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I'm going to be installing a Red Oak tongue-and-groove hardwood floor to save some money, but I've heard mixed advice on what time of the year a floor should be installed. I live in the northeast of the US, and so we have cold winters and hot summers.

From what I would imagine, there would be some shrinking and expansion of the wood. Could this damage the floor boards in any way if I put them in during the "wrong" season? When would the optimal time of the year (in terms of humidity and heat) to install a floor like the one I'm putting in?

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There isn't a right time. In the summer the wood will expand and in the winter it will shrink.

The biggest question is whether there are large temperature changes where the wood will be installed. If the house is always conditioned then just make sure it is in those conditions or warmer when installing the wood.

My personal opinion is that I would make sure that your hardwood is warmer/more humid than normal. And it takes a few days for wood to totally temperature/moisture adjust. Don't sit your wood outside. If you have the heat on sit in next to a vent. If the air is on - away from the colder air.

Slight shrinkage is basically nothing. Might notice some gapping but you won't notice unless you are on your hands and knees. A lot of expansion can lead to buckling though and that is the last thing you want to deal with. I installed mine at the end of last spring on purpose last year.

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I installed a room floor of hardwood flooring after keeping the boxes of the wood laid out in the same room for a period of about a month. The installation was in the autumn timeframe. That gave the flooring to adjust to the conditions of the environment. After a full cycle of winter summer winter and now back to spring the floor is doing great.

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