Hardwood flooring is a beautiful and durable option for homeowners that provides timeless beauty while complementing almost any style of decor. However, many people don’t realize that there’s one important step you need to take before you start your hardwood flooring installation. It’s called acclimation, and following the proper steps will help you get a lifetime of quality use from your hardwood floors. Here’s what you need to know to get the desired results.

What is acclimation? Acclimation is a process that allows your hardwood flooring to adjust to the conditions of your living space. When acclimation is complete, the temperature and humidity of the hardwood will suit the temperature and humidity of the surrounding environment.

Why is acclimation important? Acclimation is important because wood is a hygroscopic material that will naturally take on and release moisture from the air to balance itself with its surrounding environment. Acclimation gives the wood flooring time to adjust to the climate conditions of the home. If the wood does not reach this state of moisture balance before installation, a variety of issues can arise. Acclimation is critical in preventing future cupping or buckling issues.

How do I acclimate hardwood flooring? Before installing hardwood flooring, you should read all of the information provided by the manufacturer. Always install your hardwood flooring per the Impressions Hardwood Collection Installation Guidelines to maintain the warranty. The guidelines involve moving the boards into the room where they will be installed. Flooring stored upon “on-grade” concrete floors should be evaluated at least 4 inches to allow air circulation under the cartons. The cartons should be spaced out, not stacked or stored on pallets. Leave flooring in closed cartons during the acclimation process. This allows the moisture content of the wood to adjust to the conditions of the environment. To ensure proper performance of the flooring, the climate in the room must be maintained with the temperature between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity between 35 to 55 percent before, during, and after installation. Do not store flooring where there is no climate control and never transport flooring in rain, snow, or excessively moist conditions. 

How long does acclimation take? The acclimation time depends on a variety of factors, including geographic area, current climate conditions, and the moisture content of the subflooring. Before installing your new hardwood floors, it’s important to use a moisture meter to determine the moisture content of the materials and compare it to the subflooring. When the numbers differ by 2 percent for plank flooring or 4 percent for 2 ¼ inch flooring, you can move forward with the installation. Always check with the manufacturer for specific recommendations.

Contact us for assistance. We take great pride in satisfying our customers with beautiful, correctly installed hardwood floors. Contact us at www.impressionsflooring.com/ask-the-experts to learn more about installing your hardwood flooring.