Before installing your new 3/4” solid hardwood floor, it is extremely important to allow the wood to acclimate to the new environment before you begin installation. This is especially important in regions with high humidity or regions with a very dry climate. Hardwood floor is a natural material and tends to absorb water causing it to swell, or lose water which causes it to shrink. If acclimation is incomplete, the wood is known to drastically expand or contract after or during installation. This causes the floor to have gaps and spaces, and it can even raise up in affected areas. Fixing this problem after the floor has already been installed is a painful procedure.
To acclimate the wood, simply open the boxes and allow the wood to be exposed to the temperature of your house. Although the wood may be ready within a few days, we recommend an acclimation period of at least two weeks to be safe. Remember that all of the windows and doors need to be in place and the interior climate controls need to be running properly to provide a consistent temperature. This will also ensure that everything in your house is thoroughly dry and ventilated sufficiently so you can begin installation. During the acclimation period the wood will either absorb moisture from the air or moisture will evaporate out of the wood causing it to undergo expansion and contraction. Dry wall,
masonry work, painting and plastering must be completed and dry because the floor can even absorb moisture from walls that are still damp.
After acclimation is complete, you need to determine proper moisture content in the hardwood floor and the subfloor. In order to do this, the use of a wood moisture meter is necessary. After removing the carpet and carpet padding, test the wood subfloor to ensure a moisture content no greater than 13%, keeping in mind that the moisture content of the hardwood floor must not exceed a 4% difference from this reading (for more information refer to the manufacturer’s instructions). Once the wood is acclimated and you have acceptable moisture content readings, the next step is to prep the sub-floor!
Note: Installing hardwood flooring in a basement is not allowed. Basements are typically too humid for hardwood installations because they are under the ground