Hardwood floor acclimatization

What is hardwood floor acclimatization?

This subject is fresh in my mind, as I just had to delay a hardwood install, as the flooring needed more time to acclimate to the environment, a condo, it was being installed in. A hassle, for me and the homeowner, yes, but it’s better to take a little extra time now, and be safe, then try to fix problems in the future.

So what is acclimatization of your wood floor? Basically it is a process where your hardwood flooring’s moisture content will adjust to the conditions of your house, or room, where the hardwood is going to be installed. So right of the bat, it has to be in the rooms it’s going to be installed in, not the garage or storage somewhere.

Without proper acclimatization the flooring could swell, causing crowning, or shrink, causing gapping, depending on the floorings moisture content (MC) and the home’s. This would obviously be disappointing after having some beautiful hardwood installed.

We did not install this floor, but we did refinish it. Perhaps the floor was installed while the MC was high, then as it lowered to acclimate to the home, the flooring shrank, after it was installed.

How long does this acclimatization take? It really depends. Most manufactures suggest having the flooring in the rooms at least a few days, but it can take a few weeks. Every floor is different, and there can be a lot of factors to consider. Where the flooring came from, where it was stored, how it was stored, and the environment it’s being installed in, are just a few. Make sure that the home is at the normal living conditions, with HVAC on, and for new construction, the hardwood should be one of the last things to do.

So what you want to do or see from your professional, is the flooring properly stored in the home, and moisture readings taken at time of delivery and then more before installation, to be sure to minimize any problems, with your install.

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