When your flooring is delivered/collected it needs to be taken into the room where it will be installed, the room will need to be at ‘normal living conditions’ for at least 48 hours before, and remain so until 48 hours prior to installation which is when any underfloor heating present much be switched off. ‘Normal Living Conditions’ can be defined as a Temperature between 18-24°C and humidity between 45-50%.

It is important that the flooring is stored correctly to stop any sharp rise or fall in the humidity of the wood, which can have an adverse effect later on. The wood should be stored horizontally and out of it’s packaging in several small stacks rather than one larger stack. The idea here is to acclimatize the flooring to the room in which it will be going, it is important to keep the planks directly away from the floor either with runners or small battens so air can circulate.

Wooden flooring must never be stored outside, in a garage, on a concrete or cement floor, or anywhere with damp or cold conditions.

When unpacking the flooring from its boxes, look at every board, and inspect for any obvious damage that may have occurred in transport or the manufacturing process. It is also essential that you take a moisture reading both when you unpack the flooring, and at regular intervals up until the time the flooring is laid, this will ensure that the correct moisture levels are being reached, and that an excess in moisture has not occurred which could affect the boards.

If you find that moisture levels are significantly higher or lower than is acceptable, a humidifier or dehumidifier can be used to balance levels. If wooden flooring is going into a new build or full refurbishment all windows and doors must be installed and sealed and all ‘wet trades’  must be finished with the appropriate drying times adhered to. Before any wood flooring installation always check and re-check moisture readings, ensure they are at the required levels, a maximum of 4%, and where necessary a damp proof membrane (DPM) can be installed.

If installing wooden flooring on a ground floor it is advisable to use a DPM even when the subfloor moisture reading is below 4%. It is not recommended that any wooden flooring is installed below ground level, due to the potential of excessive moisture levels, although with proper planning and preparation it can be achievable.

Directly prior to installation it is important that the subfloor is clean, flat, free from any loose debris or dust and structurally sound without any movement. A maximum undulation of 3mm over 3m is generally acceptable.