Have you finally received your new engineered floors? Before jumping straight into installation, some important prep work requires your attention. Whether you ordered hickory, maple, or natural red oak hardwood flooring—solid or engineered—all wood floors need to acclimate. The acclimation process allows your hardwood floors to adjust to their new surroundings. Although it creates more waiting before you can relish your new floors, acclimating wood offers numerous benefits. Here are three reasons why you should acclimate engineered flooring.
Just like your skin, hair, and nails, wood derives from a living organism and possesses the ability to still react with external factors—even after separating from the main body of the tree. With their structural essence, wood floors can sync to the conditions of their surrounding space and respond to their atmosphere’s temperature, humidity, and moisture levels. Compared to solid hardwood, engineered planks feature higher moisture resistance. However, they are still susceptible. Acclimating the wood before installation allows your planks time to adjust and adapt to their new environmental conditions.
Potential Buckling and Shrinkage
As the floors sync with their surrounding climate, wood planks can shrink or expand depending on their atmosphere. Humid and warm temperature circumstances increase moisture intake, causing the wood to swell and expand. In cold and dry surroundings, wood shrinks. Any extremes in temperature and humidity can damage wood in various ways, including cracking, splitting, and molding. Placing the wood floors into the ground without adequate acclimation time leads to potential buckling and shrinkage, which can cause possible damage and issues that hinder the quality of and your experience with the floors. With the right room temperature and humidity levels paired with the proper set time for acclimation, your flooring can expand or shrink to a corresponding plateau shape that matches its surroundings’ average atmospheric conditions.
Wood shrinkage and swelling not only affect your experience with the floors after installment, but they also influence the process during installation. While traveling to your location, the wood flooring adapts to the atmospheric conditions of its packaging. Without acclimation, measuring and planning out the layout of the floor’s placement becomes challenging. Acclimation determines the average dimensions adjusted planks will hold. Skipping the acclimating process causes potential miscalculations in spacing the planks, floor coverage, and supply use.
There are many more reasons why you should acclimate engineered flooring, but one major reason pertains to its effects on your overall experience with the floors. Engineered wood floors provide a range of benefits, from increased durability to elongated longevity. Acclimating your wood optimizes your floors, allowing you to reap and fully experience the benefits they offer.