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Flooring Acclimation

What is Acclimation?

Acclimation is the process that prepares new flooring material for its new home. Acclimating flooring adjusts the moisture level of the wood to the moisture level of where it will be installed. Proper acclimation of wood flooring will ensure the stability of the product for years to come. Flooring is considered acclimated once its moisture level no longer fluctuates compared to the room it’s in.

It’s worth the wait to acclimate.

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The same can be said for acclimating new flooring. Acclimating your floor is like purchasing insurance against possible problems down the road.

Do I have to acclimate all flooring?

Any flooring that contains a natural wood product like bamboo, hardwood, or cork can respond to natural temperature and humidity changes in the home environment by expanding or contracting. This is why it’s important to maintain proper expansion space when installing, and why acclimation is a crucial pre-installation step. The longer you can leave planks out to acclimate to their new environment the less chance there is of bigger, more expensive problems later on. Here’s a rundown of various flooring types, whether they require acclimation, for how long, and how to do it.

Acclimation by Floor Type

Solid Fossilized Bamboo and Eucalyptus

General Rule: 5 days (10+ days for extremely humid/dry regions)

Due to Fossilized flooring’s extreme density, it requires the longest acclimation of the bunch. You’ll want to acclimate planks for a minimum of 5 days in the room where you plan to install the flooring. If you live in an especially dry or humid region, we recommend 10 days or longer.

Solid Hardwood Flooring Acclimation Steps:

  1. Place several 2x4s or a wooden pallet on the subfloor in the room where you plan to install the flooring.
  2. Remove planks from their boxes and sticker-stack them on the pallet in alternating directions with one layer going horizontally and the next layer going vertically (think of a hashtag). Continue until the stack reaches 3-4 feet high.
  3. Repeat steps 1-2 if you have additional flooring.
  4. Maintain your home’s climate settings in a normal, comfortable state, and allow the flooring to sit for 5 days or longer if desired.

Tips Solid Hardwood Flooring Acclimation:

  • Remove existing flooring and prep your subfloor for installation beforehand.
  • Plan your installation direction in advance, and place your acclimation stack on the opposite side of the room from where you want to begin laying planks.
  • Pull planks from several different boxes at a time while building your stack. This will keep your plank colors naturally varied.
Acclimating Hardwood Flooring

Watch Solid Flooring Acclimation

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

General Rule: 3 days

Due to engineered flooring’s layered construction, it has a shorter acclimation wait time than solid wood. You’ll want to let engineered planks acclimate for a minimum of 3 days in the room where you plan to install the flooring.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring Acclimation Steps:

  1. Place the flooring cartons in the area where you plan to install.
  2. Cut open the ends of the cartons on both sides. Open up any plastic wrap that may be around the planks.
  3. Maintain your home’s climate settings in a normal, comfortable state, and allow the flooring to sit for 3 days.

Tips for Engineered Hardwood Acclimation:

  • Remove existing flooring and prep your subfloor for installation beforehand.
  • Plan your installation direction in advance, and place your acclimation stack on the opposite side of the room from where you want to begin laying planks.
Engineered Wood Flooring Acclimation Diagram

GeoWood Waterproof SPC Core Hardwood Flooring

General Rule: 1 day

Because GeoWood flooring contains less actual hardwood, it requires very little acclimation. Plan to acclimate for at least 1 day in the area where you plan to install the flooring.

GeoWood Flooring Acclimation Steps:

  1. Place the flooring cartons in the area where you plan to install.
  2. Cut open the ends of the cartons on both sides. Open up any plastic wrap that may be around the planks.
  3. Maintain your home’s climate settings in a normal, comfortable state, and allow the flooring to sit for 1 day.

Tips for GeoWood Hardwood Acclimation:

  • Remove existing flooring and prep your subfloor for installation beforehand.
  • Plan your installation direction in advance, and place your acclimation stack on the opposite side of the room from where you want to begin laying planks.
Open Boxes for Engineered Wood Floor Acclimation

Cali Vinyl Plus Waterproof BPC Core Vinyl Plank Flooring

General Rule: 1-2 days

Because Cali Vinyl Plus contains less wood material, it requires very little acclimation. Plan to acclimate for 1-2 days in the area where you plan to install the flooring.

Cali Vinyl Plus Acclimation Steps:

  1. Place the flooring cartons in the area where you plan to install.
  2. Cut open the ends of the cartons on both sides. Open up any plastic wrap that may be around the planks.
  3. Maintain your home’s climate settings in a normal, comfortable state, and allow the flooring to sit for 1-2 days.

Tips for Cali Vinyl Plus Acclimation:

  • Remove existing flooring and prep your subfloor for installation beforehand.
  • Plan your installation direction in advance, and place your acclimation stack on the opposite side of the room from where you want to begin laying planks.
Vinyl Plank Flooring Acclimation

Cali Vinyl Pro Waterproof SPC Core Vinyl Plank Flooring

General Rule: No Acclimation Needed

Cali Vinyl Pro contains no wood material and therefore requires zero acclimation. Simply open flooring cartons and start installing planks over a clean, flat, dry subfloor.

Cali Cork Flooring

General Rule: 2-3 days

Cali Cork flooring features a very dimensionally stable construction and therefore requires minimal acclimation. Acclimate planks for at least 2-3 days in the area where you plan to install the flooring.

Cali Cork Acclimation Steps:

  1. Place the flooring cartons in the area where you plan to install.
  2. Cut open the ends of the cartons on both sides. Open up any plastic wrap that may be around the planks.
  3. Maintain your home’s climate settings in a normal, comfortable state, and allow the flooring to sit for 2-3 days.

Tips for Cali Cork Acclimation:

  • Remove existing flooring and prep your subfloor for installation beforehand.
  • Plan your installation direction in advance, and place your acclimation stack on the opposite side of the room from where you want to begin laying planks.
Cork Flooring Acclimation Diagram

Flooring Acclimation Frequently Asked Questions

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What happens if I don't acclimate hardwood flooring?

If you install your wood without acclimating it to your room’s environment first, the floor is likely to shift post-installation. Since the wood’s acclimation would take place post-installation, your floor will likely show signs of movement in the form of gaps or creaky sounds.

Do you need to acclimate engineered wood flooring?

Yes, since engineered wood flooring is constructed from natural hardwood it requires acclimation. 3 days of acclimation is recommended for engineered flooring. The planks can remain in the box with the ends cut open for the duration of the acclimation period.

How long should a wood floor acclimate?

Engineered wood flooring materials take approximately 3 days to acclimate and solid hardwood flooring can take anywhere from 5 to 10+ days depending on the humidity/dryness of the region you live.

What is the best time of year to install hardwood floors?

Flooring can be installed year-round; however, regardless of the time of year, you’ll want to acclimate the flooring with your room’s heat or air conditioning set to typical ambient living conditions.

Does hardwood acclimate in box?

Solid hardwood flooring should be acclimated out of the box, in a sticker-stack pattern, elevated from the subfloor with either a 2×4 or pallet. Engineered hardwood flooring can be acclimated in a box.

Why does wood flooring have to acclimate?

Any natural wood can expand and contract based on its environment. Wood flooring requires acclimation prior to installation so that the material has time to adjust to the room’s moisture levels before being installed. This prevents movement post-installation and promotes stability in the floor.

Homeowner Flooring Acclimation Gallery

Use hashtag #accstack or send your acclimation pictures to [email protected]!

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