Hardwood flooring install and care
- All hardwood flooring should acclimate to your homes moisture content 3-10 days BEFORE installation depending on season and conditions this could greatly vary and an EMC chart can be used to find acclimation point (in winter months when the air is drier it is possible to over acclimate 3-5 days could be sufficient ) summer more humid months may take longer and will require air conditioning for best results
- Making sure the subfloor is close to the same moisture content as the flooring is best
- Always use a vapor barrier (15 lb. black paper) under the flooring
- Make sure you allow ample expansion around perimeter of the installed room, usually 3/8’’- ½’’ is sufficient, and your baseboard or shoe mold will cover this crack.
- Always inspect every piece for cosmetic or other defects before nailing it down most pieces with defects can be cut and used in other places. THIS IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE INSTALLER NOT THE MANUFACTURER AT THIS POINT
- If installing wider than 5’’ flooring it may be necessary to GLUE and nail to keep movement at a minimal. Always use appropriate flooring glue that is made for hardwood flooring
- On Hickory or exotics it is important to use nails and not staples for installation
- If spanning the full width of the house start your flooring in the center or close to the center like the edge of the hallway and install both directions (tongues going away from each other) this will cut any expansion over the open area by 50% due to how the nail holds allowing flooring to expand and retract in opposite directions. This is probably the most overlooked installation guideline that could be the more important in a wide coverage area.
- If installing hardwood in the dry winter months and spanning over 16’ width of a room use removable floor spacers at appropriate intervals for expansion in the warmer damp months ahead. Spacers are about a credit card thickness gap and will not be noticeable and can save a lot of headache if you need some expansion room especially on woods like maple and hickory. Some installers use weed eater string and pull it up when section is nailed. Section size depends on room size and other variables.
- ALWAYS keep your homes relative humidity between 30%-55%, higher than this can result in cupping or swelling that could lead to buckling if not resolved quickly. Usually the spring and summer months will run high and the winter months will be drier, so the more controlled environment in your home will lead to a more stable floor. Your basement and crawlspace need to be dry as well.
- If your home has a lot of hardwood flooring try to AVOID leaving your windows opened during a heavy rain, you can trap the moisture in your house which will be absorbed by the wood leading to unwanted expansion
-To clean your floor after finishing use an approved hardwood floor cleaner that is compatible with your finish such as Bona floor cleaner or a light damp mop. It is not necessary to use a wax or oil soap
-If at any time you hear lots of popping or cracking taking place in a room that you are not in, give attention to the humidity and possibly need a dehumidifier momentarily.
- All wood flooring has movement in it especially with the changing of the seasons and that percentage is based on the width (the wider the flooring the greater the movement) all the horror stories that you may have heard about could be avoided if installation steps are followed.