Preparing for Installation

Check moisture levels in sub floor:

Although engineered floors require considerably less acclimation(if any) than solids, before installing any hardwood, you need to check to insure that the moisture in the subfloor is within tolerance. If the subfloor is wood, you can use a moisture meter to insure that the moisture content is 11% or less.  If you have a concrete slab subfloor, a calcium chloride test is the most accurate way to check for moisture.(see calcium chloride test)

Acclimation:

Acclimation is the process of matching the temperature and moisture of the hardwood to the homes temperature and moisture content. Failure to skip this step could result in boards shrinking apart from each other, or the boards expanding and buckling the hardwood.   Acclimation should take place in the same room(s) as where the hardwood will be installed.  Do not stack the boxes, instead place them side by side on the subfloor and open all of the boxes.  Run the air conditoner or heater as normal, and do not get the wood wet. Make sure the room temperature is somewhere between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

How long to Acclimate the hardwood floors:

Unfortunately there is no magic number to achieve acclimation. The greater the difference in moisture content there is between the subfloor and the wood, the longer the time it takes to acclimate.  The average(over wood subfloors)is somewhere between 7-10 days-but ultimately you are looking for the difference in moisture content to be about 2% in variance for boards over 3 1/4" in width or exotic hardwoods and about 4% in variance for boards widths under 3 1/2" wide.

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