How Much Do Laminate Floors Expand and Contract? (Answered)

Laminate floors are floating floors. They have the feature of expanding and contracting. But they are so convenient that they don’t need nails, screws, or glue to attach them. They stick together on their own. That’s why people like laminate floors in their house or office.

Though laminate floors expand and contract, you can follow some techniques to adjust the planks. But to follow the methods, you have to know how much laminate floors expand and contract. This article will tell you about the ability to expand and contract the laminate floors.

How much do laminate floors expand?

Laminate floors expand up to ¼ inches. So, an expansion gap is needed between the laminate and the walls/doorways. If the floor is about 8 meters long, the expansion might be 8 mm. If the floor is more than 8 meters, the expansion will be more. So, the expansion is related to the size of the floor.

The expansion of laminate floors is a natural process. Laminate floors are not natural wood, but they are likely to expand. Various reasons, like temperature, humidity, environment, moisture, etc., might be responsible for the expansion.

But laminate floors expand about ¼ inches. The average expansion rate changes with the size of the floor. The bigger the floor is, the more the expansion is.

Does laminate floors expand?

Yes, laminate floors expand. The expansion of the laminate floors is a pretty obvious matter. That’s why an expansion gap between the laminates is a must. Some environmental issues are responsible for the expansion.

When the temperature and humidity change, the laminate floors also expand. In summer and dry seasons, laminate floors are likely to expand.

Other reasons might also be responsible for the expansion. For example, swelling of the laminates or moisture content in the laminates might expand the laminate floors. So, you can be sure about the expansion of the laminate floors.

How much do laminate floors expand?

The expansion of the laminate floors depends on the size of the laminate floors. When the laminate floor is about 8*12 meters, the expansion will be around 8-10 mm. But if the laminate floor is more than 8*12 meters, the expansion will increase.

So, on average, the laminate floors expand about ¼ inches. Every plank of laminate floors can expand. But they show a result of overall expanding on the end edge of the flooring. So, the expansion is much more noticeable on the side of walls and doorways.

Why/When does laminate flooring expand?

Laminate flooring expands for various reasons. But some specific reasons are more noticeable. If you want to take the necessary steps to compensate for the expansion, you must know when and why the laminate flooring expands.


Temperature changing is one of the main reasons for the expansion of the laminate flooring. When the temperature rises, some materials also tend to expand. Laminate flooring is one of expanding materials that expands with temperature.


Humidity can also cause the laminate floors to expand. When the humidity of the environment changes, the laminate floor also tends to expand.

Foreign Materials:

Some foreign materials, for example, moisture and liquid, chemicals can expand the laminate flooring. If these materials enter into the gap between the planks, they might cause expansion.

Does laminate flooring shrink?

Yes, laminate flooring shrinks. Most reasons for shrinking are environment-related. You know that laminate floors expand in warm weather. Similarly, laminate flooring shrinks in cold weather.

In winter or cold weather, the temperature decreases. In low temperatures, some materials tend to shrink. Laminate flooring also shrinks at low temperatures.

How much does laminate flooring shrink?

Laminate flooring shrinks about ¼ inches in low temperatures. Generally, laminate flooring doesn’t shrink or expand in normal temperature and humidity. But in the winter season, the laminate floor starts to shrink.

The shrinkage of the laminate flooring depends on the size of the flooring. If the flooring is approximately 8*12 meters, the floor will shrink about 8-10 mm. But if the floor is bigger than 8*12 meters, the floor will shrink more.

So, the average shrinkage rate of the laminate floor is ¼ inches.

Why/When does laminate flooring shrink?

The reasons for laminate flooring shrinking or expanding are pretty similar. If you want to prevent your laminate floor from moving because of shrinkage, you have to know the reasons for shrinkage. Let’s see why and when the laminate flooring shrinks.


Laminate flooring tends to shrink when the temperature is low. In winter, you will notice the laminate floor moving. The reason might be the shrinkage of the laminate floor.

Humidity and moisture:

When the humidity and moisture levels change, the laminate floor also starts to shrink. So, humidity and moisture can be the reason for shrinkage.

