Notes on Timber Floors


Wood flooring is a hygroscopic material subject to dimensional change as a result of variations in moisture, temperature and humidity in the surrounding environment. This has led to increasing awareness of the need to maintain an environment that is acceptable for wood floors. Wood flooring simply needs to be in equilibrium with the surrounding environment in which it will be installed, at or near normal living conditions. Always account for time of year and geographic location.

Our floors are kiln dried to within 8 and 12% which is the moisture content range that the floor would naturally achieve when installed in an environment which is controlled to stay within a relative humidity range of 40% to 60 % and a temperature range of 15°C to 26°. When the floor is neither gaining nor losing moisture this is known as the equilibrium moisture content (EMC).

Ted Todd recommends that the environment be controlled to stay within these parameters even when the property is unoccupied. If due to the geographical location seasonal variation is outside of these parameters the extra expansion or contraction must be allowed for in the fitting.

NOTE: Not properly controlling your environment may cause excessive expansion, shrinkage, dimensional distortion or structural damage

The point of acclimatising wood flooring before installation is to allow the temperature of the wood to adjust to the installation site’s ―normal living conditions‖, having controlled the humidity conditions and moisture content that will typically be experienced once the structure is occupied.

For site-finished wood flooring – After installation, allow the flooring to stabilize for a period of time before finishing.

The worst-case scenario for installation is one in which wood flooring is stored at the jobsite in an uncontrolled environment especially one that is subject to excessive moisture and humidity. It does no good at all, in fact it is likely harmful to store wood flooring at the jobsite under conditions that don’t reflect those normal environmental conditions. Garages, basements and exterior patios, for example, are not acceptable areas to store wood flooring.