How do you acclimatise wood flooring?

How do you acclimatise wood flooring?

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How do you acclimatise wood flooring?

One common question we receive is whether you need to acclimatize wood flooring before installing it. Wood is a natural product that expands and contracts with seasonal times and, in the summer, due to changes in humidity. Being a hygroscopic material, wood releases moisture during the winter and may dry out more due to heating when humidity is low.  So here is what you need to know about acclimatising your wood flooring.

What is acclimatising of flooring?

Acclimatising of flooring involves the preparation of your flooring to adapt to the moisture and temperature conditions in its environment before installation. Acclimating wood flooring allows it to adapt to the room’s natural temperature and humidity levels over time. This ensures optimum stability by increasing the longevity of your floor.

Why do you need to acclimatise wood flooring?

As a natural product, wood floors exhibit inherent expansion and contraction tendencies. Each room maintains its own unique temperature and humidity levels. Since your flooring may have been stored in a spacious warehouse, the environment there significantly differs from the one it will encounter during installation. It absorbs moisture during the humid spring and summer months, while in a dry environment, it releases moisture and contracts. This is also why we do not recommend wood flooring for bathrooms, where the humidity levels are higher in a bathroom area.

If you install your flooring without allowing it to acclimatize, the wood will respond to fluctuations in moisture and temperature by contracting or expanding, potentially resulting in unsightly gaps, buckling, and warping once the flooring is fitted. To prevent this, you must acclimatize the wood flooring so that any shape changes occur before fitting the boards.

Storing your flooring for acclimatisation
Acclimatisation allows the wood flooring to equalise with the room’s temperature and moisture levels.

What happens if you don’t acclimatise the flooring

Failing to acclimatise wood flooring can result in warping, buckling, cupping, crowning, or creating unsightly gaps in your flooring.

  • Warping – This gives you a twisted board with raised edges that are no longer straight.
  • Buckling – Here the wood plank starts pulling away from the subfloor.
  • Cupping – The edges of your flooring curl up higher than the center, giving it a cup-like look.
  • Crowning –The center of the flooring is higher than the edges, creating a crown or a speed bump.

How do you effectively acclimatise your flooring?

To acclimatize wood flooring, place it within its packs in the room where it will be installed for 2 to 3 days. This allows the floor to adjust to the room’s temperature and moisture levels. Stack the individual boxes on top of each other and open both ends to facilitate air circulation through the packs. Arrange the packages to ensure even distribution of air and humidity.

Support approximately every half meter to prevent bowing, and use spacers between the layers to improve air circulation. If you have flooring for multiple rooms, separate it into individual room quantities and store it in their respective rooms. Make sure everything in the room, such as concrete screeds or plastering, has completely dried before acclimatising your flooring.

How long to acclimatise?

Ensure that your room’s heating or air conditioning systems have been running for a minimum of five days. This will facilitate the acclimatisation process. The same applies to underfloor heating. Before starting to acclimatize wood flooring, it is essential to ensure that any recent work in the room, such as plastering, has thoroughly dried.

Next, you should patiently wait for the flooring to acclimate to the room’s temperature and humidity. This process typically spans 5 to 7 days. In regions with extreme moisture conditions however, it may extend to 7 to 14 days. It’s crucial to commence the installation when the moisture content between the flooring and the subfloor is within a 3% range.

Acclimatising times for wood flooring types

Various flooring types need different durations for acclimatisation:

• Solid & Engineered wood: 72 hours
• SPC (Stone Plastic Composite): 24 hours

Acclimatising your wood flooring will prevent cracks, gaps, or warping.
Acclimatising your wood flooring will ensure longevity and prevent damages such as cracks, gaps, or warping.

Factoring in underfloor heating

If your floor has underfloor heating, you may need extra acclimatisation. Turn the underfloor heating on,  if you have under-floor heating set within a new screed. Follow the suppliers’ instructions before fitting any flooring or allowing it to acclimatize. When you turn on underfloor heating for the first time, it can often drive moisture up and out of the floor. This moisture can be absorbed by the wooden floorboards. Run the heating for at least a week at a normal running temperature before you bring the flooring in.

Ideally, maintain the water temperature inside the underfloor heating pipes within the range of 18-20°C throughout the flooring and finishing process. Once the installation is finished, increase the temperature by 1 to 2 degrees Celsius per day until you achieve the desired temperature, ensuring it does not surpass 27°C.

Acclimatised well, that ends well

Acclimatising your wood flooring will ensure longevity and prevent damages such as cracks, gaps, or warping. Feel free to get in touch with us should you have any further questions on this topic.

About us

Woodfloors4u is a wood flooring company that has supplied custom, commercial, residential, eco-friendly, and reclaimed wood flooring for the last 17 years. They deliver quality, and catchy designs coupled with finish and colors to match all your needs. Many of their floors are FSC® or PEFC® approved, so you can be sure the timber was sourced from sustainable forests.

Like to order a free sample or speak to one of Woodfloors4u experienced customer service team members? Call 020 500 1940 or email info@woodfloors4u.co.uk

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