Quick Answers: Can Vinyl Flooring Withstand Cold Temperatures?

Quick Answers: Can Vinyl Flooring Withstand Cold Temperatures?

We recently received this question in our FAQ section:

Can vinyl floating floors be used where temperatures go below freezing with no heating in the winter?

Great question! While there's a quick answer right here, we decided to dive a little deeper, what with the Polar Vortex of 2019 and other symptoms of climate change becoming more frequent in our weather patterns.

The principle of material changing with temperature is known as Thermal Expansion and Contraction. Without getting too into the weeds of physics, materials expand under heated conditions and contract when it's cold. Vinyl, since it's a nonorganic material, isn't subject to the same level of temperature-related expansion and contraction like hardwood. It's a wonderful waterproof material that's resistant to impact, staining, scratching, and wear; it can take a punch and stand up to a busy family's active lifestyle.


Most vinyls, like most floors, are still only warrantied to remain within 10-20 degrees of normal household temperatures. While being outside the range of a warranty is not a floor's automatic death zone, it's still safer to be  inside the warrantied range, so is there an exception?  Yes!  Right now, COREtec, a manufacturer of rigid core vinyl planks, says this in the warranties we have posted with their products on our site:

"The glue down method must be used if the flooring will be exposed to temperatures above 140° F (60° C) or below 32° F (0° C)."  

This means we can install these outside those temperature ranges (just don't float them).  

Now, you will have to be careful picking your adhesive, because they can become brittle and then crumble into unsticky sand below around 30-40°F.  The COREtec warranty gives some pretty specific guidelines for adhesives.  I would take that with me to a home store and let the helpers there guide me, as it's pretty technical stuff (which is great info for the stores' assistants).