Dimensional stability refers to how resistant a product is to change from its original dimensions over time. All products change; albeit, some products change so little over time that the change is difficult to measure. Dimensional changes are caused primary by three factors: temperature, moisture, and use.
Cold temperatures and dehydration cause contraction; hot temperatures and hydration cause expansion. So, heat will cause carpet to relax and expand. Likewise, moisture will cause wood to swell and expand. Conversely, carpets milled with wool or jute are subject to shrinkage if exposed to moisture.
Although the term dimensional stability primarily refers to the physical properties of a flooring product, supplemental products (such as thin-set and adhesive), substrates, and entire buildings are subject to dimension change over time. Substantial changes can cause installation or product failure.
Flooring products vary in their susceptibility. For example, porcelain is baked at extreme temperatures which creates a dense molecular structure. As a result, porcelain has high dimensional stability. Solid wood, on the other hand, will expand or contract measurably when exposed to fluctuations in humidity and temperature. The laminating of layers or components during manufacturing usually improves the dimensional stability of flooring products (e.g., engineered wood versus solid wood).
Use also changes a product's dimensional stability. For example, the more foot traffic a carpet receives, the more likely the carpet is to expand and develop wrinkles in carpet.
We help our customers select a suitable flooring product for the desired application. Flooring products that will be exposed to the outside elements and be subject to summer heat and winter freezing must have the ability to resist or adapt to the changes. We put the same careful planning to selecting products for wet areas (e.g., bathrooms).