Why should I leave my wood floor for 48 hours after installation?

After installing a solid or engineered wood floor, we strongly advise leaving it to ‘rest’ for 48 hours. This enables the wood to naturally expand and helps avoid any unpleasant surprises later on.

Enabling the wood to naturally expand following installation

There are a few important guidelines to follow to ensure your wood floor expands naturally and without any issues. First, move the wood floor strips to the room where you plan to lay them 48 hours prior to installation. This gives the wood time to adapt to the ambient temperature and moisture levels. Next, place expansion wedges along the perimeter of the room. Finally, leave the wood to rest for 48 hours following installation before you replace any furniture. This will enable the strips to expand without any damage.

Failure to follow these guidelines can result in the wood floor warping after installation, leaving the strips slightly curved. In the worst-case scenario, the wood may come away from the floor if it is unable to expand.

For step-by-step instructions, see our tutorial on installing floating wood floors.

Why does wood expand?

Wood is a material that constantly changes. This is because it is sensitive to humidity, absorbing any moisture in the air. This can cause it to warp or shrink. Wood is also a variegated material with different knots and grain directions. This means that it won’t necessarily expand in a consistent manner. If the room is humid or the moisture levels fluctuate, the wood may expand even more irregularly. To help the wood expand evenly, it’s essential to place expansion joints around the edge of the room and to leave it to rest for 48 hours after installation.

For professional advice on installing wood floors, contact one of our many stockists.