Acclimation and Installation

Acclimation and Installation

Acclimating and understanding your new floor before installation…

All wood expands and contracts as the moisture level increases and decreases. This is true with wood flooring as well. Centuries of successfully installed wood floors are evidence these floors are an adequately stable and reasonably easy to maintain option. Sometimes complaints with wood floors are the result of the floor owner not understanding the natural characteristics of hardwood floors. However, proper care, installation and understanding of the characteristics of wood plank flooring can moderate the excessive expansion and contraction of your wood floor. The most common complaint with hardwood flooring is that it cracks, or gaps develop between the planks or that it bows or cups. Following is a partial list of potential causes of excessive expansion or contraction of your wood floor:

A) The flooring not being allowed enough time to properly acclimatize to its environment before being installed.

B) The flooring is installed in a house before the house is properly enclosed from the elements, dried inside and heated to living condition temperatures.

C) The flooring is installed in a freshly painted house or over a subfloor that has too high a moisture content.

D) The flooring was stored outside or in damp environment before installation.

E) Wider planks were not properly fastened to the subfloor. For a successful installation, proper advance care of the flooring, an experienced installer and a moisture meter are a must.

F) Introduction of moisture to the wood such as a leaking pipe, excessive spills, saturation moping or cleaning or anything that introduces moisture to the wood.

G) Absence of a proper vapor barrier being installed under the flooring. (For over concrete slab applications a complete moisture barrier will be needed.)

Acclimation and Installation

Understand the following before you install:

Typically, the subfloor should be within a couple percentage points of the flooring being installed over it. Be sure that any paint on all walls and the subfloor are thoroughly dry and acclimated before installing Western WidePlank® flooring. The flooring is usually kiln died in the 6% to 10% moisture range at manufacture, but immediately begins to adapt to the moisture of its environment. Each building and each area will have different levels of humidity, and sometimes wood flooring can absorb moisture during transport. This is normal. When your Western WidePlank® flooring arrives it should be removed from the bundles and spread around the room it is to be installed in so that it has even air- flow. This will help insure that the flooring has time to adapt to the climate and moisture of that area it is to be installed in before installation. Typically a minimum of 7 to 10 days of time is recommended to allow the wood flooring to acclimate before installing. In very dry desert like climates, or in more humid climates, such as coastal areas, rainy climates, or winter time, up to three weeks may be required for the wood to fully acclimate before being ready to install. A moisture meter should be used to determine when the flooring moisture content has adapted to within a couple percentage points of the building and subfloor before installing. Flooring should be no more than 4% difference than the sub floor moisture reading before installation. Wide plank flooring should be no more than 2% difference than the sub floor moisture reading before installation. Western WidePlank® flooring should not be installed in a new building before it is fully enclosed and the heat thermostatically controlled to stay within standard living temperatures. Nor should Western WidePlank flooring be installed over a subfloor that has not yet fully acclimatized. When installing over a wood subfloor, subfloor should be a proper exterior grade plywood subfloor of at least ¾” thick (1 1/8” is best). If installing over 2×6” or similar plank subfloor, be sure to run flooring perpendicular to the direction of subfloor planks. When nailing, flooring staples or nails should be spaced every 4” – 6” and be long enough to adequately bind to the subfloor. Glue down applications are always the most secure. We recommend Bostiks Best Urethane Wood Flooring Adhesive, as it does not contain water, doubles as a vapor barrier and flexible allowing for the woods natural movement. Follow glue manufactures’ directions. DO NOT USE WATER BASED ADHESIVE under your wood floor! It is recommended that planks 6” and wider be both nailed and glued. It is NOT recommended Western WidePlank flooring be installed over any press board, fiber board, particle or chip board. Always allow ½” gap from each wall to allow for expansion and contraction. Always use flooring vapor barrier that restricts the transfer of moisture but allows the wood to “breath.”

Wood flooring needs additional special care when being installed directly over a concrete slab. To avoid developing possible problems of condensation moisture and the extreme temperature variation between that of the concrete slab and the interior air temperature, the slab must first be cleaned, level and properly cured. Prime and seal the slab, and then install a vapor barrier (6 mil poly film) with cold application mastic. Roll the poly film over the mastic to insure adhesion and pop any bubbles to release the air. Next, quality exterior grade plywood of at least ¾” thick must be fastened to the slab. Fasten plywood to the slab with power- actuated fasteners, securing the center of the panel first, then the edges, using an adequate number of fasteners. Leave ½” between the panels and ¾” space from the walls. You’re now ready to install the flooring over this new subsurface.

Cleaning your new wood floor:

Failure to follow these safe smart installation and care practices over time may result in excessive gapping, cracking or cupping or swelling of the wood flooring. What we provide is stable kiln died T&G wood flooring at its manufacture. Due to the above mentioned variables, Western WidePlank® cannot be responsible for the development of cracks, gaps, cupping, bowing or swelling that may develop after manufacture or install. Adhering to and installing your new wood flooring according to the above accepted wood flooring installation and care standards will allow you to enjoy your beautiful wood floor for generations. There’s really nothing else like the look and feel of a beautiful wood floor. Enjoy!

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