Vinyl Flooring Tiles Shrink? (LVT, Karndean, Amtico)

Shrinking floors are among the important considerations a homeowner needs to take when selecting a flooring material to build their house. Some materials will expand when exposed to heat and shrink when it gets cold. However, does this apply to Karndean flooring too?

So, does a luxury vinyl tile shrink? Incorrectly installed luxury vinyl flooring can shrink if exposed to sudden changes in temperature from heat to cold and vice-versa. When vinyl flooring planks or tiles are installed correctly, the floor will not be affected by the temperature changes; hence, you might not notice any gaps.

If you install the Karndean flooring incorrectly, when exposed to heat like from the sun, the tiles will expand, and when the sun moves away, the tiles start to shrink when the temperature goes down leaving some gaps in between tiles.

When the Karndean tiles or planks shrink, they leave gaps in between the tiles, these gaps can retain water and other debris. Read on for more information about Karndean floors shrinking and whether Karndean flooring needs an expansion gap.

The only reason why a Karndean flooring will shrink is improper installation. Installing a Karndean floor is not an easy task that anyone can do over the weekend. It requires a profession with a lot of experience in installing Karndean floors.

The tiles or planks are usually held in place by an adhesive, if you apply the adhesive incorrectly and some of the tiles or planks become loose, the loose tiles or planks might shrink when exposed to cold temperatures.

Before installing the Karndean flooring, you should spread the tiles in the room you want to install the floor. You should leave them in that room for more than twenty-four hours, this will allow them tiles to acclimatize to the room’s temperature.

When left to acclimatize to the room’s temperature, the tiles will expand or shrink depending on the temperature of the room. You can get a professional to install the flooring to the subfloor, the tiles will not shrink or expand.

Do not install Karndean flooring in direct sunlight. The sun will increase the temperature of the tiles making them expand. If you proceed to install the tiles in a different temperature from that of the room, the size will be different from those tiles that acclimatized in the room’s temperature. The tiles will be warped, and they might show some gaps in between them.

Karndean installation is a delicate procedure and some hardware stores will invalidate your Karndean’s warranty once they note that an amateur installed it. Before installation, a qualified installer should prepare the subfloor surface and ensure that it is flat and smooth. Before installing the Karndean flooring, you should ensure that the moisture levels in the room fall below seventy-five percent.

Once the tiles have been acclimatized to the room, the professional can install the tiles with a recommended adhesive.

If you do not follow the instructions correctly, the tiles will begin to expand or shrink when exposed to hot and cold temperatures. The temperature of the tiles and the room play an important role in ensuring the Karndean floor is good.

The temperature of the room should be the same as the temperature of the room you want to install the Karndean floor. Different temperatures might lead to the installation of the tiles in the wrong measurements. It is important to follow the installation instructions properly, otherwise the replacement of the floor with new Karndean tiles might not be gentle to your pockets.

The main concern with wood flooring is the rate at which they shrink when exposed to different temperatures and conditions. A wooden floor will shrink after being exposed to cold temperature for a long time.

A Karndean flooring is usually an alternative to wood flooring because it usually maintains its form for a long time and does not bend or warp when exposed to cold temperatures or moisture.

Does Vinyl Flooring Need an Expansion Gap

It is not necessary to leave an extension gap in Vinyl flooring. Vinyl flooring is installed differently from a wooden flooring. The tiles are held in place by an adhesive and they have to acclimatize in the room’s temperature before they are installed. The tiles will be held in place tightly by the adhesive; hence, no room for expansion.

An expansion gap refers to the space left around the edge of the room when fitting a flooring. It is a common practice when fitting wooden and laminate flooring. The expansion gap should be left around the perimeter of the room. Wood absorbs moisture and expands, when it starts to dry, it will contract. This behavior is the reason why floor installers leave an expansion gap in wooden flooring.

Also, Karndean flooring does not absorb moisture. The reason why wooden floors expand, and contraction is the absorption of moisture from the atmosphere. The Karndean tiles are waterproof; hence, they cannot absorb any moisture, which means they will not expand. Heat does not affect the tiles the same as it does on wood, they will warm up, but they will not shrink enough for you to see any gaps.

Proper installation of Karndean flooring also ensures that you will not need an expansion gap. Part of the installation process is to spread and leave the Karndean tiles in the room you are going to install them for more than twenty-four hours. The tiles will acclimatize with the room’s temperature expanding and contracting according to the room’s temperature. When you install the tiles they will be in the correct size because of the acclimatization.

If you install the Karndean flooring in direct sunlight or without waiting for the acclimatization, you will have problems with gaps on the floor and ill-fitting tiles. The biggest mistake one can make when installing the Karndean flooring is to fix the tiles in a different temperature from that of the room.

The tiles will acclimatize later. Depending on how hot or cold the room is; the tiles will expand or shrink. If they shrink, they will leave gaps and if they expand, they will not fit, and some will start to warp or bend due to lack of space.

Expansion and contraction is part of life and many objects will expand and contract when exposed to hot and cold temperatures. If you are worried that the adhesive might not hold the Karndean flooring in place, then you can leave an expansion gap around the edge of the floor. You can hide the expansion gap with a cover bead, your guests will not notice the gap.


A Karndean flooring will expand in high temperatures and shrink in low temperatures. However, if the installer follows the instructions when installing Karndean flooring, then the floor will not expand or shrink every time. Make sure the moisture levels of the subfloor are below seventy-five percent and the Karndean tiles have acclimatized to the room’s temperature for more than twenty-four hours.

Concerns of expansion and contraction of flooring objects is normal, and many installers will leave a gap for expansion. In wood flooring, the expansion gap is a must have feature because wood tends to expand and shrink more than any other flooring materials.

Karndean flooring does not need an expansion gap, as long as the installation was done properly. The Karndean tiles do not expand and shrink enough for a person to notice; hence, an extension gap is not a necessary feature in Karndean flooring.