Getting ready to install hardwood flooring in your house? If so, one of the things you need to be aware of is that the hardwood floorboards must acclimate to your home prior to installing them. While you may be ready to tackle this flooring project immediately, ignoring this crucial step could potentially ruin your hardwood flooring. Here are some common questions about the acclimation process.
Why Must Floorboards Be Acclimated Before Installing Them?
Hardwood flooring material will absorb water in the air until it is in line with the new environment it is in. In a very humid environment, hardwood floorboards will absorb a lot of moisture and eventually swell to a bigger size. In a dry environment, the hardwood will shrink due to moisture loss. When you purchase hardwood flooring, the moisture levels of the boards will be similar to the place where you purchased them rather than your home. That is why they need to acclimate to your home.
What Will Happen If Acclimation Doesn't Occur?
If you don't wait for acclimation, you will be installing the floorboards before the shrinking or swelling happens. Your flooring will then have small gaps between the boards or start bulging up because there is no room for the wood to expand. The latter is referred to as cupping, and will create uneven edges that are higher and lower than the surface of the floor as the wood struggles to fit within the tight space.
What Should Be Done to Let Floorboards Acclimate?
You must take the hardwood floorboards into your home and remove them from the packaging. Then all you do is wait. It could take several days for the hardwood to be ready for installation, which depends on several factors. This includes:
- The difference in humidity levels of your home and the store.
- The floorboard thickness and length
- The kind of wood used for the floorboards.
While waiting several days will make it a safe bet that the floorboards are ready, the only way to know for sure is to use a moisture meter. It can be used to measure the moisture levels of your floorboards and compare it to the moisture in the room. When both values are the same, you know it's ready to install the floorboards.
If you do not want to make the mistake of doing the installation incorrectly, reach out to a local flooring expert like Danny's Floor Coverings that can handle it all for you.