Did you just buy solid or engineered hardwood floors for your home? If so, you have just taken the first step in improving the beauty and value of your home! Now that you have your wood floors, you will need them installed. However, before you install solid or engineered hardwood floors, you will want to acclimate the flooring first. Acclimation is very important and is often overlooked, leading to a number of problems for you brand new hardwood floors. Mike’s Custom Flooring would like to explain the process of acclimation and why it is so very important.
Why Does Hardwood Need to Acclimate Before Installation?
Acclimation is a required process that allows the new hardwood flooring to adjust to the moisture content or climate to the room it is being installed. This process takes about 48 hours. The hardwood floors are removed from their boxes and are stripped of the polythene and then stacked. It is very important for both solid and engineered hardwood flooring to have the needed time to adjust to its new environment. This is important because wood is hygroscopic which means it can absorb moisture from its environment.
What Happens if I Don’t Acclimate Hardwood Flooring?
When wood takes in or loses moisture, the wood will change. Wood will expand, shrink, and even split simply due to the amount of moisture in the air or on the ground. If the wood takes in moisture, it will expand and get bigger. The wooden planks will swell. If this occurs after the flooring has been installed, your floors will develop cupping. The edges will swell and now you will have bumpy edges surrounding each plank. If the air has very little moisture the wooden plank will shrink. If shrinking occurs after the floors have been installed, the planks will separate from each other and now you have gaps throughout your entire floor. If the wood floors don’t have the needed time to adjust to its environment, it can also develop other problems such as squeaking, crowning and even drying out and splintering. For this reason it is very important to allow the solid or engineered hardwood floors to adjust to its new climate. It is important to give the hardwood floors at least 48 hours to adjust, which means it will be a few days before you will want to begin installing the hardwood floors.
How Long Should You Let Hardwood Flooring Acclimate?
Each type of solid wood and some engineered hardwood floors will vary in how to properly acclimatize your flooring. When buying your hardwood floors and you hire an installation service, ask how to properly acclimatize your new hardwood floors. Some hardwood flooring can acclimatize in their boxes and do not need to be removed. They just need to be stored in the room they will be installed. Other solid hardwood floors may need to be taken out of their boxes and laid out or stacked. As mentioned above, the hardwood flooring acclimation process takes about 48 hours but may require more or less time. Again, ask how to properly acclimatize the hardwood you bought.