Acclimation is the pre-installation process of letting the flooring materials breathe and become accustomed to the surroundings in which they will spend their life. In most cases carpet, ceramic, porcelain, stone, and residential sheet vinyl do not need to acclimate to their surroundings prior to installation. However, hardwood, laminate, and most vinyl plank do require at least some acclimation to ensure a long and productive life for your floors. How long to acclimate a floor depends on the product, geographic location, projected climate changes, and current temperature and humidity in your space.

HARDWOOD

Engineered and solid hardwood floors are the most sensitive to moisture, temperature and climate changes. Remember, these were once living trees full of water…they will gladly take it on in the form of humidity, not just topical or subfloor moisture. Moisture in the air can cause hardwood to expand, which can cause a multitude of unpleasant results if not acclimated or installed properly. Acclimating all hardwoods is critical to prevent future cupping or buckling of the flooring.

Cartons of the product should be opened up and spread throughout the intended installation areas for the recommended acclimation period allowing the flooring to breathe properly. GOHAUS engineered hardwood floors require far less acclimation times than typical solid hardwood flooring due to the dimensional stability of our products.

Leaving a large enough expansion gap around the perimeter of rooms, at transitions, and where the flooring meets fireplaces and exterior doors will allow for proper expansion of the floor and prevent future buckling at side and end joints. Interior temperature and humidity should always be mild and consistent throughout the life of your hardwood flooring. You may not feel the floor move, but it is constantly moving and the attention to details will keep it beautiful for a very long time.

For proper acclimation times relative to the materials you select, climate, and individual circumstances you should always contact your installation professional. For what indoor temperatures and humidity you will need to maintain, please refer to your manufacturer warranty.

LUXURY VINYL PLANK

Vinyl plank flooring has become extremely popular because of its affordability, versatility and durability, but what has really propelled its rise is the fact that it is extremely moisture resistant. This directly relates to acclimation (or lack thereof). A lot of homeowners, property managers, and business owners have moved from hardwood and laminate to vinyl plank as their preferred choice because of it’s ease and quickness of installation.

Most vinyl plank manufacturers require little-to-no acclimation prior to installation allowing for quick turns on rentals and time sensitive projects. In my professional opinion, if you have the time to acclimate it-do it. Acclimating the flooring overnight while the prep and/or demo is done on the first day can never hurt if there is time allotted. One huge benefit to the minimal expansion and contraction properties of vinyl plank is not having to put transition strips at doorways and as a break in expansive areas. This allows for a free-flowing floor that is prohibitive with laminates and hardwoods.

While all situations may not require one, a very small expansion gap should be left around the perimeter during installation as an extra safety precaution. These gaps can be covered by base, base shoe, or caulked. Once again, depending on the product you select installation method, and individual circumstances, your installation pro should be consulted as part of the process. Always refer to the manufacturer warranty for detailed information on each floor.

To acclimate or not to acclimate? ALWAYS for hardwood and laminate. Each situation is different for vinyl plank, but as I always say…if time permits…just do it.