The Acclimation of Wood for Flooring Wood Products
The purpose of acclimating wood prior to its use is to allow for the adjustment of the moisture content to normal living conditions. If acclimation is not completed properly, the wood can warp, split, and crack once it has been installed. The temperature and humidity differences between the jobsite and the warehouse can be significant. One of the most susceptible products to these changes is hardwood flooring.
Wood Flooring at the Warehouse
Once the flooring has been milled, it should be stored in a well-ventilated, dry warehouse prior to shipping to job sites. There are some guidelines for the handling and storage of wood flooring at a warehouse that will help prevent many problems later on. These include:
Unloading - Never unload flooring wood products in the rain. It should only be done in dry weather.
Storage - Only store flooring wood in a well-ventilated, enclosed building. It can be stored in the same area of fine millwork. The storage must be dry and clean. There should be no water drainage near where the flooring is stored and there should be good air circulation.
Prevent Condensation - The humidity outside the storage facility can affect the products inside, unless there is enough insulation to prevent condensation.
Protect the Top Pallets - When stacked, the top pallets should be covered with a waterproof covering, such as polyurethane.
Ideal Conditions - The ideal condition for storing flooring wood products is to have a humidity controlled facility. If the humidity is too high, the flooring wood may crack once installed. If the humidity is too low, the flooring may buckle after installation.
Wood Flooring at the Jobsite
Before a delivery of wood arrives at the jobsite, the site should be checked to determine if there is excessive moisture. The flooring wood will absorb moisture if there is high humidity. If the moisture levels at the jobsite are high, the wood should not be delivered. Here are some other tips for the storage of wood flooring at a job site:
Before the Flooring Arrives - The building should be completely enclosed, with all the doors and windows installed. The climate controls should be operating for at least 48 hours. This will allow the humidity inside to be controlled. Moisture content should be checked before installation. All painting and plastering should be done, as this will add more moisture to the environment.
Acclimating the Flooring - Spread the boxes of flooring over the sub floor. It should sit for a minimum of four days before installation begins. If delivery occurred when it was raining, it may take a few more days before the flooring can be installed.
After Installation - Once the flooring is installed, another week should pass before the floor is finished or sanded.
This is one of the most useful pieces of paper to determine if flooring wood is acclimated and ready to install. It provides an evaluation of the jobsite. The general contractor should be notified of any problems that are found during the completion of this Builder’s Checklist.