Wood Flooring & Acclimation
Once your wood flooring is ordered you will be given a delivery date. Be sure that on the date of delivery you have an area in your new home or room where you can safely store your wood planks. When your wood is delivered it CANNOT be installed immediately. It must go through a process called ACCLIMATION. This is the process of allowing a wood floor’s moisture content to equilibrate (reach equilibrium) with its surrounding environment. NOTE: Wood flooring installation is usually one of the last jobs of any construction project. The following steps will ensure successful acclimation of your wood floor:
Storing Wood Flooring: Acclimation of wood flooring begins with proper storage at the job site. Wood floor acclimation can be achieved by cross-stacking and spacing wood floor materials to encourage air circulation around the boards. Most manufacturers recommend materials acclimate for a minimum of three days with no maximum suggested. If product is bundled, keep planks within their bundles but stack so air can move around them.
Interior Environment: Interior environmental conditions vary from region to region and jobsite to jobsite. It’s best to determine what the condition of the area will be when “in-use” and customize your flooring around these conditions.
Remove Wet Work & Moisture Exposure: Ensure that the building is completely enclosed and all wet work (plaster & paint) is complete prior to wood delivery. Also, be sure that water from drains, gutter or downspouts drains properly away from the building.
Room Conditions: Be certain that the room and building receiving the new flooring is maintained at the expected “in-use” conditions. Whether is requires heat or air-conditioning, it should be set to a temperature that the owner will maintain while the space is in-use. These conditions will establish the baseline from which the flooring planks can then acclimate. The HVAC should be turned on five days before installation and left running after the job is complete. Do not store wood in an uncontrolled environment.
Moisture Content: Prior to installation, ensure the wood flooring is within acceptable range of moisture content relative to the wood sub-floor. For solid strip flooring (less than 3 inches wide), there should be no more than 4% moisture content difference between acclimated wood and the wood subflooring. For solid plank (wider than 3 inches), there should be no more than a 2% difference in MC. If these conditions are not met, the floor should not be installed. Conditions may vary because of your geographical location and the species of wood flooring you are using.
Why is acclimation necessary? If hardwood planks are not allowed to acclimate to their environment before installation, issues like cupping, warping, and gaping can arise.
Wood Flooring & Acclimation