Do You Acclimate Luxury Vinyl Flooring Cover Photo

Do You Acclimate Luxury Vinyl Flooring? 7

If you travel to a destination with a different elevation and humidity your body needs a few days to adjust (acclimate), and the same goes for luxury vinyl flooring. Acclimating is a pre-installation process that lets your flooring materials adjust to their environment before installation. Acclimating your vinyl will help ensure the longevity of its lifespan. Today we will dive deeper into why acclimating your vinyl is important. We’ll then look at the necessary conditions to acclimate your vinyl correctly. Before ultimately discussing what could happen if you choose not to acclimate.

The importance of acclimating

Vinyl plank flooring is made with a high density core which is porous, even though it looks completely solid. The tiny spaces in the core allow air to move into the core which brings in a considerable amount of humidity. This means the more humid the air, the more likely the planks are to begin to swell. The less humid the air, the more likely the planks will shrink. We will discuss the cluster of problems this can create later on. Acclimating gives the flooring the chance to blend with the humidity and temperature of the area that it will be spending the rest of its life in. Acclimating your vinyl floors before installation will also ensure you do not void your warranty. We discuss more about luxury vinyl and their warranties in our article “What to Look for in Luxury Vinyl”.

Conditions critical for acclimating

When you are acclimating your floor it is best to have the vinyl exposed to the exact setting it will be living in. Modern day luxury vinyl plank is engineered to provide longer lasting performance even under rough circumstances but they still require specific acclimation specifications. The specifications are different depending on installing in a pre existing home or a newly constructed house. We’ll start with a pre existing home.

  • Luxury vinyl floors must be given 48 hours to acclimate in their new environment. It will be worth while to make sure you have the flooring shipped to your home 2 days before installation.
  • Once you have your boxes of plank, carry them to the room where you plan to lay them.
  • Make sure the room is around the same temperature that you normally keep it. (usually 59 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Acclimation occurs easier when the vinyl is outside the box, but does not have to be.
  • Let them be for 48 hours and then you are ready to install your new vinyl planks.

Acclimation in new construction has become difficult because no one wants to cover the cost the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air-conditioning). Or the flooring has simply become moved up to the front of the construction schedule.

  • The HVAC should be turned on 48 hours before the installation with the vinyl inside the home.
  • The houses temperature should maintain a consistent temperature between 59 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Once installed, the home should continue to be kept at the same temperature range the vinyl was acclimated to.

What if I don’t acclimate

Buckled Flooring Example

After hearing the conditions critical for acclimating you might think to yourself, “do I really need to acclimate?” Yes, you do. When Vinyl is not given the chance to acclimate it will expand or it will contract. If the vinyl comes from a very hot environment and is placed into a much cooler environment contraction will take place. This will cause the floor to start to pull apart, creating gaps between your planks. Where if the vinyl comes from a very cool environment and is placed into a much warmer environment it will expand. This can cause your planks to buckle and sometimes the planks click-lock systems can even become stuck together. Both of these issues will make your floor become uneven, ruining the comfort and the beautiful look of your floor.


  1. I am planning on installing laminate flooring into my kitchen next month. Is acclimation need and/or different with laminate?

    1. Thanks for the question Judith! Laminate flooring is close to the same, but not exactly. The only difference when acclimating laminate is the acclimation time. Laminate needs 24 to 72 hours (depending on the product) to acclimate. Make sure to read the manufacturers installation instructions carefully to find the amount of time required.

  2. How soon can I walk on the floors after installation?

    1. Thanks for the question Jim! On average it is around 24 hours. You should refer to your manufacturers instructions because different manufacturers usually have different recommended wait times.

  3. I am having luxury vinyl plank installed on a three season porch (in New Hampshire) within the next few weeks. Do you acclimate on the porch in the cold weather?

    1. Thanks for the Question! Generally, you will want to acclimate where the flooring is going to be installed. Since the temperature will be changing it is worth giving your flooring manufacturer a call and/or seeing if you can find anything in their installation instructions to know for sure.

  4. My luxury vinyl flooring was not acclimated before being installed on top of my terrazzo flooring. The vinyl was installed throughout the house. Within two months wet calcium deposit-like seepage was coming up between the plank seams and drying like cracker-crumbs. The flooring store sent the installers to pick-up the floor only in the family room looking to see what the problem was. Water was discovered below the planks on top of and below the plastic sheet that was put down on top of the terrazzo floor under the floating vinyl planks. They dried the terazzo floor, put down new plastic sheeting, and put the vinyl flooring back down in the family room. After 3 weeks now the family room has no evidence of any leakage coming up between the planks, but everywhere else there is leakage coming up between the plank seams. I have no plumbing issues whatsoever, no dampness, no water leaks, and normal water bills. I believe the water accumulation below the flooring is due to the floor not being acclimated before installation. It was brought in the store truck and installed in about 4 hours and it was also raining that day. The store wants to send a mitigator to go around the inside of my home looking for a water leak at a cost of $500.00 . If they find nothing they will then go outside around my home, perhaps even drilling holes, searching for leaks at additional cost. I asked the store to come and take the entire floor up again as they did to the family room, to dry the floor, to put down new plastic, and reinstall the flooring. I feel this would be the better option to see if there will be no more seepage just like in the family room. Would you please give your opinion. Thank you! Marge

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *