You might already know that water and laminate flooring don’t mix, but what about humidity and laminate flooring?
The wood materials in the laminate flooring expand and contract with moisture. Depending on how humid your home is, the flooring could change widths. Too much humidity could impact your floors integrity if it’s not installed correctly.
Manufacturers generally recommend that you install your laminate flooring in no more than 60% humidity and no less than 30% humidity. This middle range will give your flooring time to acclimate so that you get the best fit possible for your home.
What Happens When Humidity and Laminate Mix
As the humidity levels rise above 60%, your flooring expands. Because laminate is installed using a tongue in groove, click to lock system, this expansion can push the sides of each plank into each other causing them to buckle.
Low humidity levels can also have an impact on your flooring. When it is extraordinarily dry (below 30% humidity), the flooring shrinks pulling each plank away from the other. This can cause your floors separate and expose gaps.
Installation Phase: What You Can Do To Prevent Damage From Humidity
The installation of your laminate flooring is the critical time to think about humidity.
Before you install your flooring, you must acclimate your laminate to the environment where it will be housed. To do this, arrange your boxes of flooring with flat and side by side. Don’t put them flush against the wall. Give them room to breathe and become used to the humidity level in your home. The full acclimatization process takes 48 hours.
After your flooring has sat at least two days, you’re ready to install. During installation, humidity should still be taken into consideration. Manufacturers suggest leaving ¼ inch between the flooring and the wall to allow room for expansion and contraction.
By following these steps you’ll be able to prepare your flooring for the humidity levels in your home, minimizing your risk of damage from moisture in the air.
Have another flooring question? Ask our experts before you start your installation! With our help and guidance, you’ll become a DIY installer in no time.