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Can You Stack Laminate Flooring To Acclimate?

Can You Stack Laminate Flooring To Acclimate?

Because of the way it is made, with the potential of absorbing moisture from humidity levels in the air, laminate flooring needs to acclimate to the room’s temperature and humidity levels before it can be installed properly – but can you stack laminate flooring to acclimate?

Laminate needs to be acclimated for between 48 and 72 hours before you can install it in your home. One of the most common ways to acclimate laminate flooring is to stack the planks. But, this needs to be done a certain way, so the planks are properly acclimated before laying the flooring down on the subfloor.

Why Laminate Needs to Acclimate

Laminate flooring needs to acclimate because the fiberboard core has microscopic pores that allow moisture in.

If the humidity levels are high in the room where the flooring is used, the wetness and temperature changes could end up ruining the floor causing it to buckle or warp and need to be replaced.

Laminate is made with materials that tend to change depending on the climate. If there is a lot of humidity, the flooring will expand and buckle. When the environment is humid, the flooring will expand. When the air is dry, the flooring will shrink or contract.

If you immediately lay the flooring down on a subfloor without acclimating the laminate flooring first, it could end up looking disastrous.

Not only does the laminate flooring have a tendency to change based on humidity levels in the air, but the subfloor tends to give off moisture as well. Because of this, laminate flooring needs to acclimate before installation.

Acclimating laminate flooring means that the planks are left for enough time to become accustomed to the temperature and humidity conditions of the room where they will be used.

What is Laminate?

Laminate flooring consists of layers. One of the layers includes a fiberboard core. Because of this fiberboard core, the planks contain microscopic pores. These very small pores are tiny openings. Even though the flooring looks solid, these microscopic pores allow air and moisture to get into the core.

It is made of several layers including:

  • A paper backing layer
  • A fiberboard core
  • A decorative paper layer
  • A waterproof lightproof layer of clear finish

Why is Laminate Flooring So Popular?

Laminate flooring is a more cost-friendly alternative to hardwood or stone flooring, even though it looks like the real thing. It is scratch, stain, and impact resistant.

Laminate flooring has become so popular because it is affordable, durable, and also quick and easy to install. If the laminate is properly installed, cared for, and maintained, it will last for quite a long time.

Part of the process of installation is to first make sure the planks are properly acclimated.

Problems that Occur from Not Acclimating

If you fail to acclimate laminate flooring properly, a lot of problems could occur. Some problems that could happen to a laminate floor that is not acclimated well include:

  • The flooring will expand or compress depending on temperatures in the room and subfloor
  • Gaps may appear between the areas where the planks are joined together
  • The floor will feel unstable
  • The flooring consistency could change
  • Planks could warp or buckle
  • May need to repair or replace planks

Although an expansion gap is used for laminate flooring, if it isn’t acclimatised properly it can exceed this gap.

How To Acclimate Laminate Flooring

Before acclimating the planks, make sure the conditions are stable and understand the living conditions of the home where it will be used. Know that most homes are kept on average between 65 to 76 degrees F, 18.5 to 24 degrees C, with a relative humidity of 40 to 65 percent.

Acclimate the planks in the following environment:

  • Make sure the room temperature is between 64 and 86 degrees F, 17.8 and 30 degrees C.
  • Make sure the floor temperatures are no higher than 59 degrees F, 15 degrees C
  • Make sure the humidity level in the room is between 25 and 70 percent. Use a hygrometer to test humidity levels

Concrete tends to release moisture as it dries or cures.

If you are installing the flooring on a concrete slab, the concrete will need to be cured for at least 60 days and have a vapor flow rate of 3 pounds, or 1.36 kg/24 hours for every 1,000 square feet, 92.9 sq. meter.

Allow any freshly painted or plastered walls to cure for between 3 and 7 days before laying the flooring.

If radiant heat is being used, the heat needs to be turned on for at least 3 days before installation begins and set at 80 degrees F, 26.6 degrees C.

Once the conditions are stable, begin to prepare the laminate flooring planks.

Stacking the planks is a good method to acclimate them, as long as you create a level foundation and allow space between the planks for airflow. If the stacking is not level, the planks will warp before you even get a chance to start the installation.

Stack the flooring to acclimate as follows:

  1. First, clear an area where you will stack the planks
  2. Unpack the flooring
  3. Remove plastic wrapping
  4. Stack the laminate making sure the base is stable
  5. Stack all of the planks in the same direction and neatly, leaving a 1 to 2 inch, 2.5 to 5 cm, gap between each plank so that each plank receives adequate airflow
  6. Stack the rest of the planks using a crisscross method by alternating the direction of each layer of planks
  7. Do not stack higher than about 3 feet, or about 1 meter tall

Once the laminate flooring has been installed, do not walk on it until it fully cures. Wait at least 24 hours to walk on or move furniture onto the floor.

Final Thoughts

Never rush a laminate flooring project. Properly acclimating laminate flooring is a very important step to take before installing it. You can stack laminate flooring to acclimate it if you follow some necessary steps to do so.

If the laminate is not acclimated properly, it could buckle and warp and end up needing to be replaced. So, take the time needed now to make sure the floor is ready to install.