acclimate before installation. However, the manufacturer recommends waiting at least 2 days prior to installation.
It will allow the flooring layers to adjust to each other, decreasing the chance of problems occurring after installation. Products, such as FastFret and PlankGrip can help to reduce the possibility of issues arising during or after installation.
Correct Storage For Laminate Flooring
When storing laminate flooring, it is essential to keep it in a cool, dry place. It prevents the material from warping or buckling. You should also avoid storing it in direct sunlight or near heat sources that could damage the flooring.
Proper storage will help to ensure that your laminate flooring is ready for installation when you are. Keeping it at optimum relative humidity will also help to ensure that your laminate flooring does not warp, buckle, or crack after installation.
The best way to store laminate flooring is on pallets in a dry storage unit. If this isn’t an option, then simply stacking the pieces upright in a corner will work.
Can You Stack Laminate Flooring To Acclimate?
Yes, you can stack laminate flooring to acclimate it. However, this isn’t always the best option. Stacking the pieces is okay if you will not be installing your laminate flooring for several days or weeks. However, if you need to install them in a short period, then stacking them together may cause them to buckle.
If you are stacking laminate flooring, then make sure that the pieces are not nested together tightly. You can space them out to decrease the likelihood of buckling occurring during storage.
Does Laminate Flooring Take Time To Settle?
Notably, laminate flooring takes time to settle. As such, you should not walk on the flooring for at least 24 hours after installation. During this time, the flooring will adjust to its new environment and be more resistant to damage.
After 24 hours, you can begin using the flooring typically. However, you should still avoid heavy traffic in the first few weeks after installation.
Can You Install Laminate Flooring Over Existing Flooring?
You can install laminate flooring over existing flooring. However, whether or not this is a good idea depends on the condition of your current flooring. First, you should make sure that the existing flooring is stable.
For example, if you have a layer of tile over a plywood subfloor, this may not be a good choice. Next, make sure that the existing flooring is entirely flat. Otherwise, it will show through the laminate flooring and create a “rug-like” effect.
Finally, it would help if you determined how much your current flooring has settled. If it’s been installed for a while, then there is a chance that it has started to drop slightly. In this case, your laminate flooring will not be flush with the existing flooring and will create noticeable gaps between the two surfaces.
If you have an existing wood or tile floor that appears flat and has not settled, then you can install laminate flooring over it. Choose a prefinished floor that closely matches your existing base. It hides any seams between the two surfaces.
The Basics Of Laminate Flooring
The product is resistant to fading, scratches, and shock resilient. Its durability differs according to the thickness of the product and how it is made. A good quality laminate floor ranges from 6-12mm thickness. A 10mm thickness is the most popular for residential use.
The laminate flooring planks are produced by a photographic image of a natural wood floor printed on high-density fiberboard (HDF or hardwood flooring). A wear layer is applied to the top of the printed image, which gives it its scratch and fade resistance. The best part about laminate flooring is that you can quickly repair the damage with touch-up markers even if it’s scratched.
Important On-Site Checks
If you are looking to install laminate flooring in your home, there are a few on-site checks that you should make before installation begins. The most important check is the moisture level of the subfloor. You should not install laminate flooring in areas where the moisture is high. If the moisture level is high, you can install a moisture barrier before installing the laminate flooring.
Another important check is the level of the subfloor. The subfloor should be flat for the laminate flooring to install correctly. You can use a straight edge and a story to check the level of the subfloor.
Just as important as the moisture level and level of the subfloor, it is crucial to ensure that there are no high spots or dips in the subfloor. The ridges should be no more than 3/8 inches apart. An alternative to checking for ridges is to slide a piece of 1/4 inch plywood under each row before installation. It will ensure that the laminate flooring is installed evenly.
Laminate flooring is a great option for many homeowners. It’s durable, affordable, and easy to install and clean (see ‘ Best Mop for Laminate Floors‘).
As long as you have a flat surface, are avoiding high moisture areas, checking for ridges, and levelling the subfloor, you are ready for installation. Furthermore, ensure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid any downsides.