How to Acclimate Hardwood Flooring

  • June 14, 2022

People often ask questions like: Can hardwood flooring acclimate in the box? There is a lot of misinformation and confusion regarding how long to acclimate hardwood flooring. Our guide will help you understand the best ways to acclimate and install your flooring.

Hardwood flooring acclimation involves having its moisture content reach equilibrium with its surrounding environment. When there is too much or too little moisture, the flooring can expand or shrink, and it will not fit accurately. That creates problems down the road as you may have to purchase new flooring to reinstall.

Learning how to acclimate wood flooring will help ensure you are installing your floor correctly. Many ask, “How long should wood floors acclimate?” The average recommendation is a minimum of three days. It is always good to consult the flooring manufacturer and the contractors working on your job site.

Problems With Leaving the Hardwood Flooring On-Site to Acclimate

It is not advisable to leave wood floors on a job site before installation because it can cause many problems. You cannot acclimate wood flooring correctly with this because it will absorb the surrounding moisture. New homes, especially, hold so much that they will damage the new flooring.

Potential problems associated with letting hardwood flooring acclimate on-site include:

  • Cupping

A job site with a relative humidity of 70% can result in immediate cupping to the idle flooring, often within 48 hours. The environmental humidity can reach 90% with drywall mudding and wet paint.

  • Dimensional distortion

The exact flooring dimensions are a necessity for a home or business installation. These dimensions determine critical judgments for the job site project. Therefore, if they change, major problems can occur. Do not store hardwood flooring on-site to keep the dimensions as they should be.

  • Excessive expansion

Knowing how long to acclimate hardwood flooring helps avoid the floor expanding too large for the space. Contractors may then have to cut down the flooring to fit, or it simply may become unusable.

  • Shrinkage

Your flooring can get smaller with improper moisture levels and change its dimensions. It also will cause your flooring not to fit as planned. You may end up needing more flooring.

  • Structural damage

Best Practices for Acclimating Hardwood Flooring

  • Keep Optimal Temperatures Year Round

The ideal temperatures to help acclimate wood floors are 60° to 80° F.

  • Take Extra Care with Tropical Wood Species

Treat tropical wood species with care because they often require more time.

  • Listen to the Manufacturer’s Guidance

Their recommendations help keep warranties of floors intact. Yours may not remain intact if you do not follow these instructions.

  • Break Flooring Materials into Smaller Lots

Splitting up flooring into lots helps to increase airflow and helps with acclimation. You are more likely to acclimate flooring in smaller lots provided with good airflow than in one packaged lot.

  • Engineered and Site-Finished Floors Require More Time

Wood floors finished on-site need more time to acclimate, often 5 to 7 days. Therefore, the wood floor acclimation time may vary and require more time than expected. Consider different adhesives used when acclimating engineered hardwood floors.

  • Meet All Conditions Before Installation

You require multiple conditions in place before installing your floors to ensure they are ready:

  • The site has AC and heating installed. It should be working well for five days.
  • The building is completely enclosed, with all doors and windows installed.
  • No wet elements are left to dry, and all are finished. These are things like concrete, drywall, plaster, and paint.
  • All drainage carries water away from the building, and contractors finish all final grading.
  • The best possible temperature and humidity levels are reached at the job site, ensuring hardwood flooring can install and acclimate correctly.

How Long Does Hardwood Need to Acclimate?

You may ask, “Does wood flooring need to acclimate?” The answer is yes. Many people believe the process to acclimate wood flooring is to let it sit at a job site and wait.

However, the answer to “how long should hardwood flooring acclimate?” depends on multiple factors, including the type of wood and moisture content of the environment.

Contractors can bring wood flooring to the job site but only after completing all other work. They can only install flooring when the conditions are optimal. It includes a 30-50% humidity range and no wet elements like paint or plaster drying when the wood floors arrive.

Conclusion

Now that you know how long to acclimate hardwood flooring, Carpet To Go is ready to help you with any of your flooring needs, including nylon carpet flooring. We provide high-quality flooring services to Bellevue, Seattle, and the nearby Washington State areas. Call us today at (425) 441-3527 for a free flooring estimate!

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