The amount of moisture in the air is known as humidity. Everywhere you go, the humidity is going to be slightly different. That means that the humidity in the Pacific Northwest is different than the humidity in the Southeast. It also means that the humidity in your house is different than the humidity outside or even in your neighbor’s house. It’s influenced by your HVAC system, your house size, house shape, insulation, and much more.

All of that means that your hardwood flooring planks will need to be acclimated to your house before you install them. Since wood is porous, moisture moves in and out of the wood, albeit very slowly. Wood that is moister than the ambient air will eventually dry up. As it dries, it will draw up. If it’s already installed, that could cause creaky floors and misshapen wood planks. Wood that absorbs moisture will swell somewhat. That can cause buckling and creaking as well. 

Solid Plank Hardwood

You definitely need to acclimate solid plank hardwood. Unfinished solid plank hardwood is just boards of bare wood; it’s the most susceptible to absorbing or releasing moisture because there’s no stain or finish to close up the pores. If you order unfinished hardwood, it needs to sit in the room where it will be installed for at least seven days. Some installers recommend 10 days for acclimation. That’s especially true if the wood comes from far away. If it comes from a different environment, it could be very different from your home’s ambient humidity. 

Prefinished hardwood needs to be acclimated as well. While the stain and finish will somewhat mitigate the transfer of moisture, it’s not a complete seal. 

Engineered Hardwood

There are certain types of engineered hardwood that supposedly do not need to be acclimated. Engineered hardwood is made from several layers of wood that are stacked perpendicular to one another to create multiple axes of strength. They’re much less likely to cup or buckle. However, most installers will still recommend that you acclimate your engineered hardwood just to be safe. Three days is probably the minimum for engineered planks, but it’s not a bad idea to wait seven to 10 days. It might be slightly frustrating to have to wait a week or more to get your new floor installed, but it will be much less work than pulling up and replacing damaged planks later on.

Contact a Trusted Hardwood Company in Denver

Whether your floors need to be completely replaced, refinished, or if you just have a question, the team at Colorado Hardwood Floors can help! Give us a call today to get started.

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