September 07, 2016
You’ve chosen the type, grade and stain that you want for your new hardwood flooring. Now that it’s been delivered, the work can get underway, right? Actually, there is one more thing that need to happen before you start laying that new flooring. You must allow time for the new wood to acclimatize to the environment.
You may have never heard this term before. Essentially, it’s allowing the flooring time to adjust to the temperature and humidity levels in your home. To some extent, the other materials used in the space have had the opportunity to adjust to the environment, so it makes sense that any new element would also need to acclimate. Taking the time to acclimatize the boards first before the actual installation ensure they fit together properly, and the wood will be less affected by the slight rate of expansion and contraction that occurs as the seasons change.
You won’t have to do anything special in order to allow the wood to acclimatize. Remove any shrink-wrap or other covering that was used to protect the wood during transit. Place the wood in the room where you plan on installing the flooring. Leave it there for anywhere from three to five days. In that amount of time, the wood will adjust to the humidity level in the space.
One tip that will help the process is to use spacers in between each of those boards. That allows the air to circulate freely around each one. You can pick up spacers from a local supplier with ease. If you happen to have some old wood tucked away in the garage, you can also use your skill saw to create all the spacers needed.
If possible, make sure the heating and cooling system is running in the days before the flooring is brought into the room. Since the plan is to give the wood time to adapt to the typical environment, it helps to ensure every square inch of the space is at the temperature and humidity range that you prefer during most of the year.
A lot of the work is already done to the wood before it arrives. The product’s been treated to resist deterioration and is easy to trim to fit. What the acclimatizing will do is make the wood less subject to expanding to the point that buckling or shifting will occur later on. Think of this approach as saving you a lot of time, money, and frustration with repairs later on.
While you may be anxious to start the installation immediately, remember that a little patience will produce better results. Allow time for the flooring to adjust to the typical humidity level in the room first, and you’ll avoid a number of problems later on. In the years to come, the floor will wear well, look great, and be less likely to need anything other than cleaning and the occasional application of a new layer or protectant.