How to Acclimate Hardwood Flooring? It is one of the most common mistakes people make when installing a new floor.
Acclimatization actually occurs before a single plank is ever laid down. When installing hardwood flooring, first you need to allow the flooring to acclimate to ensure that the installation process goes smoothly and you won’t experience any problems.
If not done properly, your beautiful new floors can expand, shrink or distort causing structural damage. To keep this from happening, you should always acclimate a new hardwood floor before installation to ensure optimum stability.
In this situation, homeowners may wonder, Can hardwood flooring acclimate in the box? And what is the best way to do it?
Below, I have answered your questions in detail so that your hardwood floor installation goes smoothly. In this article, we’ll discuss whether hardwood flooring can acclimate in a box.
Table of Contents
Can Hardwood Flooring Acclimate in The Box?
Generally, acclimating hardwood flooring in a box is not recommended. However, if you do decide to do so, be aware that it will take much longer as there is no air circulation provided in the box.
As part of hardwood floor installation, acclimatization is an important step because it allows the wood to adjust to the temperature and humidity of its environment, reducing the chance of warping or buckling after the installation process has been carried out.
To acclimate hardwood flooring, simply remove the planks from the boxes and stack them in the room where they will be installed, and allow them to breathe. The wood is able to adapt to the conditions of the room by doing this, ensuring a more stable and durable installation.
Moreover, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for acclimation. This helps to ensure that the flooring material does not shrink or expand due to changes in the environment.
Why is Acclimation so Important for Hardwood Floors?
Acclimatization is important when homeowners and designers choose an exquisite flooring option for their interiors. Acclimatization helps to ensure that the flooring material is suitable for the home’s temperature and humidity levels.
The reason why acclimatization is important when a solid hardwood floor is added to a house is because wood is hygroscopic. It means that it will be able to take up moisture from the environment it is situated in.
As a result of too much moisture being taken in or lost, wood can change in dimensions due to excessive changes in moisture levels. It can expand shrink check or split due to excessive changes in moisture levels.
The Pros and Cons of Acclimating in the Box
- Transport and storage can be easier if flooring stays in the box until needed.
- Packaging can protect the wood from scratches and dents.
- Boxed wood may not properly acclimate to the installation environment, increasing the risk of warping and gaps after installation.
- Moisture content in sealed boxes can make installation difficult.
- It may take time for the planks to adjust to the temperature and humidity.
- Wood in boxes hides color and grain patterns, making it difficult to plan and design.
Best Way to Acclimate Hardwood Flooring
Step 1: Adjust the Room’s Temperature
The first thing you should do is ensure that the temperature and humidity levels in your home are set to the typical ambient living conditions, which can be found in most homes. This includes checking that the temperature is set to the usual setting on the HVAC system. Also, adjust the temperature settings according to the season.
Finally, check for any drafts or leaks that could be causing the temperature and humidity levels to be too high or too low. Additionally, a professional installer should inspect the flooring to see if there are any signs of moisture damage.
Step 2: Unboxing and Stacking
Once the flooring has been carefully removed from the boxes, the planks should be “sticker stacked” together. By doing so, the floorboards are able to breathe. This helps to reduce the expansion caused by moisture, which helps to keep the flooring in place.
Once stacked, the planks should be inspected for any defects or warping. Any damaged planks should be discarded and replaced. Also, make sure all the planks are spaced evenly and laid in the same direction.
Step 3: Acclimate the Planks
Lastly, wait until the flooring has adjusted to the room temperature and humidity. It usually takes at least 3-5 days, but acclimation times are longer in areas with high or low moisture levels. Plus, it also depends on the project’s size, complexity, and type.
The image above shows the areas with high and low moisture levels.
Moreover, to ensure that the wood dries evenly, the stack should be rotated to lay the boards in the same direction. When the moisture content between the floor and the subfloor is within 3%, your floor is ready for installation. As soon as your floor has been acclimated, you can begin installing it.
FAQ: Can Hardwood Flooring Acclimate in The Box?
How long must you wait to put furniture on new Hardwood Floors?
Furniture should not be placed on new hardwood floors for at least 24 to 48 hours. By doing this, the finish can dry and harden, which reduces the risk of scratches or dents. Additionally, furniture should not be dragged across the floor as this can also cause scratches or dents. Instead, it should be lifted and moved carefully.
How long can hardwood flooring acclimate in the box?
Hardwood flooring should not acclimate in the box. For proper acclimatization, remove the flooring from the boxes and sticker-stack it in the installation room for the recommended amount of time, typically a few days to several weeks. By doing so, the wood is able to adjust to the humidity and temperature of the room.
What happens if I don’t acclimate hardwood flooring?
If you skip acclimating hardwood flooring, it can lead to problems like warping, buckling, or gaps after installation. Proper acclimatization allows the wood to adapt to the environment, ensuring a stable, long-lasting floor.
How long does oak flooring need to acclimate?
Oak flooring typically needs to acclimate for around 3 to 5 days. However, the exact time may vary depending on factors like wood moisture content, room conditions, and the local climate. A better explanation of moisture content & room conditions is in this article.