Letting your new floor get used to its new home!
This is known as "acclimatisation".
Wood absorbs or releases moisture depending on the moisture content of its surroundings (it is a hygroscopic material) and it will respond to the amount of moisture / humidity in the air of your property.
When a wooden floor is delivered to your property, its moisture content is generally between 8 and 10%.
The moisture content / humidity of the air in a property differs from one property to the next and will fluctuate over the seasons. Humidity tends to be higher in summer and lower in winter.
If your flooring has a lower moisture content than the air in your property it will absorb moisture from the air until it is at the same level, which tends to make the flooring expand slightly.
Alternatively if your flooring has a higher moisture content than the air in your property it will release moisture into the air until it is at the same level, which tends to make the flooring shrink slightly.
What is achieved by letting my floor acclimatise?
If you let your flooring acclimatise in your property before it is fitted, it will have reached a similar moisture content to the air, therefore any slight expansion or shrinkage will have already taken place. When the flooring is fitted you should not have any sizable gaps in between the boards.
Is acclimatisation more important for solid or engineered flooring?
As engineered boards are more stable, due to the construction (a veneer on top of a stable base), acclimatisation is less important. Movement is far less likely for engineered boards, so you can fit the flooring almost straightaway.
Acclimatisation is very important for solid boards because of the movement characteristics detailed previously. If you are unsure about any aspect of installing your floor, contact us today and speak to one of our flooring experts.
How do I let my floor acclimatise?
- The flooring must be placed in a room which is at its natural humidity, i.e.
- The heating must be on at a usual level
- All wet trades (plastering, screeding) must be finished and dry i.e. maximum 4% moisture content
- All windows / door openings must be fully weather sealed
- The flooring must be left to acclimatise for a minimum of 3 weeks
- The flooring must be unpacked and stacked carefully and flat on a level surface so it is able to ‘breathe’, as pictured below.
- Under no circumstances should the boards be in contact with any form of moisture.
- N.B. Timber is a natural product and there is a possibility of some slight shrinkage and movement as it continues to acclimatise to the varying moisture levels brought about by seasonal conditions, central heating etc.