Pre-Installation Guidelines for Wood Flooring
Before You Start:
- Installing wood flooring should be one of the last jobs of any construction project. The building must be completely enclosed with all outside windows and doors in place. Evaluate the site to make sure the flooring will not be exposed to extremes of humidity or moisture. Interior environmental conditions should be near the average for the geographic area. Always follow local building codes.
- Be sure you are installing your solid plank flooring on or above grade level. We do not recommend installing solid wood flooring below grade. A flooring level is considered to be below grade where soil is present along any perimeter wall and is more than 3 inches above the installed wood flooring level. Ground should be sloped away from the house for proper drainage.
Acclimating Your Flooring:
- It is very important to acclimate the wood to the conditions the floor is going to live in year round. If you are installing in the summer, you should have the space air conditioned to an acceptable relative humidity level between 30-50 percent. If you don’t have air conditioning, temporary window units may be needed. If installing during the winter months, the heat should be on inside the home to at least 65 degrees. Your installer will make the call on how long the wood is to acclimate, based on the location and humidity.
- Once the conditions in the home are acceptable for the acclimation process, the wood can be delivered and stacked in piles inside the home. Piles should be composed of one layer of sticks, one layer of boards, one layer of sticks, and so on, to allow the air to move freely between the planks and to bring the moisture content in line with the subfloor. We will send instructions for acclimation with your floor; be sure to share them with your installer. Generally, one week of acclimation is advised, but it may take less or more time, depending on your humidity levels. We can provide acclimation sticks with your order for four cents a square foot. Be sure to leave space between the edges of the planks when stacking them in the home, as this will help expedite acclimation.
- We work with the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) to give you the most up to date installation instructions in the industry, whether your floor is going over concrete, radiant heat, or a wood subfloor. Our NWFA trained flooring consultants are happy to answer any questions you may have. Detailed installation instructions are sent to all customers.
- As a general rule, keep in mind that 3 to 5 inch wide planks need only be blind nailed, which helps keep your install costs in check. Six inch and wider planks require either top nails, screws, or glue in addition to blind nailing, which can add $1 or more per square foot in labor/material costs. If you are on a tight budget, five inch width planks are the fastest and least expensive to install.
Looking for more detailed installation guidelines? Call 1-800-928-9602 or email us to request a complimentary copy.