Yes, solid hardwood flooring requires acclimation. Engineered wood flooring might, depending on installation type and manufacturer requirements.
What is acclimation?
This is a process of leaving unopened boxes or laying the planks on the floor side-by-side in the room in which it's to be installed for three to five days before placement. The idea is to give the wood a chance to adjust to its new surroundings and bring the room's moisture level up. Paint, or anything wet, should be done and dry before the floors arrive.
While engineered wood's significant benefit is that it's more stable, it is often installed as a floating floor, hovering over the subfloor. In that case, the manufacturer wants the installer to be sure that no expansion or contraction will occur. That would create an unbalanced, unstable surface. Be sure to check your warranty carefully for installation instructions.
Also, be sure the room is climate controlled to keep the moisture levels between 35-60%. If the room is sweltering one day, the product will see that as its average moisture level expands, adjust to it, and then shrinks when the room returns to normal. The opposite will happen if you blast the air conditioner. If you do not have a climate controller, talk to us, and we'll suggest alternatives.
What happens if I don’t acclimate?
The floor can warp, cup, or crown. Cupping is when the edges turn up, giving it a sort of concave appearance. Crowning is when the center is raised, with the planks trying to find room. Warping is considered structural damage and unrepairable. Many installers say cupping and crowning account for most hardwood damage.
We are a hardwood flooring company and repair is one of our specialties. To learn more about that, our other services and our extensive inventory come into Heritage Hardwood Floors in Plano, TX, especially if your home or business is in or around: McKinney, Allen, and Frisco. Be sure to ask about our free quotes.