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Installing Laminate Flooring in an Enclosed Porch

Dear Bob and Betsy,
I just finished building an enclosed porch onto my home. It’s enclosed with four walls so I’m able to keep all water out and keep the temperature somewhat in control. The room has window walls on three sides so I get ample sunshine. I don’t always turn on the heater or cooler out there so the temperature does fluctuate a little more than the rest of the house. I’d like to install some whitewash laminate to complete the look of my beach home. Can I install laminate flooring in an enclosed porch with so much direct sunlight and without me running the a/c and heater out there everyday?
Thanks! Lauren C.

Dear Lauren,

Congratulations on your new addition! It sounds like you’ll have a great retreat to go enjoy your backyard or views.

Enclosed patios are a unique type of room. It sounds like you have some of the most common challenges that go along with these rooms, including climate control concerns and consistent UV rays.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

The Direct Sunlight 

The direct sunlight is less of a concern with laminate flooring. Unlike hardwood flooring, which can fade quickly when exposed to sunlight regularly, laminate is able to withstand UV rays.

The top layers of your flooring are decorative and protective. The whitewashed wood design you’re interested in is actually a high-definition print out; it’s not real wood. This is beneficial to you (and many other homeowners in your position) because it lets you have a stunning floor in an area where hardwood and engineered hardwood couldn’t last as long.

The color and pattern on your laminate flooring should last you for years, even in the harsh sunlight.

Climate Control 

The lack of climate control is a different story. Climate control is essential for all types of flooring with natural elements – laminate included.

Although decorative layers top your laminate, the bulk of the flooring is made up of wood, a natural material.

The inner core layer is the largest part of a plank of laminate flooring. It is made up of a high density fiberboard using fibers from real wood. It is infused with a plastic resin to make it more stable, but this does not solve the issue of expansion and contraction.

In a non-climate controlled room (or one that isn’t regularly controlled), you can see a large fluctuation in temperatures. This can put an unusual amount of stress on your flooring, causing it to expand and contract regularly. Over time, this can weaken the joints and could lead to your floors buckling.

Unless you plan to keep your room at a consistently temperate range, we recommend not using laminate flooring in this part of your home.

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