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Denver and Boulder Colorado Hardwood Flooring Installation

Acclimating Hardwood

When planning your hardwood flooring project, it is important to make sure that you allow enough time for the wood flooring to properly acclimate in the space prior to the installation.

Hardwood flooring expands and contracts based on relative humidity. Many floor failures are due to installers not acclimating the flooring prior to installation, either because they are cutting corners, or giving in to customer demands for completion dates. That is really unfortunate, as it is an easily preventable problem!

What is Hardwood Acclimation?

Acclimation is the process by which the moisture content of the hardwood flooring is brought to the same level as the moisture content of the room it will be installed in. This process requires that the wood flooring materials sit in the space where they will be installed, while the building is kept at its normal temperature and humidity level.

For example, if the location will normally be kept at 72 degrees with a whole house humidifier running, then the house should be heated (or cooled) to about 72 degrees and the humidifier should be running while the wood is acclimating.

This is a very important step before installing a new hardwood floor. All wood flooring expands and contracts based on humidity levels. When temperature and humidity changes, wood moves.

In general, wood is most dimensionally stable at around 30% moisture content. When it's below or above that, it can fail, causing gaps between boards, or buckling and cracking of the boards. Movement of the boards during expansion and contraction can also cause staples or nails to loosen, resulting in squeaks in the floor.

The only real way to tell if a wood is properly acclimated is to use a moisture meter. This probably isn't a practical tool for the average homeowner but any professional installer will carry a quality moisture meter and always check the moisture content of his material before an installation begins.


Denver and Boulder Colorado's Alpine Flooring takes great pride and care in acclimating your hardwood floors prior to installation.

Just give us a call at: 303-884-8020