Does Laminate Flooring Need to Acclimate?

When planning a laminate flooring installation, it’s essential to know if the flooring requires acclimation prior to installation. Acclimation is the process of allowing the flooring materials to adjust to the room’s temperature and humidity levels, ensuring a successful installation and preventing potential issues such as warping or cracking.

In most cases, laminate flooring does need to acclimate, typically for 48 to 72 hours, in its unopened packaging and at room temperature. This timespan allows the material to adapt to the environment and minimize discrepancies that could result from expansion or contraction during the installation process.

Does Laminate Flooring Need to Acclimate?

Laminate flooring, like other materials, can expand and contract as a result of changes in humidity and temperature. To ensure a proper installation, it’s essential to allow time for the flooring to acclimate to its environment.

Manufacturers typically recommend an acclimation period of 48 to 72 hours. This time allows the laminate flooring to adjust to the room’s humidity and temperature, helping to minimize potential installation issues, such as gaps and buckling.

During acclimation, keep the following in mind:

  • Store the laminate flooring in the room where it will be installed, with the boxes lying flat on the floor.
  • Maintain a consistent temperature range between 65-75°F (18-24°C), and a humidity level of 35-55% before, during, and after the process.
  • Avoid placing the laminate near vents, radiators, or direct sunlight to prevent uneven acclimation.

Note that some manufacturers may have specific acclimation guidelines for their products, so it’s essential to consult the provided instructions or manufacturer’s website for more information.

Factors Affecting Acclimation

When acclimating laminate flooring, there are several factors to consider to ensure proper installation and longevity. In this section, we will discuss three major factors that influence acclimation:

Temperature and Humidity

Laminate flooring is sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. It is important to allow the flooring to acclimate to the environment in which it will be installed. Ideally, the room temperature should be between 60-80°F (15-27°C), and the relative humidity should be maintained between 35-65%. This range helps to minimize the risk of expansion and contraction, which could lead to issues such as warping or buckling.

Flooring Material and Thickness

The material and thickness of the laminate flooring can also affect the acclimation process. Thicker flooring typically takes longer to acclimate than thinner materials. Furthermore, the composition of the flooring can also influence the time required for acclimation. For instance, flooring with a higher wood content may need more time to acclimate compared to those with a lower wood content due to the natural moisture content of wood.

Manufacturer’s Recommendations

It is crucial to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for acclimation, as they are tailored specifically to the product in question. The time required for acclimation can vary significantly between different flooring products, ranging from 24 hours to several days. Manufacturer’s instructions may also include important information on the storage and handling of the flooring during acclimation.

Overall, understanding these major factors in laminate flooring acclimation allows for a successful installation and long-lasting performance. Remember to consider temperature and humidity, flooring material and thickness, and the manufacturer’s recommendations in the acclimation process.

How to Acclimate Laminate Flooring

Acclimating laminate flooring is crucial to ensure proper installation and long-lasting performance. To achieve successful acclimation, follow the guidelines in these sub-sections:

Proper Storage

Store the laminate flooring boxes flat and horizontally, ensuring they are off the ground using a pallet or similar support. This will protect them from moisture and provide even weight distribution. Keep the boxes unopened during acclimation, as the sealed packaging helps maintain recommended humidity levels inside the box.

Duration and Conditions

Allow the laminate flooring to acclimate for at least 48 hours. Some manufacturers may recommend longer durations depending on the product specifications. A general rule of thumb for acclimation is:

  • 48 hours: For standard humidity levels (30-60%) and temperature ranges (60-80°F)
  • Extend the duration for extreme temperature or humidity conditions

During acclimation, maintain consistent environmental conditions similar to the expected living conditions. Temperature should be between 60-80°F, and relative humidity should be between 30-60%. Use a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels, and adjust as necessary using dehumidifiers, humidifiers, or air conditioning units.

Potential Problems If Not Acclimated Properly

Skipping the acclimation process for laminate flooring can lead to several issues. Here are the common problems associated with not allowing the flooring to acclimate correctly:

  • Expansion and contraction: Improperly acclimated laminate flooring may expand or contract due to fluctuations in temperature and humidity. This may cause gaps in the floor, buckling, or other forms of damage.
  • Height variation: Without proper acclimation, the height of the floorboards may be inconsistent, resulting in an uneven flooring surface.
  • Voided warranty: In some cases, manufacturers may void the warranty of the flooring if the acclimation process is not followed correctly.

It’s crucial to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for acclimation times and conditions. One study found that laminate floorings with a relative humidity of 93.5% required 21 days to reach equilibrium moisture content, whereas those with a relative humidity of 50% required only four days. This shows that environmental factors impact the acclimation time significantly. To help monitor the conditions during acclimation, use a hygrometer or similar device.

As a general rule of thumb, laminate flooring should be allowed to acclimate for at least 48 hours in the room where it will be installed. Longer acclimation times may be necessary depending on the specific product and environmental conditions. To ensure a successful and long-lasting installation, follow the guidelines provided by the manufacturer and consult a professional if necessary.


In sum, laminate flooring does require acclimation prior to installation. This process typically takes 48 to 72 hours, allowing the material to stabilize to the room’s environment. Adhering to this step can prevent potential expansion, contraction, and other issues that might affect the integrity of the flooring.

As a result, it’s essential to carefully follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for acclimation to ensure a successful and long-lasting laminate flooring installation.

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