Remember: Hardwood flooring installation should be left to professionals or very experienced DIY-ers. If you have little to no experience with the process, call a professional.
1. Check Moisture Contents – Boards and Sub-Floors
Moisture content is key when acclimating hardwood flooring. If the board moisture content and the sub-floors aren’t within a specific range of each other your boards won’t acclimate properly. That range of moisture content varies depending on the size of the boards, but it tends to stay within a 2%-4% range. If you are attempting to install your own hardwood floors and don’t know the proper moisture content for the type of boards you’re using, chances are you shouldn’t be installing your own flooring at all.
2. Rack the Boards
Remove your new flooring from the box and rack it in the room in which it will be installed. This lets the wood properly adjust to the room’s humidity and temperature – a critical part of the acclimation process.
Appropriately acclimated hardwood flooring will last much longer than flooring that is hastily installed.
3. Maintain Appropriate Temperatures
Keeping your new flooring at an appropriate temperature during the acclimation process is crucial. The wood should be warm, but not at a temperature significantly higher than the normal temperature of the room. Maintaining appropriate temperatures will make the acclimation process much more effective and will lead to a more stable floor.
For some, this step in the acclimation process can be the hardest of them all. It’s not unusual to want to install your new hardwood floors as soon as they arrive, but proper acclimation takes at least one to two weeks. The waiting period is all dependent on the boards’ moisture content, but most species don’t take less than seven days.
Neglecting to acclimate your new hardwood flooring can lead to buckling, bending, warping, and other major floor problems. Repairing or replacing a hardwood floor can get very expensive. If you aren’t installing your floors yourself, make sure the installation company you hired observes these basic acclimation techniques.