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How to Acclimate New Flooring Before Installation

1 min read
Published on December 16, 2020
preview image of flooring video
This How-to video is important to watch if you are purchasing most flooring types.

 

Today we’re going to talk about a few simple steps you should take before installing a new floor, to ensure your flooring looks perfect and lasts for years to come.

Very simply, acclimation is the process of making sure your new hardwood floor or other floor matches the environment where you’re installing it.

One of the most common mistakes people make is they don’t acclimate correctly, or skip it altogether. Then their beautiful new floors expand, shrink or distort from changes in moisture — causing structural damage. Needless to say, acclimation is crucial.

Before you start acclimating your floor, always refer to the instruction sheet that came with your specific floor.

The first step is to ensure your home’s temperature and humidity are controlled, setting things like air conditioning and heating to their usual temperatures.

Next, make a base to elevate your floorboard stacks using 2x4’s or palettes, and if you’re on concrete, place a layer of 6 mil poly down first.

Ensure each layer is evenly supported to prevent distortion, and then wait for the flooring to reach an equilibrium with the home’s environment.

This could be as soon as 48 hours, but can take up to 14 days or longer in certain environments.

Using an appropriate wood moisture meter, test several planks and the wood subfloor in several spots and write the results down, averaging them each time.

Once the average moisture no longer increases or decreases and is close to the moisture of the environment, you’re likely acclimated. To be sure, your average moisture content must be within 4% of the subfloor for strip flooring and 2% for plank flooring.

Remember that your flooring needs this acclimation process if you want it to look and feel beautiful for the lifetime of your floor.

If you have more questions about flooring, installation, or the hundreds of ways to improve your home, check with the experts at LL Flooring.

 

handheld moisture meter
Lignomat's mini-Ligno Handheld Moisture Meter

 

Learn about new flooring on our Flooring Basics page.

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