How Does Temperature Affect Laminate Flooring

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Among all the types of wood flooring, laminate flooring is easily one of the best alternatives to its high-end counterparts like solid wood and engineered hardwood flooring or engineered floor. It's longer-lasting, easy-to-maintain, and equally attractive. However, like other wood floor types, it's also vulnerable to the effects of drastic shifts in temperature.

How does temperature affect laminate flooring? It's because it's porous: expanding when the climate is warmer and contracting when the temperature is cooler. This can cause the laminate to lift or bubble. 

How Temperature Affects Your Flooring

Laminate flooring is susceptible to the effects of changing temperature, humidity, and moisture in the air. A simple explanation for this is that when temperature increases, laminate flooring tends to expand. A decrease in temperature, on the other hand, leads to contraction. Humidity can also adversely affect laminate floors, as moisture may seep into the floor boards and cause them to swell. This can cause boards to wrap, lift or curl. When the humidity levels decrease, the swelling is reduced. This cycle is repeated with the changing season, causing repeated damage as time goes on. 

Here are some ways that you can take to protect your laminate flooring from fluctuations in humidity and temperature: 

  • Make sure that minimal amounts of liquid are used when cleaning your food flooring. Mopping this flooring material with water and the water-based product isn't encouraged to reduce humidity.
  • Observe the amount of humidity in your home. If humidity levels get to more than sixty percent, use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to lower these levels down. 
  • Keep moisture content and humidity level at a minimum to keep your hardwood and laminate floors in their best condition for many years to come. 
  • Prepare your laminate flooring for the winter season to avert damage and prevent an expensive repair.

Here are few laminate flooring maintenance tips:

1. Prevent moisture from build-up

Even though a laminate floor is moisture resistant, the possibility of them being damaged by water is still a threat during the winter season. Being in and out of your home exposes your laminate flooring to ice and snow. 

Be sure to put mats and rugs in the most vulnerable areas of your laminate flooring. And also, remove your shoes before entering your house. 

2. Guard Against Winter Debris

Whether it's rock salt, ground grit, or any other kind of winter debris, your laminate flooring can be severely damaged if you're not careful with abrasive winter degrees. But regular cleaning protects the appearance and functionality of your laminate flooring. 

3. Avoid Extreme Temperature Fluctuations

Temperature swings can be harmful to nearly any flooring type, whether engineered wood flooring or laminate flooring. As the temperature swiftly changes from cold to hot and back again, your laminate flooring expands and contracts, resulting in different curling and peeling damages. Avoid adjusting your thermostat regularly. Alternatively, try to maintain a consistent interior temperature. 

More so, if you are installing an underfloor heating system with laminate flooring, follow the recommended maximum floor temperature that the floor should be heated to-maintaining a maximum of 27˚C prevents damages to the laminate. Thicker laminate boards will affect heating transfer, slowing it down rather than conducting heat into the room. When using laminate flooring with underfloor heating, it's recommended that you use laminate boards that are no thicker than 18mm to maximize floor heating transfer. 

If you prefer radiant heating, it's perfectly fine as long as you never raise the flooring surface temperature above 82 degrees. Radiant heat is best utilized with flooring materials like porcelain, ceramic, natural stone, laminate, and vinyl floor as they are excellent thermal conductors. Thicker floor coverings like solid hardwood and engineered wood are poor thermal bridges. Solid hardwood floor and engineered hardwood floor can easily be damaged by heat and moisture. Carpet, on the other hand, is not advisable.

How To Get The Best Out Of Laminate Flooring

Gloved technician lays down laminate

1. Make Sure To Acclimate 

To acclimate laminate flooring, you must leave it for enough period in conditions that it will get used to when laid, therefore decreasing the possibility of too much expanding or contracting beyond what would be expected by requirements dictated in a single room, The manufacturer of your laminate flooring should furnish you with a helpful guide on how to acclimate your flooring. However, the most common way is to set the laminate flooring (still shrink-wrapped) in the center of the room where you want to lay it. Keeping the wood far from the exterior walls is recommended to prevent any significant temperature difference. 

Your laminate flooring can be piled but lay it flat the best way you can. The longer you leave the laminate flooring, the better the output. But leaving it for 48 to 72 hours produces the best results. To be more accurate, the room should be between 65ºF-75ºF (18.5°C - 24°C), with a 45-65% humidity level. 

For newly laid concrete floors, it's best not to lay the laminate until the floor has been left for around 90 days to make sure the excess moisture has dried up. More so, a newly painted or plastered room should be left for a minimum of seven days before being used to acclimate laminate flooring. Once your laminate flooring has settled, you can begin the work on the installation.

2. Use The Floating Floor Method 

Floating floors are well-known for many types of floor coverings. The term "floating floor" doesn't refer to a type of flooring material. It's a method of installation that can be used with different materials, such as engineered hardwood, laminates, and luxury vinyl flooring. In this way, individual planks (or, in some cases, tiles) interlock edge-to-edge to form a single mat-like surface that rests on the underlayment. It's different from the glue-down or nail-down techniques that are still used for porcelain tile flooring, ceramic, and stone. 

Many homeowners favor the floating method as it enables the flooring to react to changes in a room's corresponding humidity by expanding and contracting without buckling. Besides, due to its ease and simplicity, floating floor installation saves funds and helps installation go a lot faster. But an excellent floating floor installation requires a well-prepared subfloor. In some situations, it can have a hollow feeling underfoot that is less pleasing than the solidity of nailed-down hardwood or bonded ceramic tile floor.

3. Install In The Right Areas

Properly installed laminate flooring, with tight seams and great baseboards or moldings, can endure heavy amounts of water, but only for a short period. For family bathrooms or other areas where standing water is likely, laminate flooring is a poor choice. If you can fairly dedicate yourself to cleaning up occasional spills and puddles instantly, laminate flooring may be used in low moisture areas.

4. Take Advantage Of Moisture Barrier

Laminate flooring that often gets wet is more prone to mold and mildew. This can also damage your floor over time. Thus, vapor barriers are there to help stop the floor from getting damp. Also called a moisture barrier, a floor vapor barrier is a sheet of plastic that holds moisture from running through a subfloor or wall. A vapor barrier is on installing floors or walls in spaces prone to dampness or excess moisture. Flooring moisture barriers are set beneath the underlayment of the floor. You can grab a barrier separately or get underlayment with a built-in. moisture barrier 

If any water vapor infiltrates over a concrete subfloor, the vapor diffusion retarder decreases the moisture movement, stopping damage to the floor. For any flooring that needs a floating installation method, be it laminate plank or vinyl plank flooring, use at least six mils plastic sheet as a moisture barrier. More so, you can apply an underlayment with a moisture barrier built-in for water vapor control.

Your Go-To Remodeling Store For Laminate Flooring That Lasts

At Zothex Flooring, clients need not worry about laminate flooring problems as our professional staff will always guide and assist before, during, and even after installation. Our superior flooring installation services and high-quality flooring products will always give you the peace of mind and satisfaction that you deserve. If the need arises, call us at (916) 925 - 1958 or visit our website.

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