Our partners at Maine Traditions and WW Flooring group put together this helpful article about humidity and acclimation of hardwood flooring for us to share with our readers; the information below is crucial to a successful hardwood installation. We encourage everyone to read this and please share with your sales/installation teams!
HUMIDITY & ACCLIMATION
Summer is here & Humidity is up!
All hardwood flooring professionals know that wood is a natural material that absorbs and releases moisture depending on surrounding environmental conditions. The moisture content of any piece of hardwood is affected primarily by two factors- ambient temperature and relative humidity.
Controlling these factors before, during, and after the installation is critical to a successful installation. In most of our market area, relative humidity of 30%-50% at the installation site is ideal for domestic hardwood species produced by Maine Traditions. Ambient temperature should ideally be between 60 and 75 F. If either the temperature or humidity can not be controlled during acclimation, the moisture content within the wood will not be stable, possibly resulting in varying dimensions, cupping, bowing, or even warping. You should also note that the end-grain is even more susceptible to variations in moisture than the core of any given board.
How significantly can dimensions be affected by Humidity?
Lets say you are installing a 5'' Hickory Floor and the wood's Moisture Content on arrival is 7%. (Typical of flooring leaving our controlled warehouse). The Hickory flooring absorbs another 3% moisture during acclimation. The width of the flooring (5'') multiplied by the moisture change (3) multiplied by the coefficient of change in hickory (.00411) = .06165 about a sixteenth of an inch in just one plank!
Hardwood needs to be acclimated using a combination of controlling the jobsite ambient temperature, humidity, and the proper exposure of material to these factors. Installers need to utilize thermometers, relative humidity meters, and proper moisture meters for Hardwood Flooring.
Following these guidelines will help ensure a quality installation with dimensional consistency. Please share this information with your installation teams and make sure they have the proper tools!