Can You Stack Laminate Flooring to Acclimate?


Wondering if you can stack laminate flooring to help it acclimate before installation? This in-depth guide discloses everything there is to know about proper laminate flooring placement.

You can stack laminate flooring to acclimate, as long this is done in a criss-cross pattern with each layer. Ensure they are not stacked more than 3 feet high, and each layer is arranged neatly with no disorientation to ensure proper balance. If not, this may cause the laminate planks to bend or fall during the acclimation process.

Installing new laminate flooring in your home requires more than just shopping for the right material. To preserve its longevity, you want to master this material’s proper handling and storage, even before installation. Any laminate flooring material needs to acclimate before being installed. 

To get the best installation results, you have to ensure the laminate flooring material adjusts to the moisture and temperature conditions. So, we’ve put together a detailed foolproof guide to help you figure out if you can effectively stack laminate flooring to acclimate to your home environment.

Can You Skip Acclimating Laminate Flooring?

You should not skip acclimating laminate flooring. Easy enough to say, but what happens if you don’t acclimate laminate flooring?

Can the consequences really be that bad, or is it just a scare tactic?

If you do not allow your flooring time to adjust to the environment of your house before you lay it, it will simply adjust after it is installed.

At this point…it is too late.

It will either swell or shrink to match the humidity and temperature of your home and in turn, it will buckle or gap, respectively.  

For this reason, it is essential to add acclimation time to your project planning. Skipping this crucial step can cause you more work and cost you more money in the long run.

Can You Stack Laminate Flooring To Acclimate?

Laminate flooring can be stacked to help it acclimate. However, you need to do so in a careful manner. It is advised to only stack laminate flooring, laying it as flat as possible on a flat surface, for at least 24 to 72 hours before its installation.

Nonetheless, it is also a good idea to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on acclimatization. This means that in the event you need to use your warranty, it will not end up null and void due to poor handling.

What Conditions Are Critical To Correctly Acclimate Your Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring isn’t acclimated just for the fun of it. It is crucial to take it through this process so it can adjust to the needs of the conditions. The acclimating process simply involves the humid air traveling through the laminate’s tiny interior microscopic pores, causing it to expand. 

Once expanded, humid air escapes, causing it to contract and adjust to the conditions. Therefore, conditions for acclimatizing the material should be fine-tuned to prevent any hiccups. Here are the key conditions to consider to correctly and successfully acclimate your laminate flooring.

Time

Time is the number one essential factor. This is because you have to give the laminate material enough time to adjust. Typically, you should stack laminate flooring material for at least 24 to 72 hours in the room you intend to install them. 

Position

You should never place laminate material in an upright/vertical position. This is because doing so risks causing damage, such as bowing. Ideally, laminate panels should be stacked horizontally, as flat as possible, on a flat surface. 

Moreover, to give the entire structure support, you should place the panels in a crosswise pattern, with each layer positioned perpendicular to the other. Moreover, you want to leave the laminate panel in the original package for further protection from damage.

Climate

The interior climate should also be fine-tuned. To prevent possible damage that can make installation difficult, you have to maintain a certain temperature and humidity level. 

Ideally, the room temperature you intend to stack the panels should be around 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, humidity levels should be set at around 25% to 65%.

Recently Renovated Spaces

You should also make special reservations if your home has been recently worked on. Some of the circumstances to consider include the newly laid concrete floor or new painting in the room. 

You should wait at least 90 days before stacking laminate panels on a newly laid concrete floor to avoid possible water or humidity-related damage. Stacking laminate floor materials in a newly painted room should be done at least seven days after the fact for the paint to cure.

Overall Environment

In general, before you stack your laminate floor panels, make sure the floor is clean and free of any dirt or debris.

How High Can You Stack Laminate Flooring?

You should stack laminate flooring to no more than 3 feet for the best results. Stacking them lower ensures safety, reducing the risk of falling off due to poor balance and other types of damages.

Remember to position them in a criss-cross pattern in a successive layer. This placement allows the panels to support and give each other balance. Additionally, it allows for better air circulation, speeding up the acclimating process.

What Happens If You Don’t Stack Your Laminate Flooring Correctly?

