Engineered hardwood floors offer the most DIYable installation compared to other flooring options. They allow you to install your new floors at your own pace and pleasure, minimizing the need to rely on an outside source or other people’s schedules. Many people opt to install new floors during the summer before family visits or major upcoming holidays.
Most people find more time to spare in the summer, but many of wood’s greatest enemies—humidity, moisture, and intense sunlight—appear during the summertime. Here are some tips for installing hardwood floors in summer to avoid major atmospheric influences.
Monitor and Control Humidity Levels
Humidity levels increase during summer. Rainy evenings paired with warm temperatures create vapor, thickening the air and spreading moisture across every exposed surface. Compared to natural hardwood, engineered wood’s interlocking core and structure produce a stronger moisture resistance. However, wood’s natural composition is still highly susceptible to moisture absorption.
Monitoring and controlling indoor humidity levels minimize the effects of humidity. The less moisture in the atmosphere, the less swelling and cupping your new floors endure. Using a hygrometer or advanced thermostat allows you to track humidity levels. The ideal levels for floor installation range between 30 to 50 percent. Keeping your room cool and well-ventilated decreases humidity levels and creates the best atmosphere and room conditions for installation.
Don’t Skip the Acclimation Process
Acclimation gives your planks time to adjust and react to their new surroundings. Although acclimating wood in the summer means more swelling than usual, it gives you insight into your floor’s max expansion size. When installing wood flooring, a common best practice includes leaving expansion gaps between your planks and the walls, creating a safety zone for expanded floors. Expansion gaps reduce risks of cupping, overlapping planks, and damage. Ideally, letting your engineered floors acclimate for at least 48 hours gives your planks enough time to fully adapt.
Shade the Room and Avoid Direct Sunlight
On top of humidity and moisture, sun bleaching also does a number on wooden floors. Sun damage often appears more evidently in dark brown engineered wood flooring. However, many prefer darker floors for numerous reasons, from aesthetics to their ability to hide dirt and scuff marks.
We get more sunlight during the summer, and the rays are more intense than in other seasons. The long days and stronger UV rays heighten the risk of sun damage, bleaching your wood, and fading pigments. Shading your rooms and keeping your planks out of direct sunlight minimizes sun bleaching. The less exposure to the sun, the less damage occurs.
Installing hardwood floors in the summer offers both advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, it gives you more free time to pace out the project and see the full expansion rate of your planks. On the other hand, it increases exposure risks to moisture, humidity, and sun damage. With these tips and the right installation preparation, summer installations can be a breeze.