What's in a Floor?

Why Does Hardwood Floor Installation Take So Long?

Hardwood flooring is beautiful, but sometimes, waiting for it to be installed can be a bit annoying. Installing hardwood is a time-consuming process but for good reasons. Your flooring contractors are not just being slow. There are several steps in the process of installing hardwood floors that just can't be rushed. Here's a closer look.

Letting the Flooring Acclimate

This is probably the most time-consuming part of installing a hardwood floor, and it's not even an active part of the process. When you order natural hardwood, your flooring contractor will often drop it off and let it sit around in your home for a few days. The reason they do this is to let the boards adapt to the temperature and humidity levels inside your home. If this step is skipped and the floor is installed right away, the boards may warp and distort.

How long the wood needs to sit will depend on the type of wood you chose and the climate in your area. Three days tends to be the minimum, but sometimes, you may need to let the flooring rest for up to a week. During this time, the flooring contractors may be able to do some other small things, like put down a vapor barrier, but they can't really work with the wood.

Sanding and Finishing in Place

Homeowners often assume that the planks that are installed as their floor will be pre-sanded and finished, but this is not necessarily the case. Often, the boards have been roughly sanded, but they will still need to be finish sanded with finer sandpaper after they are installed. Sanding after installation is the best way to get a completely smooth surface. Applying the finish after installation helps ensure every board has the same color and thickness of the finish.

The whole sanding and finishing process can take another two or three days since the floor will need to dry between coats of finish. This part really can't be rushed, either. Applying a second coat of finish before the first one is dry can make the floor look overly textured. The more modern, hard wax finishes may not require a second coat, but not all flooring companies use these. 

Installing hardwood flooring is not a fast process, but in the end, the floor will be worth the wait! Taking time to let the wood acclimate and to finish the floor in place makes a huge difference in the final result. Reach out to a professional for more information about hardwood flooring