Should Engineered Oak Flooring Be Left To Acclimatise?
Properly acclimatising your oak boards is something we are constantly banging on about here at Peak Oak, but is it important process even for engineered oak flooring?
First it is important to note what exactly acclimatisation is and why it is so important for oak flooring. Acclimatisation is the process where the moisture content of the wood is adjusted to the moisture content of the living conditions of the room. This is achieved by leaving the boards unwrapped in the room, which allows air to pass naturally between the boards, allowing the boards to adjust. Oak boards which are not given time to acclimatise can often experience problems further in the future.
The longer that these boards are left to acclimatise before fitting, the better. For solid oak boards we recommend that they are left for at least 2 weeks prior to fitting. This will give the boards chance to properly acclimatise and adjust to the surroundings. It is worth noting at this point that if you are installing an oak floor into a room which has been newly plastered and is unheated, you should make sure that the room is back to its normal humidity levels before the floor is introduced for acclimatisation.
So what is it about engineered oak flooring that could make you ask does it need to be acclimatised? For a start the construction of an engineered oak board differs from a solid. Rather than being a solid oak piece, like with solid oak flooring, engineered oak boards are made up of a combination of layers. Our unfinished engineered boards have a 6mm top layer of European oak, which is bonded to a base board of 15mm Siberian Birch ply.
The main advantage of engineered oak flooring compared to solid oak flooring is its tolerance to changes in humidity. Traditional solid oak flooring when exposed to changes in humidity, is likely to succumb to movement. The construction of engineered oak means it is much less prone to these changes. This means engineered oak flooring can be used in areas such as the kitchen and bathroom. It also makes it a popular choice when looking to lay an oak floor over the top of an underfloor heating system.
So does this tolerance to humidity simply mean the acclimatisation process can be skipped? In short it is something we do not to recommend. Despite the boards being an engineered board, it is still effectively a natural product. Therefore the longer that these boards are given to acclimatise in the room, the better the final result will be. For our Hakwood engineered oak boards, Hakwood themselves recommend that at least 72 hours are allowed prior to installation. As a way of caution if possible, we always recommend that they are left to acclimatise for as long as is possible.