Acclimatization of Floors Before Install
A huge misconception that many individuals tend to believe is that when newly purchased hardwood is brought into the home, it must sit a few days or even weeks to acclimatize to the homes conditions. Nowadays hardwood flooring is often dried before being packaged therefore most of the time it is ready to be installed straight from the box and should be installed relatively soon. The only time when you would still let the floor acclimatize is in very humid climates. Specific recommendations are usually stated on the hardwood flooring box and should be followed as accurately as possible.
Storing Your Hardwood Floors
The National Wood Flooring Association recommends keeping the temperature between 15oC and 24oC, and humidity between 30-50% in your home. The same applies for storage of your floors before installation.
The biggest issue individuals face is poor ventilation and humidity due to washing and cleaning of the floors or even spills. Once floors are washed or spilled on they should be immediately dried as best as possible; some issues can include:
-the planks could become warped therefore each can be different, making installation much harder to produce even floors
-each piece could expand and then with seasonal changes especially in climates such as Alberta could cause gaping issues
-some other possible issues are splitting and cracking of the wood
Repairing water damaged boards can become a very complicated process and therefore we must take care of our floors before and after install to minimize these issues. To avoid issues related to moisture here are 4 recommendations that should be followed:
-avoid storing the floors in a garage or basement as the floor is exposed more to humidity and changing conditions
-make sure there is good ventilation where the hardwood floors are being stored, use a fan if necessary
-consistent conditions, try to control temperature and humidity until the floors are installed; construction sites should not store hardwood floors for extended period of times if conditions cannot be controlled
-elevate the boxes on pieces of wood (2×4) especially if placing the boxes on concrete to minimize condensation underneath the boxes
Monitoring Conditions in Your Home
Before installing a new hardwood floor, it is recommended the humidity is monitored in the home. Use a hygrometer which will measure the moisture in your home; if conditions are outside of the 30-50% range then if possible adjust your humidifier so that conditions are within the ideal range. Temperature should also be controlled, this can be easily done if a home has air conditioning in the summer which would minimize temperature fluctuations between summer and winter.
After installation keeping the home at a consistent humidity and temperature is super important in minimizing shrinking and/or expanding. Keeping conditions consistent is always an ongoing battle and will never be perfect at all times but putting the effort in, will make sure your floors look the same as they did from day one!