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Hardwood Acclimation for Installation

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Acclimation of your hardwood flooring to your home is the first step of installation and a important step. Hardwood flooring is a big investment and acclimation protects your hardwood and investment. If you do not allow your wood to acclimate properly can cause installation issues down the road. Some of the issues that can happen when you do not acclimate wood include buckling and gapping which will not be under the manufacturers’ warranty.

The manufacture will give a guideline for acclimating solid or engineered wood flooring. Proper acclimation is more than just letting flooring site at the job site. The conditions to consider when acclimating wood include the wood floor moisture content or MC and the relative humidity or RH. These two conditions are what should be tested and looked after to ensure the wood has acclimated properly.

The ranges for the moisture content or relative humidity are different based on the specific climate and have a big range based on the environment. The mill can only dry the wood so much and the best of the drying has to be done on site to match the unique environment. Wood floors out of the mill are typically between 6%-9%. This range is designed to work well in both drier and more humid environments.

“Wood flooring is a hygroscopic material subject to dimensional change as a result of variations in moisture, temperature and humidity within the surrounding environment. Wood flooring simply needs to reach moisture content level in equilibrium with the surrounding environment (EMC) in which it will be installed. Warranty coverage generally requires that jobsite conditions be maintained between 30% to 50% relative humidity and that those conditions must be maintained before, during and after installation for the life of the floor.”

-National Wood Flooring Association

The NWFA is a great resource for understanding acclimation and can help alongside the manufacture to give acclimation requirements and help with proper moisture content and relative humidity ranges for specific circumstances.

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