Does Laminate Flooring Expand?

Laminate flooring has come a long way since the seventies. Moreover, modern technology has made laminate flooring a worthy competitor to hardwood products. It is affordable, comes in many designs, and laminate floor installations are easy. However, before installing a laminate floor, you may have some questions.

This article aims to give you some helpful tips regarding laminate flooring. You will also get to know more about installing laminate flooring and if laminate flooring expands.

The Structure of Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring consists of four layers. The bottom two layers are responsible for the strength and protection of the laminate floor from moisture.

The Structure of Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring does not do well with moisture and is not suited for damp areas. Additionally, the third layer is the image or design layer, which gives the board its appearance.

Lastly, the top wear layer protects the laminate from damage to the surface.

What Is Expansion in Flooring?

When it comes to flooring, expansion refers to the natural expansion and contraction of the flooring materials. However, a humidity change is often the cause of expansion and contraction.

What Is Expansion in Flooring

Therefore, depending on the weather where you live, your flooring may be more prone to expansion. Changes in humidity and moisture levels cause a floor to expand. It generally occurs in warm weather or if you have a damp home. Thus, the moisture in the air causes the flooring to expand.

When the moisture levels drop during cold weather or dry winter weather, the flooring contracts.

What Is an Expansion Gap?

An expansion gap refers to the space left in flooring installations to allow natural expansion and contraction to occur. If an expansion gap occurs in the middle of a large room or between two rooms, it is called an expansion joint.

What Is an Expansion Gap

What Makes a Laminate Floor Expand?

As with all flooring, laminate floors expand. Laminate expands when temperature changes and changes in humidity occur. Excessive moisture in a damp home can also cause an expansion in laminate floors.

Installation Tips for Laminate Flooring

Sub-Floor: Installing laminate flooring is easy and affordable. This is because you can install a new laminate floor over an existing floor. Laminate flooring, therefore, gets the upper hand over vinyl planks and hardwood flooring as they cannot be installed on an existing floor or when there is an uneven subfloor.

Floating Floor Method for Laminate Flooring Installation: Laminate flooring installation has been made easier by tongue and groove laminate planks. This refers to the locking system used between planks. Like floating vinyl floors, there is no need for any adhesive when installing the laminate plank. You should use laminate flooring spacers when installing a new laminate floor.

Floating Floor Method for Laminate Flooring Installation

Leaving Enough Space for Laminate Floors: The recommended expansion gap for laminate flooring is 10-12mm. This means that your last row should end 10mm from any vertical surface. You should ensure that the new laminate flooring has the proper expansion gap. It should not touch the wall, kitchen units, or radiator collars. This will ensure that your floors avoid buckling.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ’s)

Should You Leave More Space in a Large Room?

You may need to leave more space if the laminate floor covers a large room or area. You must follow the installation instructions. For large rooms, in addition to expansion gaps around the perimeter, you may need an expansion joint in the middle of the room.

How Do You Cover Expansion Gaps and Joints in a Room?

A quarter round is usually used to cover any space around the perimeter. Expansion joints require T-molding as they are transition points in a room.

What Happens when You Do Not Leave the Right Size Expansion Gap?

If your laminate floor installation did not leave enough space for adequate expansion gaps, you risk damaging your room floor. As the temperature and humidity change, it will cause the laminate to expand. If the laminate planks tend to expand without adequate space, buckling occurs.


Laminate floors are affordable, attractive, and easy to install. To get the best out of your laminate flooring and prevent buckling, you must have adequate expansion gaps and an expansion joint if needed.

This will ensure that your laminate floors expand and contract with ease prolonging their lifespan.