How Long Should Hardwood Flooring Acclimate?
by Tim Clark on July 28, 2009

If you're installing hardwood floors in your home, it's very important you let your floor acclimate, or adjust, to the temperature and humidity levels in your home.


Because wood tends to contract and expand, depending on changes in temperature and moisture levels in the air. It's okay that the wood flooring does this. But you have to make sure it's installed the right way or you'll end up with big problems.

If you install a wood floor straight out of the box that has been sitting in a warehouse for weeks or months, you may end up wasting a lot of time and money. For example, if the wood was stored in a cold temperature, the wood would be very contracted. Or if the wood was stored in a warm, humid climate it would have absorbed a lot of moisture and expanded (sometimes by several inches.)

So, if you were to install "contracted" wood in a room and put the wood all the way to the edges in a room, where will the wood go when it adjusts to the warmer indoor air temps? The contraction of the wood will ease and push out, causing the boards to warp, push up, crack and more.

To prevent problems, make sure the wood has had time to adjust to your indoor climate. This way you know you're getting a flooring board that is acclimated and the dimensions are accurate at installation. How long should you leave the boards indoors before you install? You should open up the boxes the wood flooring comes in and let them sit for 3 to 5 days.

Also, it's important to make sure you do not install the wood flooring all the way to the walls in a room. Give space on all sides to allow the wood to expand contract in the winter time and expand during the hot summer months. Allow at least a 1/4 inch space to let your wood flooring move and shift, without destroying all your hard work and money invested.

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Comments (5)

Robin on August 13, 2009 at 09:59 AM PST
Thanks for all the great info! I just got back from the flooring store. The sales man told me some of these same things.
Willa Darby on September 28, 2011 at 08:19 AM PST
Very necessary information regarding Hardwood Flooring which has to be kept in mind. What should be the average temperature to be maintained inside our home to keep Hardwood Flooring problem free for long time?
laminate wood flooring on September 28, 2011 at 08:19 AM PST
It’s a known fact that the first thing people look at when they come to view your house is the floor! Flooring forms the base of the interior scheme and with the many choices can be easy to get carried away and forget about the practical aspects to be considered. laminate wood flooring
Hardwood Flooring on September 28, 2011 at 08:19 AM PST
It has excellent acoustics and does not allow hollow sounds and vibrations when walked upon. It do not retain irritants or allergens that can trouble allergy sufferers or people with respiratory problems. Hardwood floors are correctly considered to be a long term investment. Hardwood Flooring
HardwoodJoe on September 28, 2011 at 08:19 AM PST
good stuff, some Bamboo Flooring can take months to acclimate !
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