Hardwood floors are a popular choice among homeowners and industry professionals alike. But before you can begin the installation process, you need to make sure your hardwood is properly acclimated. Acclimation is the process of allowing your hardwood to adjust to its environment prior to installation. It is a crucial step in the installation process, and one that should not be overlooked. So how long does it take for hardwood floors to acclimate? Let us dive in and explore.
The Timeframe for Acclimation
How long it takes for hardwood floors to acclimate depends on a few factors, including humidity levels in the area where you live and the type of wood you have chosen. Most types of wood should be allowed to acclimate for at least 72 hours prior to installation in order to ensure they are properly adjusted and ready for use. This period may vary depending on species or even just batch-to-batch variation, so it is important to consult with an NWFA professional if you are unsure about how long your particular flooring needs to acclimate.
Humidity Levels Matter
As mentioned above, humidity levels play a vital role in how quickly hardwood floors will acclimate. Typically, higher humidity levels will mean that floors require less time for proper acclimation than lower humidity environments. For instance, if you live in a humid climate such as Florida or Louisiana, you may find that your hardwood may require 72 hours or less of acclimation whereas someone living in a drier climate such as Arizona may need 72 hours or more. Again, this is something that should be discussed with an NWFA professional prior to installation—never assume that one size fits all when it comes to flooring.
For hardwood flooring to properly acclimate there must be optimal conditions within the space where they are being installed; namely temperature and humidity levels must remain consistent throughout the duration of the acclimation period. If these conditions cannot be achieved naturally, then supplemental measures may need to be taken such as using a dehumidifier or humidifier (depending on your climate) or installing an HVAC system if none exists already. Additionally, some types of underlayment require additional time for proper bonding, which could add up two days onto your total timeframe for installation so keep this in mind as well.
Acclimating hardwood floors is essential before installing them in any environment—even if you think your home already has an ideal climate. Understanding how long it takes for hardwood floors to acclimate and optimizing the environment accordingly will help ensure that your finished product looks great and lasts longer. The exact timeframe required will depend on several factors including wood type and local humidity levels so make sure you do some research and consult with an NWFA professional before diving into any project involving this type of flooring. Once everything is set up correctly though you should have no trouble achieving beautiful results every time.