There are a few essential steps that can’t be skipped when you’re installing new hardwood floors in your California home. And perhaps the most important thing you’ll need to do with hardwood is let it acclimate before installation.

The process is what it sounds like: hardwood must adjust to the moisture content and environment of your home. Without proper acclimation, your floor’s planks could shrink, expand, distort, or even be damaged.

If you’re eager to get your new floor installed, you might be wondering how long the acclimation process takes. The good news? It’s not as bad as you think.

First, Figure Out Your Home’s Ideal Settings

Chances are you keep your home comfortable year-round, ideally in the 60-80 degree (F) range, and you probably also have moisture control to help keep humidity reasonable for those inside. When you know what your ideal numbers are, you can plan for the right acclimation. Make sure any heating or cooling systems are on for the week leading up to the delivery of your new flooring so that it will acclimate to your usual living conditions.

Next, Figure Out Your Wood’s Moisture Content

Your goal is to have wood flooring that doesn’t gain or lose moisture because of your home’s environment. Your floor installation team will help measure the wood’s current moisture content upon delivery so that it can be measured to achieve equilibrium.

Finally, It’s Acclimation Time

You’ll ideally want to give your hardwood floor at least three days to acclimate to the new environment. Break down packages and shipments so that all planks have access to circulating air.

However, if your new wood floor is being finished on-site, expect your acclimation time to be closer to a week. Engineered flooring can also take longer to acclimate depending on the types of adhesives and finishes used.

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