Hardwood Flooring + Beating My Head Against the Wall

dakota01August 31, 2010

I need a straight answer - my new home is on a slab with radiant (water) heat. 85% of the flooring will be engineered hardwood. There is a vapior barrier below the slab.

One flooring company said to run heat system before install and also to acclimate the wood. The other company says there is no need to do that. The 2nd company is 2K less for the flooring than the other company.

Naturally, I would like to save some $$ here, but I want the job done RIGHT..

From what I have read - you should always run the heat for a good week, and also acclimate the wood before install.

What is the right answer? What do the flooring manufacturers recommend? I am in PA so we do have temperature highs and lows. Today,it's 91 w/ 100% humidity.

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I'd want the manufacturer to have said no acclimation necessary beforehand. (If it's a popular 'brand' of wood you might be able to find the manufacturer's install directions on their Website and see if there's anything magic and special about that wood such that it doesn't need acclimation.)

*All this said, I am not a doctor.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 12:04AM
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The mfg. is Shaw and I did go to their installation recommendations and turning on the radiant heat is required, acclimating for a short time period is required, etc.etc.

I talked to the builder about this and he said, he's not had a problem in the past and that it will be on the flooring company (installer) to warranty the job/product. That I should not worry about it..They will stand behind it.

My comment was - Ok, so 2 yrs from now my floors starting popping up - and need replaced. Do you really think I want to live thru that MESS?????

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 9:29AM
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Well, we're getting 3/4" solids instead of engineered (at least that's the current plan) ... and the old-school wood floor installer I like best recommended something like 3 weeks of acclimation because we're in a somewhat humid niche of California .... but the job estimator from a major renovation/restoration company that Allstate sent out said four or five weeks even.

You may be getting a straight answer from the installers who've had no problem before ... BUT it's certainly not by the book and this is not the kind of thing where I'd personally want to deviate from the book. (So many other things are important too like how good the installers are at lining things up and making the right decisions about where pieces of what length look best etc.)

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 10:46AM
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we always use a moisture meter on the hardwood and the sub floor. They need to be within 5% of each other. For instance our floor we just put down was between 5.8% and 6.5% moisture and the subfloor was between 8.25 AND 9.1%. we still let the floor acclimate for a week but wasn't really necessary. We live in New Hampshire with heat and humidity in the summer and dry and cold in the winter.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 8:03PM
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I talked to the builder about this and he said, he's not had a problem in the past and that it will be on the flooring company (installer) to warranty the job/product. That I should not worry about it..They will stand behind it.

Sounds like HE won't worry about it anyway.

You should absolutely run your mechanicals for a while to bring the moisture down in the house. And then bring the wood in to acclimate for as long as it takes -- could be a week, could be three. Is it a new slab? They give off moisture for a long time. I wouldn't rush this, because as you say, regardless of who has to warranty the job, YOU will be inconvenienced greatly if it needs replacing.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 10:40AM
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Most builders are too cheap to turn on the heat as its their dime during the building stage. Make him do it and KEEP IT ON from that point on. Too many turn it right back off after installation and the fun begins.
The safest method is to seal the concrete with an epoxy sealer made for that purpose. With a good engineered product acclimation is not really needed but covers the manufacturers interest.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 9:56AM
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Here is an article on our blog written by our sales Daniel Wing. Hope this will help.

Here is a link that might be useful: Radiant Heat and Hardwood Flooring

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 5:06PM
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Thanks for the link and suggestions.

I talked to the builder today, and told him that the radiant heat MUST BE TURNED ON - NOW....

I dont' care what the flooring store says- I want to follow the mfgs. recommendations as closely as possible.

I spoke with the other flooring store and he said - if they dont' put the heat on - he doesn't even want the job!

Hopefully, I will get fully dried concrete once the heat is put on and I can do another calcium chloride test.

The slab has been poured since March, so it has had some time to cure and dry out on it's own.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 11:45AM
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