Are you excited about your brand new wood-based flooring? Of course you are. But do you know you have to acclimatize the planks before you install them?
If you don’t, keep reading.
Before installing any type of wood floors such as hardwood, laminate, vinyl or engineered hardwood, you need to acclimatize them properly.
Let’s find out how to do just that.
Easy Tips to Acclimatize Your Flooring
Not all flooring can be installed right away. Some types of wood flooring need time to acclimate to their environment first.
What does ‘acclimatization’ mean?
Acclimatization refers to the process of allowing your floors to reach a moisture content level that is in equilibrium with their environment. Wood-based flooring reacts to rapid changes in temperature and humidity, which leads to excessive shrinkage and dimensional or structural damage. This eventually leads to improper installation which can lead to major flooring problems that are expensive to solve.
Whether you are installing your floor yourself or using installers, it’s very important to acclimatize your floor. Hardwood and engineered hardwood require more time to acclimatize than SPC vinyl and laminates. Take time to understand the different types of hardwood flooring available, or consult experts to understand exact acclimatization times. If you want to install your flooring quickly, factor in the acclimatization time. Don’t rush it, as it will only lead to future flooring concerns and additional costs.
Now, let’s look at the steps to acclimatization.
Make sure the acclimatization process occurs in the normal living conditions of your home or business. Do you use air conditioning or heating units? Then make sure that they are in operation at least five days before your new flooring is delivered and before and after your flooring is installed. This is very important as it allows the wood to settle into its natural setting.
Once your space has the normal living conditions, have the flooring delivered. Get in touch with the nearest renovation store in your area or order online. There are many benefits to ordering renovation products online.
Once you take delivery of your product, check it. If there are any issues with it, contact the store. Check their refund and return policies carefully before you buy.
Store the flooring carefully in an enclosed space. Places like garages and patios are not suitable. It is highly recommended that the job site be carefully controlled in terms of environmental conditions.
Check the moisture level of the subfloor. The ideal moisture content for hardwood is 6% to 9%. The fastest and most efficient way to calculate the moisture content of the product is to use a moisture meter. The moisture of the subfloor should match the temperature and relative humidity of the space. If you don’t know what the right temperature should be, contact the flooring manufacturer.
After you have determined the flooring product’s moisture content, ensure that it is exposed to the ‘normal’ environment of the space where you intend to install it. To do this properly, you need to arrange the flooring units in smaller lots or open the flooring boxes. Arrange the flooring in a cross-stack to allow proper circulation of air on all sides.
Make sure to stack planks in an elevated position from the subfloor. Note: different wood species and flooring products require different acclimatization times. As a rule of thumb, laminate and vinyl flooring should acclimate for at least three days; hardwood and engineered hardwood, for a week.
This process is slow, so allow the planks to acclimate as long as they need to. It is advisable to not measure acclimatization based on time but by the planks’ moisture content. It is best to allow the process to occur in the rooms you are planning to install for the best results. For instance, if you acclimatize in the garage and install it in the bedroom, it will not be appropriate.
To this end, understand the product you are installing. Check with the manufacturer right from the beginning and read the installation instructions carefully. If you face any issues, speak with your local flooring store.
Always expect the unexpected when it comes to renovating your home/business. In case your flooring cannot be delivered to the job site, drop it at a suitable offsite location that mimics the area of installation.
Once these flooring planks are ready to be moved to your location, don’t be tempted to install them right away, even if they are ‘pre-acclimatized’. Check their moisture content before you install them.
Pro Tip If Moisture Levels Are a Concern: As soon as your floors are delivered, check their moisture content using a moisture meter. Typically, you’ll need to check the moisture level of at least 40 boards for every 1,000 sq. ft. of flooring. Measuring like this will establish accuracy and a baseline for their acclimation.
After the acclimation is complete, make sure the flooring and wood subfloor moisture content is within the acceptable range for the job site. For solid strip flooring planks that are narrower than three feet, the moisture content should not exceed more than a four percent difference from the moisture content of your subflooring material.
For solid planks that are three feet or wider, there should be a variance of less than two per cent in the moisture content compared to the subfloor material.
Follow the manufacturer recommendations and warranty to the letter to avoid voiding your warranty. Please note: certain manufacturers do not require acclimation prior to installation for some of their products. Make sure you know what exactly your product entails.
Flooring installation is an expensive process that must be done right the first time. Not adhering to manufacturer guidelines can result in faulty installation. If you do not have the right knowledge or tools, it’s best to hire professionals. Improper acclimation can lead to serious flooring damage that cannot be repaired. Make the best choice and follow these easy steps.