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How Should You Store Unused Hardwood Flooring?

After shopping around for what it seems like forever, you finally found a great deal on hardwood flooring! You wind up buying more than you needed for future flooring installations and come to the fact that you have no idea what to do with it in the mean time.


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So, What Now?

Many people would not consider storing a floor a problem at all, but you really need to consider several factors when storing hardwood. Your biggest concern will be climate control.

Controlling your Climate

Hardwood and wood flooring are very susceptible to moisture damage, especially in humid regions. This alone is reason enough to really take the reigns of proper storage for your flooring. The science behind this is directly related to the shrinking and expanding of the wood. You see when hardwood is left in the box that it came in, it is allowed to expand and shrink in individual pieces. Once it is installed however, it will expand and shrink as a solid entity.

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Why is this important?

Well, when expanding after installation the boards will brace the growth of the neighboring board. In extreme cases this can cause buckling or bowing, but generally it is to be expected. The difference however when it is not installed and still in the box, it will have nothing to hold it in place and because there are always different grain patterns they will shrink and expand at different time and degrees. So if one is bigger than another it will make for a terrible installation when you do get around to installing it. Your “Aha” moment has just taken place!

If left on it’s own, poorly stored hardwood flooring will almost always have too many problems to install when its time to do so.

The Right Way To Store Hardwood Flooring

The most important factor is obviously the humidity level. You should really store your hardwood flooring in a controlled environment, never a garage or basement. If the hardwood is being store above 50% humidity it will take in a ton of moisture and expand this will typically happen in the summer months when humidity is at it’s highest.

On the flip side, winter climate can be devastating as well. This is the most dry storage season for wood flooring. If the humidity of the storage area falls below 30% humidity it will cause the wood to shrink. This can also cause cupping, and that is a permanent problem!

Pair these two seasons together and you will get all kinds of shapes when you finally get around to installation.


Store your flooring in an area of the home that has a controlled humidity level between 45% and 35% humidity. This way you will always be in the medium range. There are many humidity monitors available as well as de-humidifiers and humidifiers. You may have to search a bit, but it is well worth the investment to save your hardwood flooring.

I hope you enjoyed Today’s blog, Happy Home and Flooring!

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