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We are about to install engineered, click-system hardwood floating throughout a house in Australia.

Our understanding was that packs of engineered timber flooring should always be delivered and opened several days in advance of installation, to ensure that the planks acclimatise to temperatures and humidity prior to being installed.

However, the manufacturer's two documents provide a somewhat different guidance.

The manufacturer's installation instructions (see link below) say:

"Room temperature and humidity of installation area should be consistent with normal, year-round living conditions for at least one week before installation of flooring."

and then:

"Store the flooring in the installation area for 72 hours before installation to allow flooring to adjust to room temperature."

However, the warranty document states:

"Due to the variable climate conditions within Australia and New Zealand planks may display slight bow and twist once removed from the cartons" ... and ... "planks should not be unpacked overnight and or left loose prior to install."

What is the correct way to obey both sets of directions? Should the 70+ boxes - several cubic metres in total! - simply be stacked up, unopened, in the lounge room for several days?

I can understand that this would allow the temperature of the planks to settle to the temperature of the room. But I don't understand how the site humidity can have any impact on the moisture content of the planks inside the boxes, as the boxes would surely be well sealed (after travelling half way across the world from China to Australia).

I note in this context that the job of transporting the boxes from the driveway to the house - and then back again (to clear the floor for installation - is a massive undertaking, as the set of boxes will weigh about 1500 kg (over 3300 pounds!) and will need to moved manually, twice.

Also, isn't this 1-week-prior in-house acclimatisation irrelevant if there are:

(a) large intra-day temperature variations during the week-long installation, and

(b) huge temperature and humidity variations during the remainder of the year.

In relation to (a), for instance, on any one day during the forthcoming installation week, outdoor temperatures might drop to 5C overnight but then rise to 35C during the day (i.e. from 40F to 86F for Fahrenheit readers).

Re (b), the house is in a region where temperatures vary even more widely through the year - from around -5C on the coldest winter nights to more than 45C in summer (i.e. from around 23F to 113F).

This is the first engineered hardwood floor we installed, and we need to do it right (especially given the massive cost of the job and impossibility of fixing the problem if it's not done right).

However, the vast effort of moving 1.5 tonnes (1.6 US tons) from the driveway to the lounge room (to acclimatise) and then back again (to clear the floor for laying) seems just crazy!

Installation instructions: https://www.preferencefloors.com.au/wp-content/uploads/documents/fiddleback-installation.pdf

Warranty document: https://www.preferencefloors.com.au/wp-content/uploads/documents/fiddleback-warranty.pdf

  • Does the room temperature where the floor will be installed really vary between -5 to 45 deg C? Perhaps 15 to 25 may be a better room T range? – Solar Mike Oct 6 '19 at 5:51
  • As for moving it in and out, last time I did it we stacked in the last corner to be done and took from there... – Solar Mike Oct 6 '19 at 5:54
  • @SolarMike - The temperature range is genuine, for several reasons. First, -5C to +45C has been the actual outdoor intra-year range for decades. Just yesterday, the range was 10C to 30C. Second, the house is often left vacant for many months at a time when we are in Europe, which means that temperatures inside this house quickly align to outdoor temperatures. Most Australian houses are very poorly insulated. For instance, huge, single-glazed, thin-glass windows are the norm, which means the indoor temperature will reach outdoor temps in a day or two. Third ... – TechnoCat Oct 6 '19 at 6:17
  • ... Third, the very high cost of energy in AU means that even if the house is tenanted while we are away, the tenants will generally just adjust their clothing rather than using heating or cooling. Even among the wealthy, it's common to wear fluffy jackets and beanies indoors during the winter, while leaving the rooms unheated, especially among green-oriented people who do not like to use coal-fired electricity. And in summer, our houses get HOT! We typically cool our houses overnight by leaving doors and windows open, before the heat returns in the morning. It's very different to Europe! – TechnoCat Oct 6 '19 at 6:24
  • Insulation can have a massive effect on reducing temperature swings... I designed and built a house where -20 to 35 is the woring range and the house does not go above 28 or below 16 even if the heating & cooling is turned off, one of the benefits of passive solar design. So will the actual temperatures in the house exceed the range the flooring is designed for? If so you may invalidate the guarantee before you even start... And following the rest of your comment it is in Europe.. 2/3rds the way up a mountain.. so the weather conditions can change very fast. – Solar Mike Oct 6 '19 at 6:28

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