Has your much-awaited hardwood flooring just arrived? We understand how exciting that feeling is. After all, there is nothing like freshly-installed hardwood floors when you are a homeowner.
But before you start the installation process, you will need to acclimate the planks.
Of course, you may have questions. Like, what is acclimatization? And why is it so important? That is why The Reno Superstore has written this blog, to help you understand the process. We will cover all the why’s and how’s so you can complete acclimatization properly for the best results.
Let’s get started.
Best Ways to Acclimate Your Hardwood Flooring
Since installing hardwood flooring is an expensive process, it is best to get them installed properly the first time.
1. But First… What Is Acclimation?
Acclimation (or acclimatization) refers to the process of having your floors get used to the atmospheric conditions inside your home. It allows your new hardwood floors time to adjust to temperature and humidity before it is installed.
As per the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), a controlled environment with a relative humidity range of 30-50% and temperature between 60-80⁰F provides the best results.
2. Why Should You Acclimate Your Hardwood Flooring?
Hardwood floors are susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity within your home. These slight changes can lead to expansion, contraction, dimensional distortion and even structural damage. That means cracking, cupping, floor gaps and other issues, which are the last things you want in brand-new floors.
3. How Long Does It Take To Acclimate Hardwood Flooring?
This really depends on the hardwood you are installing. It is recommended that you check the manufacturer’s guidelines. Most suggest acclimatizing the hardwood for a minimum of three days, with no maximum suggested.
However, it really depends on the environment and the moisture content of the planks. That’s why it is best to test the moisture content of the hardwood when it is delivered to have a proper baseline for comparison.
4. How to Store Wood Flooring at a Job Site
How you store your wood flooring plays an important role in the acclimation process. It is best to avoid storing it under uncontrolled environmental conditions like garages or exterior patios. That’s why you should store it instead in an enclosed building.
Ensure that your home has an acceptable temperature and that the humidity is maintained at normal living conditions. Have questions? Ask our team of experts at The Reno Superstore. We can help you acclimate your wood flooring.
5. Key Variables That Influence Acclimation
The process of acclimation is specific to each wood flooring installation job. Here are some key variables that influence the process significantly.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter. This part is very important so as not to void the warranty.
- Take note of the species of hardwood you are installing. Is it domestic or tropical? It is always recommended that you understand the different types of hardwood before you install anything.
- Check that temperature and relative humidity are consistent in your home environment.
- Check the moisture content of your subfloor.
- Monitor the wood flooring as it acclimates to the room.
Now, let’s understand how to successfully start the acclimation process.
Steps to Properly Start Acclimating Hardwood Flooring
Here’s how to start acclimating your hardwood flooring.
- Step 1
Check that the heating and air conditioning in your home or business is functioning properly. This should be done at least five days before the delivery of the flooring; also during and after installation.
In case it is not possible to have an HVAC operating system before, during or after the installation, it is best to create a temporary situation where the area of installation mimics the normal living conditions of your home. This allows the hardwood flooring to adjust properly.
- Step 2
Once you have established the correct temperature and humidity within the area of installation, you can proceed with the delivery of your flooring material. (Note: there are many benefits to ordering renovation supplies online from The Reno Superstore, like fast and free shipping.)
Once the product arrives, check its moisture content right away. In case there is any defect or issue with the product, you can ask for a return or exchange. Make sure to read the return policy carefully before you buy.
- Step 3
Check the moisture content of the subfloor. The appropriate level should be 12% or lower and within 2% to 4% of the new floor. If your subfloor has a high moisture content, make sure to dry it out before installation.
Make sure that the subfloor’s moisture content coincides with the temperature and relative humidity of the job site.
Also, it is very important to store your hardwood flooring carefully and in an enclosed environment. For instance, it would not be appropriate to store your product in the garage if you are planning to install it in your bedroom. This is because the temperature there will vary greatly from that of your garage. So, the flooring will not properly acclimate and will lead to future flooring issues, even when properly installed.
- Step 4
Check that your hardwood floors have the correct moisture level. If they do, you can proceed with installation; otherwise, keep acclimating.
There are two ways to acclimate your hardwood flooring: either keep them in the boxes they came in or take them out of their package.
If you choose to keep the planks inside their boxes, keep the ends of the boxes open and lay them flat across the floor throughout the room. If you do not have sufficient space to do this, you can stack them on top of each other.
Or take the planks out of their boxes and lay them on the floor in the pattern in which you want them installed. If you are not sure which method to follow, check the manufacturer’s guidelines. The main thing is that you allow air to circulate properly in the wood planks for the best results.
- Step 5
At The Reno Superstore, we always say expect the unexpected when it comes to renovating your home or business. So, in case your flooring cannot be delivered to your job site, it is best to start the pre-acclimation process in a location that mimics it.
Once the crisis is resolved, move your flooring materials to the job site. However, do not be in a hurry to install them right away. Check the flooring’s moisture content before you begin installation.
- Step 6
Once your flooring and subfloor meet the appropriate conditions for installation, you may begin the installation. The acceptable moisture content of the subfloor is 4% for strip flooring and 2% for plank wood flooring.
- Step 7
As noted, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines very carefully to avoid voiding the warranty. It should be remembered that installing hardwood flooring is not an easy process and requires a lot of expertise and knowledge.
Subpar or improper installation may lead to severe flooring problems in the future. To avoid that, you can always hire The Reno Superstore in Toronto and Mississauga for affordable and top-notch installation.
When properly installed, hardwood flooring lasts for many years. That’s why the acclimation process is so critical because ignoring it can damage your wooden floors. Make sure to tell your flooring installer that you are in the process of acclimatizing your floors. If not informed, they may install them right away. Take your time and follow this process properly to ensure the best hardwood flooring installation. Do you need hardwood flooring? Or are you looking for installation services in your area? Get in touch with us to discuss your project.