Yes, if it is solid hardwood it does, and so do some other flooring materials.  For hardwood in the Tampa Bay Area, the pros at Bob’s Carpet Mart will advise you on the acclimation process.

What does “needing acclimation” mean?

Wood can be damaged by excess water, and it is affected by humidity. It also always comes from a different part of the world so it’s used to growing in a certain climate.  Now it needs to get used to yours.

To adjust to the weather, solid wood floors expand in humidity and contract in cold weather.  In Florida, the issue is humidity. When it expands, it will cup or crown to create room for the planks. Cupping is when the boards will curl up at the edges.  Crowning means the middle is higher than the sides. This happens because the boards become crowded and try to make room for each other.

You can acclimate two ways:  One way is to leave the boards with the box ends opened for at least three days in the room in which it’s to be installed. The second way is to just take the planks out of their boxes and spread them on the floor.

Moisture levels for both the subfloor and hardwood boards need to be checked. When the boards are 4% of the subfloor moisture, you can start the installation process.  You need a point of comparison so you’ll know just how long it will take, so take moisture readings before the acclimation process starts.  You can get a hardwood moisture reader at hardware stores; your flooring pro will advise you.

Hardwood that doesn’t need acclimation

Engineered hardwood flooring is stable and better able to handle water.  As a result, it won't expand or shrink. The only difference between solid and engineered is construction, and it adds the same value to your home as solid and can be refinished up to four or five times. A thickness of ¾-inch is ideal; popular species are oak, maple, hickory, cherry, and walnut.

For more information about either solid or engineered hardwood, visit Bob's Carpet Mart showroom in any of its 16 locations throughout the Tampa Bay area.  We service St. Petersburg, Brandon, Largo, Carrollwood, Clearwater, Wesley Chapel, New Port Richey, Sarasota, Lakeland, Venice, Brooksville, and Ocala.  Ask about our estimates.