At JJ Hardwood, our seasoned experts have been installing custom wood flooring for decades. We’ve seen it all, and we mean every type of flooring and restoration project a professional flooring company could be a part of! Many of our clients interested in floor restoration or installing new flooring in their homes want to know the best times of year to undergo a flooring project.
This article will go over some of the ideal conditions for new floor installation and what times of year typically meet those requirements most comfortably for our clients.
New Flooring – Can You Install Hardwood Flooring At Any Time of the Year?
Let’s clear the air here; YES, you can install flooring at the time of year regardless of the season. Homes today have sophisticated HVAC systems capable of controlling the temperature of the home and the levels of humidity as well.
Humidity levels are the most impactful variable when installing hardwood floors, so if a home has humidity control, the time of year is a non-issue. If a home doesn’t have humidity control, it’s still optional to install flooring at any time of year, but considerations need to be taken to account for the abundance of, or lack of, humidity and how the wood will change over seasons.
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Wood Moves for Two Reasons
There’s a motto we live by here at JJ Hardwood, and that is wood moves for two reasons: the abundance of or lack of humidity. Humidity levels can cause wood to expand or contract, thus manipulating how the hardwood settles in the home.
Here are some of the ways humidity levels can affect hardwood flooring:
Hardwood Flooring During the Dry Seasons
During the colder months of the year, especially in Greater Boston and all of New England, homeowners will run indoor heating systems that tend to dry out the air. When wood loses moisture from this indoor dry air, it can affect the flooring.
In some of the most extreme cases, old hardwood flooring that has not been properly treated and exposed to very dry conditions for extended periods can split, crack, and splinter at the ends.
More commonly, something called “gapping” can happen when the humidity level is relatively dry. Gapping is when the wood planks shrink, and there is a thin gap between the planks, which under nominal humidity levels, are not there. Gapping is normal, but experienced hardwood flooring crews will take this into account when installing flooring.
Hardwood Flooring During the Humid Seasons
During the hotter and more humid months of the year, hardwood flooring will absorb moisture from the air, which causes it to expand and swell. The expansion of the boards can cause them to warp.
Floor planks can create excess pressure when they absorb humidity, forcing boards to adjust to relieve the pressure. Unfortunately, the boards relieve pressure amongst themselves by cupping or crowing. Cupping is when the planks sink in the center, and the edges rise on each side; crowning is the opposite, when the planks bow up in the middle and edges remain lower on the sides. Either situation is not ideal, but crews will accommodate all conditions when installing the hardwood flooring to keep these problems manageable and minimal.
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When Is the Best Time of Year to Install Flooring?
The best times of year are usually the shoulder seasons for installing custom wood floors. The spring and the fall are the most optimal seasons flooring projects. The main reason is the relative humidity levels are around 35%, which is as good as it gets for any project.
April, May, and early June are ideal spring months to do a new installation, while late September, October, and early November are ideal for fall installations.
We always like to suggest to our clients that we coordinate an installation with school vacations, holidays, or trips they’re taking so we can get in and out! They can arrive home to a beautiful new hardwood floor. Does it get any better than that!?