One of the common problems made by inexperienced installers of wood flooring is failing to acclimatize the material to its new environment prior to putting it in place. The point of acclimating wood flooring prior to installing it is to permit the wood to adjust to eh the “normal environment” of the room, the temperature and humidity conditions that will be experienced once the flooring has been installed. If this isn’t done, it can easily lead to major problems with the floor’s appearance that can cost a bunch of money to correct after the fact.

In reality, somwood flooring may have already absorbed the proper degree of moisture prior to being delivered to the job site. If this is the case, allowing the wood to languish at any jobsite with excessive humidity, will only cause it to absorb too much moisture.

Therefore, the key message is that installers must understand the dynamics of water and wood, and make educated judgments as to when and what amount of acclimation is required, if any. To do this correctly requires an understanding of what the moisture content of wood flooring is when delivered, and what its expected moisture content will be when being used in its intended environment.

Why acclimation matters

Simply stated, if the wood is installed with either too little or too much moisture content, and is then installed to perfectly fit the room, it can be a recipe for disaster. If there was too little moisture because the wood was not properly acclimated, and it is perfectly fitted for the room’s area but later absorbs moisture from a humid environment, it will swell-up more and buckle upwards. On the other hand, if the wood was perfectly fitted but had too much moisture, it may dry out later and shrink, leaving unwanted gaps between the boards, which means a loose floor. Neither is a good problem to deal with.

The solution is to have your new wood flooring installed by experienced professionals that know how to determine the moisture content and make the necessary adjustments before the installation begins. Remember that since our homes exist in environments with widely varying temperature ranges and humidity, professional installation makes the best sense.