How long does hardwood need to acclimate before installation?

You’ve chosen the perfect hardwood floors for your home, you’ve scheduled the installation date, and you’ve prepared the house (and your kids!) for the remodel…but there’s still the question of acclimation. Do you know how long does hardwood need to acclimate before installation?

It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot. Clients will hear it from installers and understand in simple terms that it’s a process their hardwood needs to go through, whether that means sitting at the installation location for a couple of days to a couple of weeks. Acclimation is the point at which your hardwood floors reach the optimum equilibrium so that they’re neither losing or gaining moisture, and for the most part…it’s completely arbitrary.

Is Acclimating Hardwood Necessary?

Back when hardwood had to sit at its installation location to dry out, yes. However, most hardwoods are kiln-dried these days. The environment inside a kiln, or oven, is easier to control, allowing hardwood to reach its most desirable moisture level much quicker than it would if left out to dry.

However, just because most hardwoods are kiln-dried doesn’t mean all are. It’s important that you keep an eye on your delivery. New homes are filled with gallons of excess water and even dry wood left to sit will absorb all the moisture in the air, leading the planks to expand. The same can be said of leaving a shipment of hardwood to acclimate near wet-trades, such as fresh brickwork, concrete, or plaster work. Installing hardwood at a high moisture level only for the climate to dry out later on will lead to significant shrinking and gapping between the boards, and that’s never a good look for your floors.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if your hardwood has been acclimated in a drier climate, it will absorb the moisture inside the home. This causes permanent cupping as the boards push together.

Avoid variables such as these by keeping your hardwood purchase in a climate-controlled space, or buy a moisture meterto measure your hardwood’s moisture levels prior to installation.

Luckily, with help from Bob’s Carpet and Flooring, you never have to worry about acclimation of hardwood flooring issues…our experts will make sure of that!