A bit of preparation before installation is complete is the best way to ensure the floorboards don't warp, bend, or otherwise become damaged. Hardwood needs time to acclimate to the temperature and humidity in a home before it's nailed in place. Wood swells or shrinks naturally in an acclimatization response to environmental conditions, but this can lead to warping if the boards are nailed down before they acclimate.
1. Select a Location
The best location to place the hardwood flooring is in the room or rooms where the floor is to be installed. If this isn't possible, then select a room in the house with similar temperature and humidity to the installation location. Do not choose a location with extreme hot or cold temperatures, such as one would find in an unheated garage or a hot, stuffy attic, unless this is where you are planning to install the flooring.
2. Schedule Delivery
The flooring needs to be delivered well in advance of when your installers are scheduled to arrive. Hardwood flooring should be acclimated for several days so that the wood has time to fully adjust to the environmental conditions in your home. Two or three days is likely enough. One way to do this is to have the wood flooring delivered on Friday and to schedule installation for Monday. This way the flooring has the weekend to acclimate.
3. Check the Stacking
Even the best acclimation site can cause problems if the flooring isn't stacked correctly. The floorboards should be stacked flat with space between the stacks to allow air circulation. Avoid stacking bundles crosswise, as the unsupported middles of the spanning bundles may sag and warp. Further, don't stack more than a couple of bundles on top of each other or those in the center may not acclimate properly.
4. Monitor the Environment
Although the goal is to match the environment where the boards are being installed, it is also important to make sure that out-of-the-ordinary conditions aren't affecting acclimatization. If it's been extremely humid in the house due to stormy weather, then you may need to adjust the climate in the home slightly so it better mimics average conditions. Adjusting heating or cooling, or using a room dehumidifier, may be necessary. Your installer can help you determine if any climate assists are needed during acclimation.
Contact a hardwood flooring contractor if you have further questions about acclimatization.