How Do I Acclimate My Wood, Cork or Laminate Floor?

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Have we mentioned that you should acclimate?  Once, twice, maybe?  Well, here are a few recommendations when it comes to acclimating your new floor before you install it.

For best performance, wood flooring should be one of the last items installed. Heating and air conditioning systems should be fully operating and running at least 7 days before the installation. To prevent moisture related issues such as board edge cupping, all wet work involving water or moisture (plumbing, plaster /drywall ceilings or wall finishes, painting, etc.) should be finished with ample time allowed for complete drying prior to wood floor installation. New concrete should be cured and at least 60 to 90 days old.

To prevent moisture build-up, homes with crawl spaces must have vents for proper cross-ventilation.  Provide year-round air circulation with multiple vents. Venting allows damp areas to dry-out. Vents must be adequately spaced so that no dead air spaces remain. Under the home in the crawlspace use black 6-mil polyethylene sheet plastic as a moisture barrier. Completely Cover 100% of the surface of the ground to guard against excessive moisture. Overlap plastic seams 6″? and duct tape

Cork Flooring Links

Store CORK  Flooring flat for a minimum of 48 hours, in open packaging, at room temperature (15°- 30°C / 60°-85°F and a maximum of 75% relative humidity) in the room in which they are to be installed.

Laminate Links 

Store Laminate Flooring flat for a minimum of 48 hours, in unopened packaging, at room temperature (15°- 30°C / 60°-85°F and a maximum of 75% relative humidity) in the room in which they are to be installed. For floors with radiant heating make sure to turn down your thermostat to 15°C / 60°F at least 1 week prior to installation (do not turn off heating if the temperature outside is below freezing). Maintain the temperature below 27°C / 80°F.

 Solid Wood Domestic and Exotic Links 

All wood products are affected by environmental conditions especially prefinished materials. Acclimate the new flooring in the areas to be installed to normal lived-in conditions while in the boxes. If products are protected in plastic open the ends of the boxes. Length of time is not the determining factor. The goal is to reach an equilibrium or moisture balance between the new flooring with its surroundings before installation. This balance could be achieved in as little as 1 to 5 days, or longer for some exotic species. For best performance, condition the flooring to consistent indoor temperatures of 60°-80° F and indoor humidity levels of 30% – 50%. Very dry or humid regions usually require extended conditioning. Recommended acclimation levels maintained even after the installation will minimize board movement, excessive squeaks and gaps. Proper jobsite conditions, acclimation and moisture testing the subfloor and new flooring and all work together for the success of the installation. This is the responsibility of those overseeing the project.

 

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12 Comments

  1. Melissa Cummings on

    I have had my flooring for almost a year, stored in my house. Does this make any difference? The room it was stored in is same humidity as the rest of the house. Temp would be similar, too.

    • Lumber Liquidators on

      Hi Melissa – thanks for reaching out! Since it was in a temperature-controlled environment everything should be good to go.

  2. Hi Tami, thanks for asking! If you install the flooring when it is outside of the recommended moisture & humidity levels it could separate or buckle with changes. If it is acclimated to your home then installed in a home with no temperature control it could shrink due to the temperature change. You could try to acclimate in your home and then install, but it would be at your own risk. Let me know if you have any other questions & good luck with the project! – Lumber Liquidators

  3. Hi Fred, thanks for your interest in Lumber Liquidators! Please contact our Tech & Installation pros at 800-366-4204 for detailed assistance. – Lumber Liquidators

  4. I’d like to install a 3/4" solid acacia glue down over 15 year old concrete on grade in Phoenix. I understand that Bostik glue can be used for this. I would give the material ample time to acclimate, but I do not have a humidifier. Is the humidity too low here to install?

  5. Hi Monica, Thanks for choosing Lumber Liquidators! Virginia Mill Works Engineered should be acclimated to consistent indoor temperatures of 60°-80° F and indoor humidity levels of 30% – 50%. Use a reliable species specific moisture meter to measure the moisture of the wood subfloor and flooring. The difference between the moisture of the wood subfloor and wood flooring should not exceed 4%. You should continue to acclimate the flooring until you meet these requirements. The length of acclimation time is not the determining factor. For more information you can search your flooring type in the Flooring 101 resource on our website. I hope this helps.
    Enjoy the floor! – Lumber Liquidators

  6. We plan to install bamboo laminate next weekend. Should we open the boxes and plastic wrap while it acclimates or leave boxes unopened until installation?

  7. It is preferred to acclimate to a consistent climate. If the swap cooler is used mostly then the floor can be acclimated to that environment, but when the AC is used you should be keeping the home climate to the same temperature and humidity as it is with the swap cooler or the wood could lose moisture when the climate levels are drier. Wood flooring performs best in a climate between 60F to 80F with humidity between 30% to 50%. When wood flooring is kept outside of the recommended climate levels much more movement is expected. A laminate or engineered product would be much more dimensionally stable, and would perform better than a solid floor if climate isn’t consistent.

  8. Brian Little on

    We live in Phoenix, so we run the evap. cooler as long as possible, until humidity levels get up around 50% outside. We then switch to the AC. Would it be best to acclimate the flooring I bought to the cooler or the AC. We are currently using the cooler but will most likely have to switch to AC in a couple of weeks (monsoons begin).

  9. Thanks for the really great article! A lot of people probably don’t even consider letting the wood or laminate floors adjust before installing them. It’s really important to do your homework on stuff like that and any other home improvement project.

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