Does laminate flooring expand in winter?

As the temperature outside starts to dip, you may be wondering whether your laminate flooring will start to expand. After all, wood is known to change shape as the temperature and humidity levels fluctuate. 

Laminate flooring does not expand in winter. Due to the cold and dry weather, laminate flooring will instead contract. There have been some cases where an underfloor heating system may cause your floors to expand, but this is only when the temperature reaches 27°C. 

If you live in an area with mild winters, your laminate floor should be just fine. But if you’re concerned about potential damage from expansion, there are a few things you can do to avoid irreparable damage. 

How Temperature affects your flooring

When the temperature changes, laminate flooring expands and contracts depending on its environment, especially when you don’t properly acclimate your laminate flooring. The effects are more noticeable in hot or humid environments with increased moisture content. But similarly, when there is less moisture and it’s cold, your laminate flooring will also react to it, resulting in buckling, peeling, or other forms of damage. 

Does laminate flooring expand in winter?

Your laminate flooring is most likely to contract during cold and dry weather. Your laminate flooring might buckle, peel, or curl during winter.
Some circumstances may make your laminate flooring expand during winter. For example, if you have underfloor heating that gets too hot with cold temperatures near 27°C (80 °F), then this could cause your laminate flooring to expand.

How to prevent the laminate floor from buckling

You can prevent it altogether by ensuring there is a 1/4-inch gap around your room’s perimeter so it expands and contracts without buckling in the middle ground. Not all rooms expand the same way, so knowing how much expansion will occur is something you need to keep an eye on. Here is a guide on how to leave an expansion gap when installing laminate flooring. And in case you’ve got a huge gap even though you’ve let your laminte floor settle long enough, you can solve this by using expansion gap fillers.

How to fix buckled laminate flooring

If you have a warped or buckled laminate floor, the first thing to do is remove any laminate that has mold near where it’s popping up. Use smaller spacers (by removing the bigger ones) and fit them into place so that your repaired planks can expand without bowing out too far. Finally, nail down the baseboards with weight on top for at least one day- after this time, check back again!

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