While it’s tempting to just let a professional do everything on their own, homeowners should also get to know the basics of hardwood floor installation. This helps eliminate any feelings of mistrust between contractor and homeowner especially during the acclimation period.
What is Acclimation?
So the hardwood floors have arrived. Here you are at the job site expecting work to be done immediately because time is of the essence, and you could not wait to move into your new home. Here comes your contractor though who tells you that your wood floors still need to be left alone in your living space for up to a week so it could get used to the environment. You think you are being taken for a ride. Stop.
Wood, much like most construction materials, need to be acclimated especially if they were imported from another country or province and the moisture and temperature levels in the source location is different from your home. Why is there no specific time period for acclimation? Because there is no hard rule your contractor could follow. The number of days is irrelevant because that is not the measuring unit they follow.
In the Canada, they follow the moisture content. Wooden floors are usually stored in the area where it will be installed, under a controlled, enclosed environment (usually with heating or air conditioning), out of the packaging, with a limit of usually 40 planks per 1000 square meters. Otherwise, they can expand or shrink, creating gaps or cracks in the final woodwork.
Do not follow moisture content requirements for places that are extremely humid, for example, if the environment you are installing the boards on are much more humid. When it comes to temperature management, the safest levels are between 30 and 60 F. If the temperature tends to fluctuate, the space should be closed and conditioned so the wood gets acclimated properly.
Following Manufacturer’s Guidelines
This seems to be a no-brainer, yet DIYers usually overlook the manufacturer’s instructions. Each hardwood floor manufacturer would provide a specific set of instructions for the transportation, storage, acclimation and installation of the floor boards. When it is proven that some of these were not followed, there is a big possibility that the warranty will be voided.
If you are a hardwood floor installer, your concern would go beyond voided warranties and extra costs. Each wooden plank, especially those from notable manufacturers, is a thing of beauty. It’s such a waste to have them damaged because instructions were not followed. Pay close attention to instructions especially regarding acclimation as this can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Follow the numbers too when it comes to specific content moisture requirements.
A Well-Acclimated Floor
A well-acclimated floor makes for easier installation as environmentally induced damages after installing are less likely to happen. Good acclimation also makes the whole floor work appear more polished. The floor is also bound to last for a long time, although a lot that would depend primarily on wear and maintenance.