Let me tell you a little hardwood bedtime story.

For years, Mr. & Mrs. Homeowners saved their hard-earned money. They Planned, Dreamed and Researched the best types of wood flooring. The one hardwood floor that would resist their dog’s drag races, the kid’s war zone and weekend parties. Since their house has a crawl space as foundation they opted to go with a solid prefinished floor.

Bob, their highly recommended general contractor had the material picked out and a team of sub-contractors ready to go on the exact date agreed upon. At 8:00am sharp the contractors showed up with the material and got to work. The day went smoothly, the team was respectful, clean and did a great job to Mr. & Mrs. Homeowners eyes.

About 4 months went by and while cooking dinner, Mrs. Homeowner notices a few waves on the new floor. Another two week went by and now the so-called waves are all over their home. Bob sends the contractors over and they cannot tell what happened. They end up changing a few of the worse boards here and there but, there’s still a lot of waves all over the place and what once was a beautiful floor, now looks like an ocean of speed bumps.

That definitely sounds more like a horror movie, right?

Unfortunately, that’s actually a reality for an increasing number of homeowners across Atlanta. Every day I speak to people who had a similar situation happen to them and it never crossed their minds how easily their beautiful hardwood floors could be ruined by moisture.

Before a hardwood floor is installed, the wood must be “acclimated” to the temperature and humidity of the space where it will be installed. This means it must be stored inside your home or building and allowed to either lose or gain moisture to the surrounding air until it reaches its equilibrium moisture content (EMC). This process is vital for a successful installation and should never be avoided.

Just like humans, wood is most comfortable within an ideal range of temperatures and relative humidity. In general, relative humidity should be between 30% and 50% humidity and temperatures should be kept between 60° and 80° Fahrenheit. Also known as normal living conditions.

Any true professional should know how to assist you with the acclimation process and keeping track of moisture content levels in the specified manufacture recommendations of your wood floor. So when time comes, and you are ready for your next hardwood floor to be properly installed keep the following in mind:

  • Follow specific manufacturer recommendations for your new floor.
  • Hardwood floors must always be acclimated to their environment.
  • Your home’s ideal conditions must be between 30% and 50% Relative humidity and temperatures should be kept between 60° and 80° Fahrenheit.
  • Rushing the acclimation process could be the difference from an elegant, warm floor and a total nightmare.
  • Hire a professional, ALWAYS.

Hugo.

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