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Industrial Maderera Copeland

 


Acclimatizing
 
Wood is a natural product which is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs and gives off moisture, which causes the wood to expand or shrink depending on the moisture content of the air and surfaces the wood comes in contact with.  For this reason the moisture content of not only the wood but of all surfaces around the floor and the air in the area where the flooring is to be installed has to be regulated.  Moisture content of wood flooring is measured with a moisture meter.  These are available from Delmhorst Instrument Co. (800-222-0638) or Wagner Electronic Products Inc. (800-585-7609).

Our flooring is dried to 6% to 8% moisture content.  According to NOFMA specifications, this figure may be higher or lower by 5%, so moisture content must always be checked before installation and compared with surfaces in the area where the flooring is to be installed.  Installers need to understand the dynamics of moisture and wood and make educated judgments about when and how much acclimatizing is required.  This could be around one week or longer, depending on moisture conditions.

Once the flooring has been installed the least movement of the wood will occur when the interior environment is controlled to stay within a relative humidity range of 30 to 50 percent and a temperature range 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  Using an air conditioner and humidifier this range can quite easily be maintained.

The chart below indicates the moisture content wood will likely have at any given combination of temperature and humidity. Note that equilibrium moisture contents in the recommended temperature/humidity range (shaded area) coincide with the 6 to 9 percent range within which most hardwood flooring is manufactured. Although some movement can be expected even between 6 and 9 percent, wood can expand and shrink dramatically outside that range.

Moisture content of wood at various temperatures and relative humidity readings.
Temperature (°Fahrenheit)

30°F 1.4 2.6 3.7 4.6 5.5 6.3 7.1 7.9 8.7 9.5 10.4 11.3 12.4 13.5 14.9
40 1.4 2.6 3.7 4.6 5.5 6.3 7.1 7.9 8.7 9.5 10.4 11.3 12.4 13.5 14.9
50 1.4 2.6 3.7 4.6 5.5 6.3 7.1 7.9 8.7 9.5 10.4 11.3 12.4 13.5 14.9
60 1.3 2.5 3.6 4.6 5.4 6.2 7.0 7.8 8.6 9.4 10.2 11.1 12.1 13.3 14.6
70 1.3 2.5 3.5 4.5 5.4 6.2 6.9 7.7 8.5 9.2 10.1 11.0 12.0 13.1 14.4
80 1.3 2.4 3.5 4.4 5.3 6.1 6.8 7.6 8.3 9.1 9.9 10.8 11.7 12.9 14.2
90 1.2 2.3 3.4 4.3 5.1 5.9 6.7 7.4 8.1 8.9 9.7 10.5 11.5 12.6 13.9
100 1.2 2.3 3.3 4.2 5.0 5.8 6.5 7.2 7.9 8.7 9.5 10.3 11.2 12.3 13.6
 
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
40%
45%
50%
55%
60%
65%
70%
75%

Relative Humidity
30°F 16.5 18.5 21.0 24.3 26.9
40 16.5 18.5 21.0 24.3 26.9
50 16.5 18.5 21.0 24.3 26.9
60 16.2 18.2 20.7 24.1 26.8
70 16.0 17.9 20.5 23.9 26.6
80 15.7 17.7 20.2 23.6 26.3
90 15.4 17.3 19.8 23.3 26.0
100 15.1 17.0 19.5 22.9 25.6
 
80%
85%
90%
95%
98%

Charts taken from Wood Handbook: Wood as an Engineering Material, (Agriculture Handbook 72), Forest Products Laboratory, U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Acclimatization procedure

Find out the moisture content for flooring installations in your area of the country.  You can do so by contacting us, NOFMA or NWFA.  Once you have this range you need to measure the moisture content of the hardwood flooring and acclimatize accordingly.  If the flooring is dryer or wetter than the range specified for your area you need to get it within that range by exposing the wood to the air in the room where the flooring is to be installed.

When the packs of wood arrive at the jobsite the humidity and temperature must already be at the required settings.  The flooring must be removed from its packaging material and in some way exposed to the surrounding air.  This can be done by placing the flooring on stickers, long strips of wood about 1" wide and 1/2" thick.  These are spaced about 12" apart and the flooring is laid across them.  As flooring is usually random length this is not the easiest method.  Laying the flooring boards against a wall so that they have air circulating all around the board is an effective way to acclimatize the wood.  See picture below.  After a day or two the moisture content must be checked to see how the wood is reacting.  Once the specified moisture content is reached the wood is ready for installation in the area where it was acclimatized.

Flooring stacked with wooden stickers in between to get air in contact with all surfaces of the flooring.


This photo shows 3' long Gingerwood flooring being acclimatized.  The same can be done with random length flooring.

 

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