Tech Talk: Managing Installation Schedules and Acclimation

“How do you manage your installation schedule as it relates to allotting time for acclimation?”

Jason Elquest

Scheduling is a grueling part of any service-related business, from appointments for estimates to the actual job. Acclimation is a massively important part of a successful installation, especially here in Arizona.

We always schedule to have material delivered prior to a job’s start date. That might mean three weeks or it might mean three days; it really depends on the product and the jobsite. This comes from experience with the product and our region of the country.

Just remember that even if you have acclimated your product, you must test it prior to the installation. It is much easier to manipulate your schedule to allow for more time, than to replace a floor!

Daniel Saucedo

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You always need a plan. Especially if the house still is under construction from a builder where all the trades are working. When I am sending out the contract, I talk to the builder so we can both get it all situated and talk about how we can work around the schedule without disturbing other trades or getting in each other’s way.

New installation in a building that is only in need of the flooring (no other trades) is a different story. It’s much easier to deliver the floor and materials, let it acclimate, and then start the job when it’s ready, because it all takes time. You can’t just rush into it.

Sometimes it’s more challenging when the materials are exotic species, but it’s all manageable as long as we’re measuring the moisture in the wood and the concrete. I always coordinate acclimation and delivery of materials with homeowners, customers, and builders before the starting date. It’s the best option so they see you’re a pro and will get the job done right.

Phil Valenti

Managing an installation schedule as it relates to acclimation times is a challenging task for even the most seasoned hardwood veteran.

Our first step is to educate the client about the “comfort zone” for wood flooring, and why these conditions are critical for long-term success with their new hardwood flooring. We include in our contract that these atmospheric conditions (60-80 degrees and 30 percent – 50 percent RH) must be achieved prior to delivery, during acclimation, and for the lifetime of the floor. We explain to the customer why this is crucial to the success of their flooring. We also personally check the jobsite before delivering the hardwood flooring. After many years in the hardwood flooring business, we have learned that oftentimes, clients are so eager to get their jobs finished that they occasionally think it’s okay to eschew the guidelines a bit. All clients want to say, “I’m ready for the hardwood floors!” Check the jobsite. Do not take people at their word – not because they are dishonest, but because sometimes they are unaware of what is actually happening at their jobsite. Delivering material to an improperly acclimatized space can really set you back in your schedule.

Here in the Northeast, we always plan to do more jobsite checks for interior conditions during the hottest and most humid months, July-September, and we also plan extra checks for the coldest and driest months of the year, December-March. Our presence there before delivery checking conditions gives all involved parties peace of mind in knowing the site is enclosed, and temperature and RH are where they need to be. This also goes a long way toward keeping the schedule working like clockwork. If everything checks out prior to delivery, and all parties are aware of the importance of keeping those conditions stable, acclimation should go smoothly and as planned. Wider planks need more time. We plan for a minimum of two weeks for wider planks, and about one week for narrower boards and strip flooring. For scheduling purposes, we advise to plan for more time than you need for acclimation, so you don’t risk the wood not being ready when it’s time to start the installation.

We will do two final series of tests – one during the acclimation time to make sure all is progressing well and that site conditions are stable, and again on the day of the installation. If all checks are within range, we will proceed with installation. Stopping in after delivery
to check your flooring and to check the jobsite can really help keep a schedule on track.

Sometimes things happen. The heat or AC can go out. Other trades can leave the doors and windows wide open for days when you aren’t around. Be prepared to be flexible. If conditions have somehow changed and are out-of-range, we have no choice but to delay the installation until we have three days of stable conditions. Do not choose keeping your schedule over long-term success. Things will always work out.

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