Acclimatization of Hardwood Flooring
Acclimatization of hardwood flooring is the effort of bringing
the moisture content of your wood flooring to equalibrium with
the installation environment. First one might ask why would you
Well hardwood reacts much like a sponge by absorbing and giving
off moisture in response to the local environment. Like the sponge
it expands and contracts in size to reflect gained or lost moisture.
But with a sponge we don't care what size it is as long as it
performs. With flooring it is a totally different story.
So if you haven't already read the why's and why nots, you may
want to take a moment and review this article:
why and when should you acclimatize a wood floor?
Here I promised further discussion on if you absolutely must
acclimatize a wood floor, how would you actually go about doing
it. First let me suggest what you can't do.. or more correctly
what won't be effective.
Many hardwood flooring stores will suggest that you can just
stack up all your boxes of hardwood flooring in the middle of
the room, let them sit there for anywhere between two and 14 days
and insist that this will have "acclimatized" your hardwood
Let me suggest this. If I took my wet laundry and dumped it in
a pile in the middle of my kitchen floor and came back in one
week, would it be "dry"? Most might suggest that the
clothing on the top of the pile would be dry and the clothes on
the inside of the pile might be moldy.. doesn't bring a pretty
picture to mind :)
The point is, air can NOT circulate through the middle of a pile
of flooring when it is stacked in boxes, and boxes stacked on
top of each other, particularly because each piece of wood has
been sealed on the top face. How do you think that you can achieve
any moisture equalization when the air in the home can't even
make contact with the unfinished face of the flooring to start
If you agree with my logic, then the obvious solution is to spread
out all your flooring across the room and allow air flow to access
the underside or unfinished side of the hardwood. Flooring that
is prefinished does not easily absorb any moisture through the
"finished" face.. or at least you and I hope not or
we'd never consider it as an appropriate flooring product in the
The amount of time it requires to stay in that position is a
function of the original moisture content of the hardwood flooring
and the moisture content that you are trying to achieve. For example
if the hardwood flooring is at 45% and the room is at 30% it will
take much longer than in a situation where the home environment
is at 40% .. The only true way to know when your wood is cooked
is to have access to a Wood Moisture Meter.
So why don't I really believe this is do-able?
- Who wants to spread out all the flooring across their room
for 2 weeks?
- Wood has a nasty habit of warping and twisting if it is sitting
with no weight on in, in an enviroment with a different moisture
content then the wood itself, so you may change the moisture
of the hardwood flooring planks to match the home, but you might
also end up with a lot of twisted boards and increase the challenge
of successful installation.
Typically in a dry kiln the wood is strapped or weighted down
during the drying process to prevent this twist.
- warping and twisting is even worse of a problem when you are
trying to tamper with the moisture content of a piece of wood
that is finished on only one side (like the typical hardwood
flooring plank). Think of cedar siding.
- AND lastly this create a huge mess when you finally decide
it is time to install your flooring. Somehow all this has to
be moved asside so that your can get your nailer or stapler
into place and install the flooring.