Does Hardwood Flooring Need to Be Acclimated? The Answer is a Resounding Yes!

Does Hardwood Flooring Need to Be Acclimated? The Answer is a Resounding Yes!

Hardwood flooring adds timeless beauty and warmth to any home. However, to ensure a flawless installation and long-lasting performance, there's one crucial step you can't afford to skip: acclimation. Let's explore what acclimation is, why it's essential for hardwood, and how to do it right.

What is Acclimation?

Acclimation is the process of allowing wood flooring to adjust to the temperature and humidity levels of the environment where it will be installed. Wood is a natural material that expands and contracts in response to changes in its surroundings. Failing to acclimate the wood properly can lead to problems after installation.

Why is Acclimation Important for Hardwood Flooring?

  • Prevents warping and cupping: If wood flooring is installed with a moisture content too far outside the normal range for your environment, it can warp, cup, or buckle.
  • Minimizes gaps: Acclimation helps minimize gaps that can form between the boards as the wood adjusts to the indoor environment.
  • Ensures long-lasting beauty: Proper acclimation helps ensure your hardwood floors remain stable, beautiful, and problem-free for years to come.

How to Acclimate Hardwood Flooring

  1. Check moisture content: Use a moisture meter to measure the moisture content of your hardwood flooring and the subfloor. Ideally, these readings should be within 2-4% of each other.
  2. Store in the installation area: Remove the packaging and store the hardwood flooring in the room where it will be installed for the recommended acclimation period (this can vary depending on the wood type and manufacturer instructions).
  3. Allow for airflow: Stack the boards with spacers between them to allow for airflow on all sides.

Important Things to Remember

  • Acclimation time: The length of required acclimation time will vary depending on the species of wood, the thickness of the boards, and the climate you live in. It's best to consult with a flooring expert or refer to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Don't rush: Do not install hardwood flooring before it has fully acclimated. Even if the project is on a tight schedule, the time invested in acclimation will save you from headaches and costly repairs later.
  • Acclimate all wood products: This applies to any solid wood flooring, even pre-finished. Engineered wood flooring generally requires less acclimation time, but it's always good to check with the manufacturer.

Seeking Professional Help


If you're unsure of the acclimation process or want to ensure the best possible installation of your beautiful hardwood floors, consider consulting professionals like those at Floor Coverings International®. They can offer expert advice.