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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9 Responses

  1. flooringwarrington says:

    Wow what a good article. People rarely advise on this however it is really important to store wooden flooring correctly. I fit floors for a living and there is nothing worse that warped boards for trying to get a tight fit.

  2. emma099 says:

    Thank you for this wonderful article! I like the helpful information you provide in your blog articles.I enjoyed your helpful information about hardwood flooring . awesome work.

  3. N. Worthington says:

    I have some oak boards that have been used as kitchen counter tops ,has been covered with urethan for the past 30 + years recently recovered these as the house is bing pushed down. Can I store them on there side without damage ? I don’t have space to rack them in a controlled environment

    • Jeff Ellis says:

      To N. Worthington,
      Depending upon the amount, I would put it in a closet in my house or in the garage. Preferably a place where the temperature stays somewhat mild and there is low humidity. If you have any questions or concerns call me.

      Thank you,
      Jeff Ellis
      Georgia Carpet Industries
      706-277-2330 ext. 5499

  4. Amanda says:

    I just bought some curupay hardwood. It has a Janka level of like 3800 and I read that it is also used for outdoor decks. I’m only getting it installed in about a year and need to store it in the mean time. My house has ac and heating and we also have a finished basement with a de humidifier. Could I store the boards in the basement, what do you recommend for this wood type?

    • Jeff Ellis says:

      I would put it in a closet in my house or in the garage. Preferably a place where the temperature stays somewhat mild and there is low humidity. If you have any questions or concerns call me.

  5. Joni Parent says:

    Thank you for your article. We purchased Santos Mahogany floors from Georgia Carpet last summer and they are beautiful However, our installer had us order way more that we needed (5 boxes extra) and I have no place to store them in our home in the Florida Keys. We wanted to keep extra in case we had damage from a hurricane, but I’m concerned that they are being stored in our garage in their original boxes. We have no room inside our home. Is something we can do (wrap the boxes with stretch film) to help preserve the wood?

    • Joni, as long as water is not getting directly on the wood then it is perfectly fine and should not have any issues. Yes, wrapping the boxes with stretch film will hep preserve the wood. The main thing is you do not want direct water on the wood. When you are ready to install your wood, place it in your home for a minimum of 48 hours and it should be fine. Moisture levels should be checked by your installer in the wood and your floor before installing. A certified installer will know how to do this. I am glad your floors are looking beautiful! Santos Mahogany is certainly a beautiful wood floor.

  6. Angela says:

    I have some left over Bruce hardwood stored in my attic. It has been there for 17 years. I didn’t think about it or know any better, at the time, about proper storage. Do you think it’s ruined by now?

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