How To Acclimate Wood Flooring?

March 14, 2014

One of the common mistakes people make when installing new hardwood flooring actually occurs before the single plank is ever laid down. If not done properly your new, beautiful floor can expand or shrink. To keep this from happening you always want to make sure that you acclimate your wooden floor planks before installation. This ensures optimum stability.

Types of Floor and Acclimatising.

Generally, if you are installing the floors in the UK it is always recommended to acclimatise solid wood flooring. Engineered wood flooring should be also acclimatised but there is a debate between UK wood flooring suppliers whether it is necessary or not (as engineered floors are much more stable).

Site Assessment

The first step is to ensure that your home temperature and humidity are controlled and set to typical ambient living conditions. In natural settings humidity, moisture levels and temperatures change according to the season. On site conditions are more stable but it is still important to know the long term relative humidity for the area. This will determine whether solid timber will absorb moisture from the air and swell or whether it will lose moisture and shrink. Onsite relative humidity can be measure with Hygrometer. Solid wood flooring is kiln dried to approximately 10-12.5% moisture content. That way you can easy predict that if the humidity on site is above 12.5% you can expect future expansion, if it is below 10% you can expect floor to shrink. In both cases it is necessary to acclimatise the floor in on-site conditions.

Stacking the Packages

After delivery your wood flooring is probably still in its original packaging. Don’t remove planks from the boxes – if you do, planks will warp and change the shape. Also do not open the boxes – part of the boards close to the opened part of the box can shrink or swell faster that the part of the board in the middle of the box. Stack the packages to the air can circulate around them. Placing bricks, scrap wood or sticks between the boxes will help in acclimatising. Make sure that you support every 50cm or so under the packages so they don’t bow in the middle. Alternative and more easy method is to sticker stack the boxes with your hardwood.

Both methods allow air flow between the packages.

How Long to Acclimatise for?

The last step is to wait until floor has adjusted to room temperature and humidity. This typically takes 5-7 days but if you live in the area of high or low level of moisture you may have to wait little bit longer – 7-14 days. Your floor is ready to be installed when the moisture content between the floor and the subfloor is within 3%. Once your flooring has been acclimated you are ready for the next step in the installation process.

For advice about the best wood flooring for your home feel free to contact the ESB sales team. Contact us now to request your no hassle no obligation free samples or come down to our North London showroom for a closer look.

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