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Wood floors and radiant heat

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Published
July 10, 2009
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Preparing wood floors for radiant heat

When getting hardwood ready for any floor it's common knowledge to have it sit in the space where it will be installed and let it adapt to the temperature and humidity levels. When asked, I always say wait two weeks before installing the floor. I'm at odds with a GC who says that three days is enough. I know it isnt. How long do you guys recommend?

Joe Bertoldi replies:
After talking to a few hardwood installers, three days was good enough. House was at 68 degrees and the wood was out of the box and separated. Installed three days after being separated. 
 
Jim Patterson replies: 
As a former woodworker, there is no right answer to this question. It depends on the condition of the wood and interior of the home. You need to be sure the space has stabilized - no more drywall compound drying. The best way is to find the ideal moisture content of the wood species (from the manufacturer) and use a moisture meter to check the flooring. 
 
Dave H. replies:
It can be anywhere from three days to two weeks. It depends upon the relative humidity of the season and of the space itself. 

It always comes down to the moisture content of the wood. Ask the wood floor installer if he has one of these tools, if not, may not be a bad investment for your self for future work. 
 
Here's the link http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/items/1UKE2 
 
Hot Rod replies:
Also depends on where the wood comes from. If the wood was stored in a dry climate, like Arizona, and then taken to a humid area, it will actually take on moisture not lose it. 

I remember Mickey Moore of the Oak Flooring Association telling me about a job in coastal Maine that took on so much moisture it pushed the bottom wall sill plate right off the floor as the wood expanded!