How Long Does Hardwood Flooring Need To Acclimate?

how long does hardwood flooring need to acclimate

Hardwood flooring acclimation is a very important part of preparing the hardwood planks before installation. You can’t just avoid the acclimation part as the consequences after installation can be extremely bad. 

While many people already know its significance, many people ask how long hardwood flooring takes to acclimate? As hardwood flooring is extracted, manufactured, and installed in different places, the surrounding moisture content changes too. And to adapt to the environment, hardwood flooring needs time.

To clear out all your confusion regarding the duration of acclimation, I am here to explain the acclimation process and the time it takes. So stay with me and know how the process goes on. 

Acclimation Time For Different Hardwood Flooring: Know The Duration:

Remember that different hardwood flooring would have different acclimation periods. This is because hardwoods are extracted from a variety of environments and processed in different ways. Thus their adaptability capacity differs. 

In general, it takes around 3 days for most of the hardwood floorings for acclimation. Three days is a standard time for the hardwoods to acclimate. However, different hardwood flooring may need a different time period for acclimation. Also, the wood origin matters a lot in the case of acclimation. 

Here is some hardwood flooring that may need different times for complete acclimation:

Hardwood Flooring TypesAcclimation Time
Unfinished Hardwood Flooring It requires more time to acclimate. As they are polished on the site, they can’t immediately adapt to the moisture content. This is why they may need between 5 to 7 days for acclimation.
Engineered Hardwood FloorIt also needs extra time for acclimation. The adhesives used in engineered hardwood need time to adapt and this can take around 5 to 7 days for acclimation.
Hardwood PlanksIt is made with tropical hardwood and needs more time to acclimate. As these woods stay in completely different weather conditions, they can’t immediately adjust to the new environment. That’s why they need more time than other hardwood floors. 

These are some exceptions while another hardwood flooring can acclimate in 3 days. On the other hand, there are hardwood floors that may need up to 2 weeks to acclimate. 

3 Factors Affecting Hardwood Flooring Acclimation Time: 

Now you have to remember that acclimation time varies for a few reasons. If you want to know why the duration of acclimation varies and how long a particular wood needs to acclimate, learning about these factors may help. 

Though most manufacturers would instruct you about hardwood flooring grade and its acclimation period, you should still know the factors that affect acclimation time for self-consciousness. 

Here are 3 factors that affect hardwood flooring acclimation time: 

1. Wood Species: 

The very reason why hardwood flooring acclimation time varies is the wood species you are using. For instance, a tree growing in a tropical area would require more time to cope with the moisture content in a cold area. Similarly, it would take less time to acclimate when installed in a tropical climate. 

As the growing environment of different woods is different, the acclimation time varies too. If installed in the same condition as its growing environment, hardwood flooring would need very little time (about 3 days) to acclimate.

But when installed in a different condition than where it has been growing, it would take more time to acclimate. To determine the wood species and its growing environment to estimate the acclimation time. 

2. Humidity Level In The Area: 

The humidity level in a particular area is the most crucial thing in determining the acclimation time of the hardwood flooring. This is why measuring the moisture content of the room is very necessary before installing hardwood flooring. If you don’t understand the difference between the moisture content of the flooring and the environment, determining the time can be difficult. 

In areas with high humidity, hardwood flooring would need more time to acclimate. This is because the hardwood would need more time to match the moisture content of the air and reach the equilibrium point.

On the other hand, in low humidity conditions, hardwood flooring would acclimate fast as reaching the equilibrium point would be faster. Therefore, the humidity in the air should be determined to denote the acclimation period. 

3. Lack Of Moisture Regulation: 

If you are living in a condition where the weather fluctuates, you have to have a temperature regulating system. What I mean is to adjust to the changing conditions, the indoor condition should be kept constant. For example, if your room doesn’t have a heating system in winter, the planks may need more time to acclimate

So, when you are acclimating to the hardwood flooring, the moisture in the room should be regulated. If it is too cold, keep an optimum temperature in the room for faster acclimation.

Similarly, in hot weather conditions, keep the room in the normal condition and let the natural moisture do the acclimation. Hence, the moisture in the indoor condition should be regulated for faster acclimation. 

Considerations For Faster Acclimation Of Hardwood Flooring: Be Prepared 

Now if you want to minimize the duration of hardwood flooring acclimation, you can look into some factors. If you consider these factors and take certain steps, you can lessen the acclimation time and also make the process more effective. 

Here are a few considerations that you should take note of for faster and effective hardwood acclimation: 

  • Keep the room enclosed so that the natural room environment is provided for acclimation. 
  • For acclimation, you have to keep the fully finished planks. All the polishing should be done before acclimation. 
  • Construction materials like wet cement, septic pipe, plaster, etc. that are initially should be dry before the acclimation process. 
  • Keep the basement dry before the acclimation process to maintain the normal moisture condition. 
  • The heating and cooling system should be working properly. This determines the indoor condition where the hardwood will be installed. 
  • Keep the indoor humidity consistent. With frequently changing humidity, the equilibrium point is not achieved properly. 

Strictly maintain these factors for faster and effective hardwood flooring acclimation. If you follow these things properly, the flooring would last for a long period as expansion and contraction would not happen due to moisture. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Hardwood Flooring Acclimation:

Why Does Tropical Wood Need More Time To Acclimate? 

Tropical hardwood flooring species need more time than other species to acclimate. This happens for a reason which you should know. 

Tropical hardwoods grow in very unusual weather conditions which are not the same as the normal weather conditions in residential areas. This is the first reason why they need more time to adjust to the humidity.

Besides, the density of tropical wood is high. The content of resin and oil is high in tropical woods. These are two more reasons why acclimation of tropical wood requires more time than other wood types. 

How Can Engineered Hardwood Be Acclimated Fast? 

If you want to acclimate engineered hardwood flooring fast and effectively, you should maintain a few factors before and after installation. I mean, the acclimation environment should match the installation and post-installation environment.

Ideally, you have to maintain the humidity of the flooring between 30 to 50% as this is the optimum temperature for acclimation. However, you have to remember that the humidity should be maintained after the installation too. Otherwise, the hardwood flooring would shrink and expand when the humidity level changes. This happens as the wood is already adapted to a level of humidity.

What Is The Best Time In The Year For Hardwood Flooring Acclimation And Installation? 

If you are planning the hardwood flooring installation carefully, you should install and acclimate it at a certain time of the year. If you do so, the process will be more effective and the result will be long-lasting. 

Ideally, the best time for hardwood flooring acclimation and installation is during the fall. This is the time of the year when the moisture level is optimum; the humidity is neither too much nor too little. When the moisture level is moderate, the acclimation process is faster and effective.

By effective I mean that it is capable of coping with both the summer and winter seasons. However, note that the humidity level should be between 45 to 65% for effective and fast acclimation. 

Final Thoughts: 

Now you have an idea about how long it may take for hardwood flooring to acclimate. As it depends on several factors, it is wise to know the factors and then decide the acclimation time. However, you must always listen to the manufacturer’s recommendation regarding the acclimation duration. 

Therefore, I believe that you would provide enough time for hardwood flooring to acclimate before installation.

Jahidul Alam

Hello dear! This is Jahidul Alam. I am the admin of this Tidy Floor. I have been in the floor cleaning business for the last 20 years. My business is all about ensuring affordable flooring cleaning services for Americans.

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