Most home improvement and flooring experts will agree that climate acclimation is the first important step to ensuring long lasting beauty and durability for your hardwood floors. Acclimation or acclimatization can make or break your hardwood floor installation. Since hardwood flooring materials are shipped and delivered to their final destination from another place, the wood may either be too dry or too moist for immediate installation according to where they originated from. Also, even if you have purchased your flooring materials from a local merchant, the temperatures in their buildings are probably not the same as that in your own home. Because of this, your flooring materials must be allowed to become accustomed to the surrounding climate of the rooms to where they will be applied. Allowing your newly delivered floor boards or planks to sit open and undisturbed in the area where they are to be placed will allow the wood to soak in or leech out any moisture that has naturally accumulated in their fibers.
Most manufacturers suggest that installers remove any wrapping from each board, and stack them in a crisscross pattern, ideally in the room where they will be placed. This will allow each piece of flooring to acclimate itself to the temperature and moisture levels in the room. Doing so will ensure that the installed flooring will not buckle or split as it will naturally expand and contract over the life of its use. Not allowing for this change in climate will almost surely produce cracks, crevices, breaks and rising of the installed flooring due to moisture collection and pressure as the boards press against one another with their movement.
An acclimation timeline of 14 days is suggested in order for the wood fibers to fully adjust to the temperatures of your home. Making sure the room is set at a warmer, dryer temperature will make for a more uniformed acclimatization process and a much smoother installation.
Other issues surrounding hardwood floor installation can involve uneven or improperly prepared subfloors. Hardwood floors can be installed over nearly any subfloor type. Tile, concrete or plywood subfloors are all ideal canvases for laying your new hardwood floor. However, properly preparing these surfaces is critical to your best hardwood floor installation. Things like raised nail heads, puckered or broken plywood subfloors, dust or cracked stone or concrete can make for an uneven surface or can allow for moisture to gather beneath your newly installed hardwoods.
Begin by inspecting the subfloor. Remove any nails, staples or blemishes which are raised above the surface and use wood putty to fill in cracks and breaks in plywood. If you have removed flooring which required an adhesive compound, remove any residue that remains tacky or that could possibly retain moisture later on after your hardwoods are installed. Vacuum loose particles and dust to ensure none gets trapped between the boards during their installation.
Issues with angles and tight spots can also hamper your floor's installation process. Consider a dry run. Racking or laying each acclimated board atop your prepared subfloor in whichever pattern you desire prior to gluing or nailing saves time later on. If an issue with fit arises during your racking, you can simply remove, replace or reposition a board for a more proper fit while avoiding the complications of removing nails or permanent adhesives.
By following these simple tips, you can avoid any issues with your hardwood floor installation and enjoy their enduring beauty instead.