Does LVP Need To Acclimate?

LVP is a very durable and beautiful looking flooring option that won’t break the bank. It is easy to install and can withstand use and abuse for many years if installed and cared for correctly. 

When installing wood floors, it is always a good idea to let the flooring acclimate to avoid any imperfections from shrinkage or expansion. The real question is, does LVP need to acclimate like other flooring options even though it isn’t actually made of 100% wood? Let’s take a deep dive into the specifics of LVP and how you can make your next flooring job a breeze.

What Is LVP?

LVP, or luxury vinyl plank, is a popular and affordable synthetic flooring option that is used in homes and businesses across the globe. It was invented as a budget-friendly flooring option that would imitate the look of other popular flooring materials like wood, stone, or ceramic. Not only would it save the customer some money, but it would be easier to maintain and care for than a traditional floor. 

The exact structure of LVP will vary by manufacturer, but it usually consists of multiple layers of inexpensive and strong materials. Cork, foam, PVC, glass fiber, WPC/SPC, and UV-resistant layers are the most common components of most LVP flooring.

Vinyl sheeting is another popular type of vinyl flooring, but it is different because it comes in squares or sheets, whereas LVP comes in rectangular planks that are meant to mimic the look of hardwood plank floors. It is superior to vinyl sheeting in this respect because it looks even more like the real deal because of the shape of the planks. Like other flooring options, it is available as a floating floor, or it can be nailed down directly to the subfloor, but the tongue and groove option is by far the favorite choice for contractors and DIY enthusiasts alike.

Does LVP Need To Acclimate?

Now, the million-dollar question…does LVP need to acclimate before installation? The short answer is yes, it needs sufficient time to acclimate to avoid any imperfections in the final product. That being said, it is still easier to work with and install than a solid-core hardwood floor.

Just because there isn’t much actual wood in LVP doesn’t mean you should immediately install the flooring after purchasing it. Like other types of flooring, temperature changes will cause LVP to expand and contract. This is important to know because this fluctuation can cause unwanted gaps or heaves in the flooring long after you finish installing it. In order to successfully avoid this, you will need to let the flooring sit in the project room to allow it to reach an equilibrium with the average temperature and humidity. If you’ve ever noticed and gaps or bulges in an LVP floor, then there is a good chance that it didn’t have enough time to acclimate before it was installed.

Most manufacturers will recommend that you give the flooring 48 hours to acclimate. This is a good rule of thumb for most scenarios, but you should always double-check the installation instructions on the product to be sure. This rule applies to all LVP flooring, no matter how it is installed. That means you need to take the extra time to let floating, glue down, and tongue and groove LVP flooring acclimate to the climate.

Think about it, LVP flooring that has been glued or nailed to the subfloor will develop gaps or heaves in any areas that aren’t sufficiently secured. The same is true for a floating floor even though it is fastened to the subfloor because the pieces will be more prone to separating from each other.

What Should You Do?

Now that you know the common pitfalls, we can cover the proper acclimation process. You will want to put the flooring in the same room that it will be installed if possible. If this isn’t an option, then make sure it is in your house/business in another room where the temperature will be similar. Make sure not to stack the planks on top of each other or lean them up against a wall, this can damage the flooring, causing it to bend or become misshapen.

While you are waiting, it would be wise to go over your plan of attack so that you are ready to roll as soon as the flooring has acclimated. You can remeasure your room to ensure you have enough flooring, decide where you want to start, choose the direction that you want to run the flooring and take this chance to make sure the subfloor is nice and clean. By the time you have checked all the boxes in the preparation department, you should be ready to lay your brand-new LVP floors.

Final Thoughts

There is a reason that LVP flooring is continuing to become more popular as a flooring option. It really does look great and will save you a ton of money in the long run. Installing LVP is an easy process as long as you take the time to properly prepare for the project. As long as you are patient and let the flooring acclimate, you can be sure that your final product will be long-lasting and gorgeous.

Meet your Flooring Expert

Travis McCullough

Travis McCullough

Travis is a lifelong jack-of-all-trades in the construction industry with 20 years of experience in a variety of fields. He’s tackled flooring, carpentry, and everything in between on residential and commercial projects of all shapes and sizes.
Working independently and as part of a crew has equipped him with the know-how to not only complete a project but also teach others the finer points within most building professions. When he isn’t out hanging off of a ladder or crawling around on a roof, Travis spends his time educating people about the construction industry.

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