If you are getting hardwood installed your contractor might have mentioned an acclimation period for your hardwood. Hardwood can shrink or expand based on the humidity in the area it is. When we talk about the wood “moving” or “gapping” we are referring to the woods ability to contract and expand. When your wood has a high moisture content it will expand and when it has low moisture content it will contract. Wood can expand and contract a pretty significant amount. This is is why hardwood must be acclimated.
The acclimation process:
- Hardwood is delivered
- 1-2 weeks the wood must be in the home/office it will be installed
- Wood can be installed after acclimation period
With the proper acclimation period of 1-2 weeks it can contract or expand to the houses humidity. The reason the wood must acclimate to your specific house or office is that every home and office has a different moisture reading. Ventilation, cleaning, washing hands, showers and humidifiers can all affect your moisture reading. The warehouse you bought your wood has a perfectly controlled atmosphere for the most part (if your wood comes from a reputable distributor) the moisture in this area might should be around 8% in Boise, Idaho. Your house will have up to a 30% difference compared to a controlled environment. This is why acclimation of 1-2 weeks will let the wood adapt to its surroundings and when installed keep tight joints and gaps will be less likely to appear. Please note acclimation does not mean you will not see gaps in the wood from season to season in your home. Wood can gap based on extreme weather conditions.