Several problems can arise from the poor stacking of laminate flooring. The most common problems are the compression or expansion of the laminate planks once it is installed. In turn, this causes gaps around the joints. 

Let’s get a little deeper into why this happens. Unlike regular wood, laminate flooring panels integrate synthetic core materials that can easily get damaged by humidity and temperature. This is when the panels are poorly acclimated, they can easily develop problems. 

Other problems associated with poor stacking of laminate flooring materials include;

  • Crowned floor look during warm and humid seasons
  • Shrunken flooring with cracks during dry and cold seasons
  • Unstable floors after installation
  • Inconsistent flooring structure throughout the room
  • Reduces the longevity of the flooring, requiring maintenance sooner

In the worst-case scenarios, the damage may be too extensive, warranting the need to redo the flooring. This is because the material may expand to the point that it doesn’t fit the current installation. In some cases, you may have to invest in new laminate flooring materials in some cases.

How To Stack Laminate Flooring To Acclimate?

The process of stacking laminate flooring follows pretty much the same principle, despite the design or manufacturer. However, different laminate flooring designs will require slightly varying periods for stacking. 

For example, engineered hardwood laminate flooring incorporates three different layers. Therefore, you need about three days (72 hours) for the complete acclimating of each layer. Other standard laminate flooring panels will need only a day to acclimate.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to stack laminate floorings at home;

Prepare the Process

Begin by moving the new laminate flooring panels to the room you intend to install them. Next, set the room to have the right parameters for stacking (i.e., cleanliness), recommended temperature, and humidity). 

Arrange the Laminate Flooring Panels

Remove the panels from their box, which will also help fasten the acclimating process. In fact, panels that need acclimating for more than 24 hours may take longer. Furthermore, each panel will come fitted with plastic wrap for extra protection. 

So, when you unbox the panels, you should also remove their plastic wraps. Alternatively, you can poke multiple holes in them to allow optimal air circulation and contact with the room’s temperature and humidity. Before you start stacking the panels, examine the floor to ensure it is flat and stable.

The Stacking Process

Start by laying down at least four laminate flooring planks parallel to one another, depending on their side. As you place them next to each other, leave a small gap between each plank of at least an inch or two. Once done, repeat the step with the succeeding layer. 

But, this time, place the planks in the opposite direction (perpendicular to the planks below) to create a criss-cross pattern. Continue to follow this process with the succeeding layers, gauging each layer to ensure you still feel the balance. If you feel the upper layers are getting heavier or shaky, remove some of the layers and stop there.

Final Touches

Once done, examine the stack, ensuring each layer is arranged neatly with no disorientation to ensure proper balance.

What Can Affect Laminate Flooring Even After Acclimating?

Laminate flooring is highly susceptible to too much water. Cleaning with water is necessary, but less is more for this type of flooring.

Excessive water will seep into the cracks, causing swelling and permanent damage. Using the wrong type of mop can also lead to this type of damage.

Not cleaning up spills immediately can also lead to damage. The liquid can get into the cracks and cause swelling. This, in turn, leads to irreparable damage.

You might be wondering whether laminate flooring expands in winter/summer. The answer might surprise you.

Your flooring is also affected by the changing seasons:

  • Increased temperatures and humidity will cause your flooring to swell, leading to wrapping, lifting, or curling.
  • Lower temperatures and humidity will cause the swelling to reduce.
  • The cycle repeats with the changing seasons, causing more and more damage over time.

There are several ways in which you can battle seasonal changes:

First, winterize your home with mats at the doors if you live in a snowy area. Doing so will prevent the spread of snow and ice onto your laminate floors.

Second, maintain a constant temperature in your house. You do not want to keep changing your thermostat, as this will be disruptive to your flooring.

Third, if you have radiant heat underneath your floors, do not turn it higher than 82℉.

Conclusion

Stacking laminate flooring to acclimate is the easiest and most convenient way to prep your materials for installation. It also ensures the laminate flooring planks will last longer with no issues. 

Nevertheless, you have to be extra attentive with this process to avoid any possible damage to the planks. After all, even the smallest damage may require reinstalling your floor or purchasing the material again.

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