How do I acclimate wood flooring to my home?

Getting to know the details of your flooring project is a great way to insure the best results and a lifetime of enjoyment for your wood floor.  There are many questions that we can help you with. One that is often overlooked by new homeowners is how to acclimate your wood floor to the ambient environment of your home.  We asked the experts:  “Do I need to acclimate my wood floor to my house?”  Well the answer may surprise you! 

Do I need to acclimate my wood floor to my home?  

The wood guru says “Yes!”: “After you have received your order from us, there are a few more steps to getting the best results when installing your wood flooring.” says resident wood guru Richard Woods, CEO of Albany Woodworks.  “Most kiln-dried wood that is not acclimated starts at 6-8% moisture content. This means the acclimation process is an important step.  You are preventing the wood from growing in place.”  

For best results:  It is important to have climate control in place before acclimating your wood floor to your home.  There is not a hard and fast rule, everything depend on your specific climate.  You need to have an idea of the moisture content of the wood flooring and of the wood in the surrounding environment.  Whether your climate control is heating and cooling, or paired with a radiant heat system installed beneath the floorboards, this is your first step.  

The kiln-drying process

Kiln-dried flooring: We take pride in our time-tested, kiln-drying system which takes most of the guesswork out for you.  We slow dry our lumber to a guaranteed moisture content of 10% or less, ideal for most climates.  We then bundle and store the wood, ensuring it is protected from the damage rain and sun can cause if left unchecked. 

There are two types of kiln-drying: One method of kiln-drying is where you add heat through steam in a climate-controlled system.  The other method is dehumidification.  This method is where you remove moisture by taking it out of the air that surrounds the lumber.  This slowly dries the lumber from the outside in.  Most commercial kilns are the heat and steam type.  By our standards, proper kiln drying requires months of air-drying first.  We sticker the wood with thin sticks of wood in between the wood bundles which allows for good air circulation.  

Two good reasons to choose kiln-dried wood: If you don’t have slow-dried reclaimed wood flooring, the next best thing is kiln-dried wood flooring.  Kiln-dried flooring has two main benefits:

  • kiln-drying lowers the moisture content of your wood flooring
  • the kiln-drying process get rid of bugs such as powder post beetles

We believe in the time-tested methods of our reclaiming process, and the results are clear.  Completely air-dried wood flooring is the most stable.  But no-one with new lumber is going to take the time to do that.  But it is the most important for quality wood flooring to be dried slowly, whether it is air-dried or in the kiln-drying process.  The more time you can spend on this step the better, and it cannot be rushed if you care about the quality of your wood flooring.  This is an important step where we really take our time, and it shows in the resulting beauty and durability of our product.  

The Wood Guru: Helpful tips for first-time flooring buyers

Offering a wealth of experience for your project, CEO Richard Woods is our resident Wood Guru.  Since 1976, his company Albany Woodworks has offered quality reclaimed building materials and other specialty woods.  We are available to make the best recommendation for your flooring project or answer any questions you may have along the way. 

  • Quality reclaimed wood flooring is a great place to start
  • Understand what a good fitting tongue and groove looks like
  • Good milling is a big factor for the lifespan of your flooring 

We offer a wonderful selection of reclaimed engineered and solid wood flooring.  Once you have a chosen a wood flooring, there are many more options available to customize the look and feel of your project.  Our custom mill-shop can provide additional products for you such as matching wood stairs, custom wood doors, and rustic pine beams in lengths up to thirty feet.    


First time is the charm with Albany Woodworks flooring

Our Guarantee: A good thing about working with our products is the quality guarantee.  We provide detailed grade descriptions of our wood products with sizes, pricing, and all the facts you want to know before ordering through our digital catalog. We deliver one hundred percent usable materials which will arrive in good condition at your job site via insured freight services. Visit our page Key Terms for the First Time Flooring Buyer for more guidance on wood terms you may hear in the wood buying process.

The benefits of reclaimed lumber: Reclaimed wood has several desirable qualities that make it a great alternative to new green lumber.  Our reclaimed wood has a history that begins in the original virgin forests of the southern United States gulf-coast.  Spanning from south-east Texas to the southern tip of Florida these forests housed trees that pierced the sky. Two types of lumber were used for most buildings that pre-date the 1900’s.  Longleaf pine and Tidewater cypress grew well in the humid environment of the Gulf of Mexico coastline. 

Choosing the best wood for your project: Longleaf pine is easily identified by it’s long needles if you can find the trees.  They are the longest living of all southern yellow pines, with a lifespan that can last 300 years or more.  Producing some of the highest quality wood of all North American pines trees. Growth rings are thin and tightly spaced. With a high percentage of durable and long-lasting heartwood which makes our reclaimed pine ideal for flooring. 

Worthy of careful salvage and recycling is white and red oak. Our craftsmen then take this heirloom material and create reclaimed antique flooring and matching stairs.  Slow dried for hundreds of years, in a vintage building creates stability, durability and natural patina which can only be achieved by reclaimed pine, cypress, and oak. 

No new growth product can compare to the superior quality of our reclaimed pine, cypress, and oak.  The value of reclaimed pine, cypress, and oak is enhanced by the fact that it is a 100% recycled product, adding to the quality of life for you and your family. Conservation of our natural resources is a responsibility that we all share.

How long do I need to acclimate my wood flooring?

Not as long as you may think: Generally 10 days is an ample amount of time if you have climate control in place and the wood flooring is stored indoors.  Some woods are already really stable and do not require acclimation, such as heart pine from Albany Woodworks.  For all other wood types, we are happy to recommend the ideal moisture content for the ambient environment in your home.  

Shrinkage and swelling are common issues: If a floorboard dries in place, there will be separation between that board and the boards on either side.  This is called shrinkage.  These spaces between boards will continue to widen as the flooring dries.  There are a few spot fixes you can do, such as using a durable wood putty and some careful light sanding.  But the best way to prevent the possibly of separation is to treat them at the source.     

When a flooring product is installed with new green wood or wet wood, there can be issues.  Same with wood that hasn’t gone through the correct drying process.  Wood floorboards that display the signs of shrinkage are easy to spot, but not easy to fix after installation.  So choosing a flooring manufacturer that guarantees moisture content is a good idea.  It may save you the cost of having to replace a warped wood floor down the road. 

Swelling is another common issue that can arise for a wood floor that has not been properly acclimated to the installation site.  This is when wood flooring arrives that is too dry for the ambient environment.  Signs of swelling are raised edges of boards that can often cause overlap and an uneven floor surface.  Tongue and groove flooring can help minimize the appearance of swelling floorboards.  But your best option is to ask advice from your flooring provider to properly acclimate your flooring to your home.

The Basics: Acclimating your wood floor 101

Wet wood is no good: Our reclaimed heart pine is naturally stable and has dried in our warehouses even before the kiln-drying process begins.  But not all heart pine is created equal. Some lumber providers are not as careful and can ship wood that is too wet.  This can cause issues down the road when a installed wood floor starts to warp and shrink. This can leave separation between the boards.  Save the homeowner hassle caused by wet wood and ask for wood that has a guaranteed moisture content.  

Rain can ruin best laid plans: Leaving your flooring out in the elements uncovered is a costly mistake. If you receive your order of dried wood flooring and leave it out in the rain uncovered while it is awaiting installation, it may seem harmless at first but can lead to big problems down the road.  It is preferable to store your wood lumber inside of the domicile or in another climate controlled area on the property.  

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