Does Laminate Flooring Need to Settle? (How Long?)

You probably have heard the term settle when talking about installing your laminate flooring. Why do we need to let laminate flooring settle? Is this something we can avoid, lastly, what would happen if you don’t allow laminate flooring to settle?

Yes, your laminate flooring needs to settle to get the best results. Not giving enough time to settle may force it to move, which may lead to irreparable damages in the long run. This also means you must avoid working or walking on them until they have settled properly.

We are all a little excited about our home improvement project. In fact, we are so excited that we want to get things done as fast as possible. Well, you might want to know that in some cases, patience is something you simply need to have to get the best results. And letting your laminate flooring settle after installation is one of them.

Does Laminate Floor Really Need To Settle? Why?

Yes, your laminate floorboards need to settle before you can begin walking on them. Though doing so before the panels have completely settled will not cause the laminate to warp or shrink, it will force it to move, which is something you still would want to avoid. 

Give your panels enough time to settle before you start working or walking on them. Once laminate floorboards have been installed, they need to get acclimated to their surroundings. Below are several reasons why your laminate flooring needs to settle.

  1. Ensuring the floor does not move.

When you are done installing your laminate flooring, make sure that it does not move even an inch. Allow ample time to settle down nicely and get used to its new surroundings. 

  1. Getting used to the environment

At the time of manufacturing, all the laminates are placed in one room. Bringing them into your home means your panels are entering a new environment. The humidity and temperature of our house will be different. Thus, they require time to settle in.

  1. Conditioning laminate flooring

Before the laminate floorboards can be installed in your home, they need to be given enough time to settle in and be conditioned. If you do not ensure that your planks receive the required time to get used to their new surroundings, then the conditioning will not be perfect. It may also cause the panels to contract and expand more than they should. 

In addition, too much movement of the laminate flooring could cause them to warp, shrink, buckle, and even bend. 

  1. Giving ample time for drying

Air or humidity can be trapped inside your laminate floorboards before you install them. Neither of these things, as well as moisture, are visible from the outside. Thus, it would be best to give laminates enough time to dry, which could amount to at least 48 hours before you begin using them.

How Long Does Laminate Floor Take to Settle?

Most laminate floorboards are made with durable and high-quality materials. This means almost all of them to need the same amount of time to settle. However, you should read the manufacturer’s instructions before taking any action. It might be possible that yours might need more than generally needed. It might even need less in some cases, but this is rare. 

Generally, you need to wait up to 48 hours after the installation process is complete before walking on your brand-new floor. Once this time has passed, nothing is going to stop you from working on your laminate planks.

What Happens If I Don’t Acclimate Laminate Flooring?

If you want to ensure that your flooring does not get damaged or start deteriorating after installing it, then you need to give it time for acclimation. It’s also important to note that you need to know how to acclimate correctly. I created a complete guide to ensure you won’t end up with irreparable damages because of a small mistake you made during the acclimation process or what would happen if you didn’t acclimate at all. You can find below several consequences of not allowing your laminate flooring to acclimate. 

  1. Your floor may become uneven.

Not giving laminate floorboards enough time to acclimate in and get used to their new surroundings may cause them to move slightly or a lot. Once the floorboards start to move, your floor will become uneven and even unsmooth. So, you will feel bumps beneath your feet every time you walk on it.

  1. Your floor may become swollen.

Laminate floors may often contain air and humidity. This means that they need to release that air during the acclimation process. This not only decreases the durability of your planks but damages them permanently. 

  1. Floorboards may expand or shrink.

If the laminate floor does not acclimate to its surroundings, it may not be able to adjust. This means they will slightly expand or shrink (during summer or winter). Therefore, you must always leave gaps between your boards so they can adjust to the room’s environment. Not giving that space and installing them without gasps will eventually lead to more gaps left between them and cause the floor to become uneven. You’ll then will have to use gap fillers to solve, which is not always an easy thing to do.  

  1. The durability of your floorboards may decrease.

It is a given that your laminate floorboards will deteriorate if not allowed the opportunity to acclimate. Thus, the integrity of your floor will be compromised, leading to a decrease in the durability of your planks. 

Can You Stack Laminate Flooring To Acclimate?

Yes, you can. If you want your laminate floorboards to acclimate to their surroundings, you can do a couple of things. This includes stacking the flooring to ensure it adjusts to the humidity and temperature in its new environment before and after installation. 

To stack your laminate floors, you need to lay down a base of panels. Next, they need to be arranged in a crisscross orientation. Remember that you need to leave an appropriate distance between the panels to ensure that they do not warp or buckle when they expand with increased heat.

Here are some quick tips about stacking laminate floorboards, which will help you acclimate them.

  1. Be sure to prepare your chosen space beforehand and adjust it to the humidity and temperature levels recommended by the manufacturer. It is crucial to ensure that the floor you will stack has the right moisture content. 
  2. The gaps you leave between the floorboards should be of the recommended size to allow maximum air circulation. Stacking the panels too close may hinder their air circulation and cause them to have different temperature and humidity levels.
  3. Your responsibility is to keep a close eye on your room while your laminate floorboards are acclimated to their surroundings. This needs to be done so that you can monitor the temperature levels and make sure that they stay the same for the next two to three days after installation. 

While these simple tips are helpful, you need a detailed guide to help you through the acclimation process, especially when stacking the laminate flooring. We have written a complete guide on how to stack to acclimate, which will tell you everything that you need to know. 


Does Laminate Flooring Settle Over Time?

Any new flooring product made out of laminate needs to settle in your house for around 48 to 72 hours. Be sure to place it in the room you are hoping to install it in so it can become accustomed to the new humidity and temperature conditions.

Is Laminate Flooring Meant to Move?

No, laminate floorboards are not meant to move, as with other kinds of flooring. If you walk on your brand-new floor and feel it move beneath your feet, then know there is some sub-floor issue. It is either not leveled or flat, which gives you the sensation of a moving floor. 

How Soon Can You Walk on Laminate Flooring After Installation?

Before you can start using your brand-new floor or shift into the room, you must make sure that it has settled. Leave your laminate flooring for 48 to 72 hours to prevent damage.

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