Also read, Why Is Laminate Flooring So Cold?

Do you need an expansion gap for laminate flooring?

Expansion gap is needed for laminate flooring. It would help if you kept an expansion gap for laminate flooring. Laminate flooring is a floating floor that tends to expand.

Several reasons might be responsible for the expansion. But the expansion can damage the laminate flooring if you don’t keep an expansion gap.

When the laminate planks expand, they show an overall expansion on the side edges of the flooring. That’s why an expansion gap is maintained on the side of walls, doorways, and corners.

If you don’t keep an expansion gap, the planks might expand and move over one another. The laminates might break if they don’t get enough space to expand. So, you have to keep an expansion gap for laminate flooring.

How much expansion gap do you need for laminate flooring?

The expansion gap depends on how much the laminate flooring might expand. An average gap for an 8*12 meters room is 8-10 mm. This gap might vary with the size of the room.

If the room is more than 8*12, the expansion and the gap will increase. The bigger the room is, the more expansion gaps the room needs. So, if you have an average size room, you can keep an expansion gap of 8-10 mm on the side of the walls, corners, and doorways.

Read more, How Long Can You Run Laminate Flooring?

How long does it take laminate flooring to expand?

Laminate floors need 24 hours to 72 hours to settle down. In this time, the floor starts to expand or shrink with the environment. After installation, the laminate floor needs time to adjust to the floor’s environment.

Even after months and years, laminate flooring can expand for the temperature, humidity, moisture, etc. So, there is no exact timing when the laminate flooring will expand. But the expanding time can be after the installation or any time when the temperature changes.

Does laminate flooring expand with heat?

Yes, heat is one of the primary reasons for expanding the laminate flooring. Like many other materials, laminate flooring tends to expand in high temperatures or heat.

If you have laminate flooring, you will notice that the laminate flooring is expanding in the summer or warm weather. The reason for this expansion is the heat.

Does laminate expand in summer or winter?

Generally, laminate expands in the summer and shrinks in the winter. Laminate floorings tend to expand when they get heat. In summer, the temperature remains high. When they get heat in the summer, the laminates expand.

Contrarily, in winter, the opposite of expanding starts. In cold weather, the laminates shrink or contract. The expansion is related to heat, so summer is the season when the laminates expand.

Does laminate flooring need to acclimate?

Yes, for installing perfect laminate flooring, acclimation is a must. Installing the laminate on the floor just after they arrive can be a big mistake. If you don’t acclimate the laminate flooring before installation, the laminates will not adjust with the environment.

Temperature, humidity, moisture, etc., play big roles after installing the laminate floor. When you acclimate the flooring in the place where the floor will be installed, the laminates settle. So, you have to keep the laminates in that place for at least 48 hours.

If you don’t acclimate the laminate flooring, it can expand or shrink at an unexpected rate. After installing, you won’t get the chance to solve the problems. So, you have to acclimate the laminate flooring.

What happens if I don’t acclimate laminate flooring?

Acclimating the laminate flooring is essential for installing a durable floor. If you don’t acclimate the laminate flooring, the planks of the laminate flooring can expand or shrink. The expansion and shrinkage is related to temperature and environment.

If the planks expand or shrink immediately after installation, they might expand or shrink at an unexpected rate. Because the planks didn’t get the acclimation and adjustment time.

So, there is a chance of breaking up the laminate planks or sliding. So, acclimation is a must before installing the laminate flooring.

Laminate floors have the typical characteristic of expansion or contraction. Many reasons can be responsible for the expansion or contraction. But most of them are environment-related.

The expansion or contraction limit depends on the size of the laminate floor. You have to calculate the expansion gap compared with the average expansion.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can Laminate Floors Be Refinished and Sanded?

Can Mold Grow Under Laminate Flooring?

Can You Put Laminate Flooring Under Toilet And Sink?

Can You Stack Laminate Flooring to Acclimate?

Does Laminate Flooring Burn?

How Soon Can You Walk on Laminate Flooring After Installing?