hardwood flooring in the cold...installation question

We're in the end stages of our renovation and the hardwood flooring (unfinished) is being delivered on Friday to our New England home. We are finishing our upstairs but it is not yet open to the downstairs, so, though it is insulated and sealed, it is cold up there! My builder says the flooring needs to acclimate to the room for a few days before it is installed, which I understand to be true. But the rooms it is going into are unheated and it is below 50 degrees up there. Ultimately, we will have heat in the addition once the steam radiators are installed and tied in, but is it ok to put the hardwood in before the rooms are heated? Once we have heat up there, will the hardwood expand and buckle? Thanks. -Holly
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I wouldn't do it.
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I think the major component in expansion/shrinkage is not directly temperature (like ice) but the humidity or water content of the wood. I believe the best thing to do would be to acclimate the wood for 2 weeks to the natural or controlled humidity of the house.

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Most of the answers I've seen are rather speculative. There is only one "right answer" and it should come from someone with experience. Look back about a week or ten days in this group for a fellow that posted and has 30 years experience with hardwood floors.
Only other way I could be sure is to install the heat first, then allow the flooring to acclimate in that area for a week or two. The wrong steps could be disaster later. Ed.
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It would seem to me if you are intent on putting the hardwood floor in before you heat that area, I would open the boxes of hardwood floor in the heated area of the house and let them acclimate to the normal heat and humidity of the warmed area. I would let them sit at least a week. Then install the floor. You will then have a floor that was acclimated to the normal temp and humidity of a warm house. I would not attempt to do it any other way as you are asking for trouble. Finishing the floor is another issue that will require a heated area. Probably it is best to have heat up there and do a proper install that way. The floor still will need to acclimate to the normal heat and humidity of you house before installing it. Bernie
I & H Prees wrote:

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though
are
heat
heat
Storing the flooring in the room is ok, but wait until the heat is functioning for a couple days to put it down.
Dave
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"I & H Prees" wrote in message

though
are
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heat
I'll echo the advice to wait. Cold usually equals dry air. Conditioned space usually will be closer to the humidity level you want the material to acclimate in.
In other words, if put down in the dry conditions, it will expand when the space is conditioned properly. Your builder probably won't care, you probably will get your usual 1 yr. warranty. By the time it expands, you're SOL.
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wrote:

Actually the opposite is often true. Heated air is usually drier than unheated air especially when the source of heat is fuel burning. This is why humidifiers are put on furnaces.

Or if put down when humidity is high, it will shrink when the space is heated.
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Nope. It will be drier once hated. There is also a difference between relative and absolute humidity. Ed
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"Edwin Pawlowski" wrote in message

Actually, I didn't say anything about heated or hated. "Conditioned space" is the key word here. See below.
Dennis G> " I'll echo the advice to wait. Cold usually equals dry air. Conditioned space usually will be closer to the humidity level you want the material to acclimate in."
This information is not speculative, I've been involved in HW floors for more years than I care to mention. This is how it's done here in the MW where we get the extreme swings in temperature & humidity.
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I said "most" was speculative. You gave no credentials either so no one could tell if you had actual experience with this. Ed
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wrote:

Your method is good. Your reasoning is incorrect. Cold does not equal dry air.
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"Alan" wrote in message

Speaking solely of the OP's situation, how does the cold air not equal dry air? We are talking unconditioned space.
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Alan wrote in message

I believe you're arguing heated air vs. cold air. Which is not the case here, you're into another topic. Conditioned air is either humidified or dehumidified, unless someone didn't pay for humidification or air conditioning.
Warm air does hold moisture more than cold air, just google.
I believe you're reading heated air, which I didn't find except where another poster brought up.
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On 18 Dec 2003 14:25:04 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Leo) wrote:

The cold air the OP was talking about was not conditioned.

Make that "can hold." That does not mean cold air is dry air.

Even with a humidifier, conditioned air is not necessarily more humid than cold unconditioned air.
Cold unconditioned air can just as easily be very humid as it can be dry.
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<snip>

So that would mean nature's been sending us that crappy dry-ass Canadian polar air all these years and holding back the moist, good stuff? I say we kill nature even more just for that.
AJS
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Smart money says to not make wood flooring live in a room you wouldn't hyet want to live in yourself. Wood'll expand and contract naturally between winter heating and summer air-conditioning, but when you think about it, you basically air condition and heat to maintain roughly the same temperature (altho humidity is another story)? And that's basically only what, plus or minus maybe 5 degrees? However, a 10- or 20-degree swing between totally unheated 50 degrees and the your heated 68-70 or so once you install and fire up the heat kinda may invite your wood floor to do something kinky on you. Not saying it absolutely would, but weird things tend to happen to homeowners now and then.
I'd wait until you have the best conditions possible. But that's just me, and I'm usually an idiot ;)
AJS

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On Wed, 17 Dec 2003 09:54:44 -0500, I & H Prees wrote: you need to have the heat on in order to do your other work in the home i suggest you bring i temp electrical heat for at least 1 week keep the temp at68degrees faren night and day and install the floor over 60 min black build paper at 6% humidity i would be worried about climatizing if it means swelling to wood before nail down! it depends on type of wood and room sizes also your subfloor can be a maximum ofd 12% no more allhardwoodfloor.com your ewelcome KenMoersch, CANADA

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On Wed, 17 Dec 2003 09:54:44 -0500, "I & H Prees"

I have been installing hardwood flooring for 32+ years. The easy answer is follow the directions provided with the material. If it wasn't provided, look it up on the Net.
You are not ready to have your hardwood installed. No true professional would even consider it. The air conditioning apparatus (heating, cooling, humidity controls) must be installed and working. Material must be acclimated to the room it will be installed in. Not the downstairs room, not the upstairs room -- the room it will be installed in. Not only does the hardwood need to acclimate, so does the subflooring it will be installed on. Trims too.
A good installer will check the moisture content of the hardwood and the subfloor in several areas of the job. Give them the proper conditions, the space (don't forget their tools) and the time and you will have a beautiful floor that will last 50 - 100 years. Cut corners and your floor won't last 2.
Sorry if this is too late. Maybe it will help someone else.
Grump aka Jim McClain, owner, JM Floor Covering
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