As you purchase your new Old World Timber reclaimed wood floors and/or wall paneling there are a few things you need to know about getting your wood acclimated. Wood is hygroscopic, meaning it is a material that absorbs moisture based upon the environment it ends up in. Therefore, the wood may arrive to your location with a moisture content (MC) that is different than what is required for installation. So, in order for your reclaimed floors or wall paneling to look its best and not become damaged, you will need to allow the wood to acclimate with the surrounding environment. Failure to properly acclimate the wood could produce cupping or warping in the wood from excessive shrinkage or expansion (Wet air expands wood, dry air shrinks wood). This could result in gaps and splits before or after installation which could all lead to aesthetic and structural damage.
Quick Pro Tips
- Tip #1: Allow the wood to acclimate between 3-7 days, depending on your region.
- Tip #2: Break the flooring bundles into small groupings to improve airflow.
- Tip #3: Turn on all HVAC or air systems while the wood acclimates.
- Tip #4: Follow the manufacturer recommendations in order to keep your warranty in effect.
Checklist of what to do:
- Step One: consult with a local licensed professional installer before installation of the flooring/paneling material.
- Step Two: Once you receive your Old World Timber reclaimed wood order you should take moisture readings using a moisture meter to establish the moisture content (MC). Then visually inspect boards for defects from each bundle.
- Step Three: When preparing to receive your reclaimed flooring or wall paneling, remember to check the seasonal variation of wood moisture content for YOUR specific geographical region by consulting with the National Wood Flooring Association. (Insert regional charts here). If you will be installing in an extreme environment, you will need to increase the acclimation time for the wood to reach moisture equilibrium. Again, speak with a local flooring installation expert.
- Step Four: You will need to properly store your Old World Timber order. Both flooring and wall paneling needs to be stored in a clean and dry location with the product still properly wrapped, even if it only for a short time. All products should be stored on a solid flat surface that has proper support. We highly recommend spacing out the bundles of flooring or paneling so that proper air flow can take place. This will also speed up the acclimation process. DO NOT store your reclaimed wood product at the job site under uncontrolled environmental conditions. Ensure the wood is stored in an enclosed building. Take note, a garage or an exterior patio is not an acceptable area to store your wood flooring or wall paneling.
- Step Five: Check the moisture content (MC) upon delivery or have a local professional check it for you. Immediately upon receiving your wood, check the moisture content using a moisture meter. This will help you establish a baseline for the desired level of acclimation. For best accuracy, check the moisture content of multiple boards – to be extra safe you will want to check 40 boards for every 1,000 square feet of flooring. Next, you’ll need to calculate the optimal moisture content. To start, determine the anticipated seasonal change of wood moisture content (MC) for your location. Check these guides: Moisture Content by Region-US and Moisture Content by Region-Canada. Simply divide the low season and high season moisture content. Under unique circumstances you will not need to acclimate the wood if the wood flooring is delivered and recorded at the baseline moisture content for your geographical location and if correct relative humidity conditions are kept. However, if the moisture content of the wood is considerably outside of the desired range of moisture content, it could be extremely hard to acclimate the wood properly. Under these conditions, excessive cupping, bowing, and shrinkage of the wood may appear. Check out this chart for reference.
- Step Six: Ensure the long term environmental systems are running before installation. For example, make certain your HVAC system is running at least 5 days prior to installation at the proper settings for desired temperature and humidity. This allows the humidity in the room to stabilize where your new Old World Timber floors or wall paneling will soon be living. In general, relative humidity in the space should be between 30-50 percent year-round for optimal performance and temperatures should remain between 60° and 80° Fahrenheit. Just like humans, wood reacts best under an ideal range of temperatures and relative humidity. If the humidity or temperature in your space is out of spec, postpone your installation and speak with a local professional. Failing to do so may cause the room to have an improper moisture content that will cause failure. Proper conditions must be kept over the life of the flooring or wall paneling. There are geographic exceptions to these recommendations, so certainly ask a flooring professional and check the product specifications.
*All these are only guidelines and should be complimented with the expertise and guidance of the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) as well as your local professional and expert flooring and wall paneling installer. For more information please consult a licensed professional or consult with the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) prior to installation.