Does Laminate Floor Expand? [Detailed Explanation]

Floors made of laminate are “floating.” They may extend and contract at will. There is no need for nails, glue, or screws because they are so convenient. They form a group of their own own.

That’s why laminate flooring is so popular in homes and workplaces. Laminate flooring can expand and contract, but you can adjust the planks by following a few simple steps.

However, in order to follow the approaches, you must be aware of how much laminate flooring expands and contracts. Laminate flooring can expand and contract, and this article will explain how.

About Expansion In Flooring

In flooring, the term “expansion” refers to a material’s ability to expand and contract in response to temperature changes. A change in humidity is frequently responsible for the expansion and contraction of tissues.

The remaining space in the flooring that allows natural contraction and expansion is called as “expansion gap.” This type of gap is called an expansion joint if it happens in the midst of a large room or even between two rooms.

As a result, your flooring may expand more easily depending on the climate where you reside. The expansion and contraction of a floor can be attributed to variations in relative humidity and moisture content.

If you live in a moist or warm environment, this is more likely to happen. As a result, the flooring expands as a result of the presence of moisture. When the weather is cold and dry, the flooring dries out, causing it to shrink.

Laminate Flooring’s Structure

Four layers make up laminate flooring. Strength and moisture resistance comes from the laminate floor’s bottom two layers. Laminate flooring is not suitable for damp locations since it is not resistant to moisture.

The board’s appearance is determined by a third layer, which is the picture or design. It’s also important to note that a top wear coat protects the laminate’s surface from harm.

Reasons For Laminate Floor To Expand And Contract

Temperature and humidity fluctuate from time to time in any environment. Laminate flooring expands when it absorbs moisture from the atmosphere.

Laminate floor contraction results from temperature drops that result in a small footprint. The laminate floor contracts when the temperature drops, resulting in a smaller footprint.

Consequently, it is essential to leave sufficient room for the laminate flooring. This is an excellent option to avoid and prevent buckling and bubbling like with any wooden floor like this.

You may need to conduct a baseline survey to evaluate moisture and humidity levels before installing our flooring. There are a variety of reasons why laminate flooring grows.

But there are a few more obvious ones. When and why does laminate flooring expand? Only by understanding this can you take the appropriate measures to account for this phenomenon.

  • Temperature: Expansion of laminate flooring can be caused by changes in temperature. Several materials will expand when the temperature rises. One of the materials that expands when the temperature rises are laminate flooring.
  • Humidity: Laminate floors can also expand if it’s humid outside. Air humidity is responsible for laminate contraction and expansion.
  • Foreign Materials: Moisture and liquid chemicals, for example, can cause the laminate to expand. The expansion could occur due to these materials entering the space between the planks.

Can Laminate Flooring Shrink

Laminate flooring does, in fact, contract. The majority of shrinkage is due to environmental factors. Warm temperature causes laminate floors to contract.

When it’s cold outside, laminate flooring also contracts. Cold weather is a pivotal reason for temperature drop, and as a result, some materials contract.

Also, in colder climates, laminate flooring will contract in size.

Level Of Shrinkage For Laminate Floor

In cold conditions, laminate flooring shrinks by roughly a quarter of an inch. Laminate flooring, in general, does not shrink or expand when the temperature and humidity are within normal ranges.

However, the laminate floor shrinks over the cold months. The amount of laminate flooring that shrinks is directly proportional to its thickness.

If the floor is 8×12 meters, it will decrease by 8 to 10 millimeters. However, the floor will decrease even more if it is larger than 8*12 meters. The average shrinking rating of the laminate floor is 1/16 of an inch.

Reasons For Laminate Flooring To Shrink

Laminate flooring can shrink or expand for a variety of reasons. Knowing the shrinkage causes will help you keep the laminate floor from shifting. Look at the laminate flooring to understand why it shrinks.

  • Temperature: When it’s cold outside, laminate flooring shrinks. Winter will cause the laminate floor to shift. Laminate flooring may have shrunk, causing the problem.
  • Humidity And Moisture: Laminate flooring shrinks as moisture and humidity levels fluctuate. As a result, shrinking may be caused by high humidity or moisture levels.

Is Expansion Gap Needed For Laminate Floor

The expansion gap is required for laminates. Laminate flooring will benefit from an expansion gap. Floating laminate flooring expands when it gets wet.

There are various determining factors. Expansion, however, can harm laminate flooring if an expansion gap is not maintained. On the side margins of the flooring, the laminate boards expand as a whole.

Keeping an expansion gap on the walls, entrances, and corners is a necessary precaution because of this. This may occur if you skip leaving an expansion gap.

Otherwise, the laminates may crack due to the lack of expansion room. Laminate flooring necessitates the maintenance of an expansion gap.

Right Size For The Expansion Gap

Suppose you don’t have a larger room than the majority of typical household rooms or live in a location that experiences year-round excessive heat and cold. In that case, an expansion gap of 9.5mm to 12mm should be adequate for the majority of homerooms.

Make sure your skirting boards or beading will cover these gaps even if your laminate may contract in the colder months. It is better to leave as large an expansion space as feasible.

Even though a lot of do-it-yourselfers claim that smaller expansion gaps work, it is better to stay careful. You should put laminate flooring in a room between 60oF and 80oF (16°C and 26°C) because this is considered a “typical” household temperature that falls somewhere between the hot and cold extremes.

Do You Need To Acclimatize Laminate Flooring?

Yes, it is an important part of laminate flooring installation. Installing the laminate immediately upon their arrival can be a costly oversight.

A lack of pre-acclimatization can result in a laminate floor that is incompatible with its surroundings. Post-installation, the factors, including moisture and temperature, seems relevant.

Laminated flooring settles when it is acclimatized to its new environment. The laminates need to be stored in that location for a minimum of 48 hours before they may be used.

Laminate flooring has the potential to expand or contract at an unanticipated pace if it is not properly acclimated. It’s too late to fix any issues once you’ve installed it. Laminate flooring needs to be acclimated.

Results Of Not Acclimatizing Laminate flooring

To provide a long-lasting surface, laminate flooring must be acclimated. Laminate flooring planks can expand or contract if they are not properly acclimatized.

Temperature and the surrounding environment have an effect on the amount of expansion and contraction. Depending on how quickly the planks contract or expand after being installed, this could cause unexpected results.

Because the planks didn’t have enough time to become used to the new environment and adapt, as a result, there’s a danger the laminate boards will crack or slide.

Installing laminate flooring without first performing an acclimation process is a mistake. Expansion and contraction are common in laminate flooring.

Several factors contribute to the same, and mostly those are environmental factors. The floor’s dimensions determine the laminate floor’s maximum expansion or contraction.

Calculate the difference between your expansion and the average expansion.

Final Verdict

You may wonder why laminate floor expansion and contraction are so important to understand. Well, if you are going to install the same in your house, there is no harm in keeping yourself equipped with some added information.

Also, while installing the floor by yourself, it is essential to understand the anatomy of the gap so that you don’t make any mistakes and you don’t have to redo the entire thing.

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Shelley Stevenson

Shelly Stevenson is the full-time editor responsible for painting, flooring, bathrooms & home climate coverage at StyDomIo. She is a home improvement expert with an eye for design and the skills to get the work done. She knows what turns a house into a home and has the advice and ideas to make upgrades easy and fun.

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