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A new wood floor will usually need acclimatizing unless its a real engineered wood floor, in which case you absolutely must not acclimatize it. Getting this wrong will create a problem, so learn more about Hygrometers for installation of wooden floors.
If you’re a DIY fan, then look away, or print this article and burn it. Because Im going to upset all of you. A wooden floor installation is not a DIY job, and for all those of you that think it is and are still reading this article, then let me ask you. Do you own a hygrometer? No? Then you shouldn’t be installing a wooden floor. Now I know a lot of people ask if they should acclimatise a new wood floor and some people reading this will have installed a wooden floor themselves and had no issues. They wont have acclimatised it, and they probably didn’t stick to the rules. Well, you were lucky. But it still doesn’t mean you did the job properly, and it doesn’t mean it won’t go wrong. And I’m not talking about whether you just acclimatised your new wood floor or how well you actually fitted it, I’m talking about whether you checked the moisture content of your sub-floor, the moisture content of the wood on arrival to your home or site, the relative air humidity, and whether it actually needed acclimatisation. Boloney? Read on…
In my early days of running Turgon, I made the terrible mistake of listening to ‘Arry and Steve’ who, when I asked them about how much the new wood floor needed to acclimatise, they always came out with the same line ‘Yeahhhh, don’t worry mate, it’ll be sweet’. The only thing that was sweet was the day I fired these incompetent morons for impersonating professional floor fitters. They knew how to bang a couple of boards together, and glue them together to make it look nice, but their lack of understanding of wood nearly landed me in court.
First of all, you don’t need to guess whether a floor needs to acclimatise, it’s a science, and that science includes the use of a professional hygrometer. Now, I could impress you with my dazzling array of knowledge of Hygrometers and wooden floor installations, but the truth is, well, I don’t know THAT much, just enough to know that if one of our fitters ever installed a floor without using a hygrometer, then he would find himself nailed to one. Trust me, it doesn’t happen.
The reason I’m not going to give you any techno babble is because I know you’re not going to buy a £600 hygrometer just to fit your own floor, and really, its too complicated. So, I asked our boffins at Turgon to give me a short simple piece on acclimatisation. I have of course re-written it because quite frankly it just looked like algebra.
ENGINEERED FLOORS – A real engineered 3 layered constructed board should not be acclimatised, and should be fitted immediately after opening the box that it came in. The instructions will normally come in the box. If they don’t, you should call the supplier and check. However, an engineered board is usually delivered in a shrink wrapped box with a moisture content of approx 6%-7%, and due to its construction and stability, should perform well under decent site conditions. Remember that your installer should always check the site conditions with a hygrometer on the day of installation.
MULTILAYERED FLOORS – This is really where it can all go horribly wrong. These products are not truly engineered, as they are simply made from plywood and a single top layer, which means they are not as stable, and the moisture content can vary hugely depending on the factory it was produced in. I can now refer back to ‘Arry & Steve’ because had these two clowns bothered to check the moisture content on arrival on the site where all hell broke loose, they would have found the moisture content of the multi layered product way to high. No problem, just acclimatise it, right ? Wrong. It cant be acclimatised, because during the manufacturing process, the moisture content between the plywood and the top layer wasn’t balanced. So no matter what you do, this product will split and develop fissure cracks.
SOLID FLOORS – These boards always need acclimatisation. How long ? Get a Hygrometer and don’t rely on guess work..
So if two guys called Arry and Steve turn up to fit your floor and they still don’t have a hygrometer, direct them to the nearest circus. Or shoot them.