Acclimation of laminates before installing is important!!

Discussion in 'Hardwood and Laminates Q&A' started by John303, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. John303

    John303 Member

    Acclamation of laminate before installing is very important, and I learned the hard way. I contracted with a flooring company in Denver to sell and install Shaw laminate flooring in the basement of my home in Colorado. I picked an extra-thick underlayment for additional thermal protection. I didn't know much about the installation process, and the flooring warped laterally within a few weeks of installation. When Shaw hired an expert to evaluate the source of the warping, they determined that the product had not been left to act for acclimate to the conditions before installation as required. As a result, Shaw would not honor the warranty claim. So I had to turn to the dealer and it was a real nightmare. Take my advice, do a lot of research on your laminate dealer. You have to check carefully because, if there are problems with the job when it is finished, the manufacturer's warranty claim does not necessarily apply. You may be in a situation, like me, were you have to rely on the dealer/installer to stand behind their work. My installer did not stand behind his work, even when a second expert determined the defective flooring was his fault. Do your research!!
  2. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Everything else was perfect? They try to find something to get off the hook.

    Each board warped? Were moisture levels tested in slab prior to install? What is Humidity level in air?

    So in the end are you living with distorted laminate?
  3. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    I'm thinking more on moisture levels too. We hardly ever acclimate unless we have the time to deliver to the job a week ahead of time. It sits in the store so I guess that acclimates to our area.
  4. kylenelson

    kylenelson You'll find me on the floor I Support TFP Senior Member

    Sounds highly unlike an acclimation issue.
  5. Dan Schultz

    Dan Schultz Certified Wood Floor Inspector Charter Member

    Acclimation is NOT a time thing. It is a moisture content thing. This means if the moisture content is within a certain range of the substrate, installation can begin.

    While some manufacturer's instructions may call for "x" amount of days or hours, that in itself will NOT guarantee a successful installation.

    John303, you mentioned this was a basement installation. Do you have documented (usually means pictures) testing of moisture testing of the slab? The flooring product?Temperature & relative humidity of the installed area ~ at the time of the installation?
  6. Hanover Fist

    Hanover Fist Pro Member

    It looks like after a short web search, John here has been on a personal vendetta with his flooring guy for over a year now...
    I see nearly the exact same post on no less than 5 websites from ripoffreport to the BBB, some dated in 2014.

    Couple of things...
    First, I get that you were burned on a flooring deal.
    It's not cool and there's more than one party to blame, I'm sure.
    And if you reexamine your early dealings with the contractor in the job scope/negotiation area, I'm sure you'll find a bit of fault lies on you.
    I find that people who shout and shout about a thing are misdirecting from a fault that they noticed, but don't want exposed.

    Second, all you're doing by repeating the name of this contractor on every site you get to is driving web traffic to look for this guy - this is working the opposite way you think it is.
  7. Isabella Flooring

    Isabella Flooring Pro Member

    Just remember.....A thermostat on a heating and Air cond. does not constitute
    a CONTROLED environment these days
  8. I always like to see 3 days for our cork floating floors...longer is better but it can be done on short notice. Because our cork has HDF core (much like laminates) I always ASSUME the other floors require 3 days or more (wood is more). Sigh.

    Even vinyl planks ( much should it need, right?) requires 2-3 days (as per INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS) if vinyl needs 2 days, then logic dictates that laminate requires nothing less.

    And a basement install is frought with moisture and mitigation issues. What type of underlay? Was it designated as a 2-in-1 or a high-end 3-in-1...or was it an open cell foam that is NOT considered a vapour barrier?

    I hate to say it but (the installers on this website know this) the "point of sales" guy/gal rarely has all the product knowledge they should have (hundreds of floors in a single store = a little bit of knowledge of each one).
  9. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member


    With plastic the issue is really just temperature. So the acclimation process could very easily be accelerated in multiple ways to the point you don't really need DAYS for material to be setting on site. It just needs to be reasonably the same temperature as the site conditions so you don't get dramatic expansion or contraction into the adhesive, as the adhesive sets or afterward for that matter.

    Where humidity can affect the installation and performance of the material I don't see how TIME is the factor. With wood you need to actually measure the acclimation process. So I can't understand how anything less could be appropriate for materials composed of wood byproducts. It's going to expand and contract with changes in humidity the way plastic does with temperature.

    DOLLARFLOOR Pro Member


    I tend to side/agree with Dan and Kyle on this one. The warehouses we sell out of today are in a climate controlled environment. Yet, back in the early 2000s we were growing so fast with our other brand that we had some locations that were not climate controlled. The installations occurred the same regardless of acclimation and there were no issues. The most I recall anyone ever demanding for an acclimation period was "a weekend" and I only recall that occurring a couple of times. If I were a betting man I would bet this is a basement moisture issue.

  11. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    I read a box of Tarkett plank the other day, it said 65-75 degrees 72 hours prior to installation.

    Yes, I agree there is moisture in the basement, either/or/and the slab or air.
  12. Hanover Fist

    Hanover Fist Pro Member

    This guy isn't coming back - he doesn't want solutions, he wants to sling mud.
  13. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Yeah he sounds grumpy like Jim! Good investigative work Han.
  14. jwathas

    jwathas Member

    I very highly doubt that this is an acclimation issue. As others have already said, this sounds more like you have a moisture issue on your basement, which is why laminate is not the best option for basements unless you're 100% sure that it is completely bone dry down there. Moisture and laminate floors do not mix well at all.
  15. I know the original poster is probably long gone, but let me ask you guys looking at the thread a question.

    In your experience when laminate isn't acclimated considering the product is reasonably well made - wouldn't you have problems getting the lock system to go together?

    I've experienced this myself. Cold fall day, saw is set up out on the back porch of the house. Heat is on inside the house. Went to use some of my cut offs that I had laying on the porch for a couple of hours couldn't get the boards together. Was my house, so I let it sit just to see and sure enough next day after the boards were in the house over night I could put them together no problem.

    The thing that sent up a red flag to me was when he said laminate in the basement. I have seen a ton of scenarios that could cause warping / buckling. Most common reason is some source of moisture or water getting to the laminate. I've also seen radical temp changes cause problems - like my installation above. Have seen people take material from a 95+ degree installation truck and try and install it in a house with the air on and set to 70 degrees. Usually doesn't work out to well.

    I've also seen cases where AC or heat gets cranked and there is a sudden dramatic change in temp/humidity that can cause problems as well.

    As they say there's always 2 sides to every story, so far we only have heard 1.

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