The beauty, durability, and grandeur of reclaimed hardwood flooring are undeniable, making it a highly sought-after option for homeowners and designers alike. By taking the time to acclimate your flooring correctly, you can ensure long-term stability and performance while preserving its unique character and charm.
Read on to learn more about the process of acclimating hardwood flooring and why this critical installation step is so important.
What Is Hardwood Acclimation?
The reclaimed hardwood flooring acclimation process allows the wood time to adapt to indoor humidity and temperature levels before installation.Acclimation is vital for the longevity and durability of your hardwood flooring since it enables the material to perform optimally under ever-changing environmental conditions.
Why Should You Acclimate Reclaimed Hardwood?
Allowing your new reclaimed hardwood flooring to adjust to the indoor humidity and temperature levels is essential for the following reasons:
Stability—Wood is considered hygroscopic, which means external moisture (humidity) causes it to expand and shrink naturally. It will absorb or release water based on the surrounding environment.
Durability and longevity—Proper acclimation ensures the flooring will remain in balance with the indoor environment, reduce the likelihood of damage, and allow it to maintain its appearance and structural integrity for decades to come.
If you don’t take the time to acclimate, your hardwood floor could experience future gaping, cupping, or warping issues. At that point, you’ll have to deal with time-consuming and potentially expensive repairs. And if you do manage to fix the problem—deep down inside, you’ll never forget “that one spot on my beautiful floor” that suffered damage.
How to Acclimate Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring
Follow this step-by-step guide to acclimate your reclaimed hardwood flooring properly:
Step 1: Timing and Climate
The optimal hardwood floor acclimation time is at least 5-7 days before installation and even longer for thicker or wider planks. Acclimation should take place during a season that has relatively stable humidity and temperatures, so try to avoid acclimating when the forecast calls for extreme weather conditions.
The species and variety of wood can impact the length of acclimation time. Some species of wood are more stable than others and may require less time, while others may be more prone to movement and require a longer duration.
Additionally, wider planks and thicker boards may require longer acclimation than narrower and thinner boards. This is because wider planks and thicker boards have more surface area and therefore more potential for movement.
Step 2: Preparation
Before you bring the wood indoors, ensure the storage area is dry, well-ventilated, and clean. Finish painting or other wet work at least seven days before acclimation to ensure proper drying.
Step 3: Measure Indoor Temperature and Humidity
Use a hygrometer to measure humidity and temperature levels in the installation area. Maintaining a relevant humidity level between 30-50% and a temperature range of 60-80°F (15-27°C) is recommended.
Step 4: Bring the Wood Indoors
Bring the wood inside and remove any packaging materials. Store it in the room where it will be installed, stacked with spacers between the boards to allow air to circulate. Stack the flooring in a cross-grain pattern, with each layer perpendicular to the previous one. This process helps to promote even acclimation.
Step 5: Monitor the Environment
Continue to monitor the temperature and humidity levels throughout the entire acclimation period. Utilize a humidifier, dehumidifier, heater, or AC to make any necessary adjustments to keep the wood in the recommended range.
Use a high-quality wood moisture meter and check levels daily to ensure moisture content stabilization. The moisture content of the flooring should be within 2% of the subfloor for solid hardwood and 6-9% for reclaimed hardwood flooring.
Acclimate Your Hardwood Floors and Achieve Long-Lasting Results
As you embark upon your journey to transform your living space with reclaimed hardwood flooring, remember that patience and diligence during the acclimation process will lead to a stunning, timeless result that you can proudly showcase in your home.
At E.T. Moore, we have one of the largest reclaimed hardwood inventories on the Eastern seaboard. Our expansive 5-acre facility in Richmond, VA., allows us to create stunning hardwood flooring with highly desirable grain patterns. Contact us today or click below to learn more about our flooring products.Reclaimed Wood Flooring