Hardwood Acclimation before Installation

So the gorgeous hardwood floor planks you ordered a few weeks ago have finally arrived at your home. You are so excited and ready to get the remodel project underway immediately. Unfortunately, you are going to have to be patient just a little while longer. Why is that? Hardwood floors have to go through a process of acclimation before the wood floor can be installed.

What exactly is acclimation?

Have you ever experienced going to an area of extremely high elevation such as a city like Denver? Upon first arriving in the city it may be difficult to breathe and you may not feel well but over a few days your body gets acclimated and the altitude is less bothersome to you. Just like in our example of traveling to Denver, hardwood planks needs a bit of time to acclimate to the conditions of the home they will be installed in.

Wood contains an ever fluctuating moisture content, and because of this, wood will naturally expand or contract depending on factors such as temperature and humidity. The wood you ordered likely was shipped from a non-climate controlled warehouse. If upon receiving that wood, you immediately install it in your temperature controlled home, what you will find is the wood will flex and this can create gaps, cracks, bows, or distortion leaving you with a warped finished product.

As a best practice be sure to have your delivered wood planks acclimate in your home for at least 48-96 hours before the installation process begins. The wood doesn’t need to be unpackaged but it is important that the wood be in the room or area that it will be installed in during the acclimation process. A garage, basement, or back porch is not a proper area to acclimate wood because the environmental conditions differ from those within the home.

We know you are eager to enjoy your beautiful new wood floor but exercise a bit of patience and let your hardwood properly acclimate within the house before you have it installed. You will enjoy your wood floors for years to come, what’s two to eight more days of patiently waiting?


Joseph Arugu writes on behalf of Custom Hardwood Flooring Austin, a family owned and operated business in Austin for over 20 years.