Before installing new hardwood floors, an important first step is letting the wood get used to the conditions inside the house (temperature and humidity). This process is called acclimation or acclimatization of the hardwood. Not taking this factor into consideration before installing new floors can be a very expensive mistake. Let’s say the wood is coming from a storage unit during the summertime and quickly installed in an air conditioned house without prior acclimation. The lower temperature inside the house could cause contraction of the wood. Contraction results in large spaces between the joints of the boards, and in some cases, retracting from under the shoe molding. On the other hand, if you decide to install wood floors in the wintertime when the house is heated, the difference in temperature could cause expansion of the hardwood. This expansion could result in buckles in the floor.
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In general, the acclimation needs to be done for all types of wood, from unfinished, pre-finished, and engineered hardwood, all the way to laminate flooring. The product which is least influenced by the lack of acclimation is engineered wood, installed using the glue down technique. Conversely, unfinished hardwood floors need a longer time to acclimate since the wood is untreated. The suggested time to acclimate hardwood floors before installation is between 48-96 hours, the longer the better. It is not necessary to take the wood out from the boxes.
As a rule, before getting your hardwood floors installed, make sure the wood is delivered and inside the house 2-4 days before starting the installation process. The wood needs to be stored inside, not in the garage or on the porch, with normal conditions (air conditioner or heat on, windows closed, doors closed). Keeping a steady temperature inside your house after the hardwood was installed is as important as the acclimation prior to installation. Make sure you keep a temperature between 65 degrees and 80 degrees at all times. For a full definition of the Acclimation/Acclimatization, visit Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acclimatization.
Peter and his team did a great job installing our bamboo flooring and redoing our stairs. The team was always on time quick and did a very thorough self review of the work at the end of the job. We can highly recommend this company.Christine, B
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