Provenza Floors Hardwood Pre-Installation Guidelines
  • Provenza Baker Ranch Model Home Museum Collection

    Pre-Installation Guidelines

    For Provenza Hardwood Flooring


Provenza hardwood flooring is an investment that with proper jobsite preparation will lead to a successful installation.

Your expert installer should evaluate the jobsite before the Provenza hardwood flooring is delivered. This includes detecting and correcting possible jobsite and subfloor issues that might affect the hardwood flooring once it is delivered and installed.

Provenza also recommends that the Owner remove valuables from the installation area, including but not limited to, artwork mounted on walls, fragile decorations, and other personal items. Provenza Floors®, Inc. is not liable for losses and damages, accidental or otherwise, caused by the Installer and/or sub-contractors.

The Provenza Floors® manufacturer warranty does not cover flooring failures resulting from a failure to perform required pre-installation and installation procedures, including but not limited to, Owner/Purchaser/Installer negligence, accidental or otherwise.

Before Your Flooring Arrives

Jobsite Conditions

Owner/Purchaser and Installer are responsible for ensuring that exterior grading is complete with surface drainage offering a minimum drop of 3" in 10' to direct exterior water sources away from the structure where the flooring will be installed.

Owner and Installer should ensure that the “grade” where the hardwood flooring will be installed is appropriate for its construction:

  • Provenza engineered hardwood floors are approved for below, on-grade, above-grade installation. Below-grade installations require a floating installation method.
  • Provenza solid hardwood floors are approved for on-grade and above-grade installations and should not be installed in below-grade areas such as basements.

The jobsite should be enclosed and climate-controlled. HVAC systems must be fully operational with a consistent room temperature of 65°- 85° F and relative humidity levels of 35%-55% before the flooring is delivered or installed.

Provenza hardwood floors are not recommended for use in areas subject to repeated moisture exposure and possible water overflow areas such as bathrooms or laundry rooms.

To eliminate potential trade-related damage, Provenza recommends that its hardwood flooring be one of the last jobs completed. Drywall taping, wall painting and other “wet” work should be completed and thoroughly dry prior to installation.

Subfloor Conditions

The quality and preparation of the subfloor is critical to the proper installation of Provenza hardwood flooring.

Subfloors must be structurally sound, clean and free of all debris, staples, nails, wax, grease, paint, sealers, old adhesives and other substances that may prevent a successful installation. Subfloors should be level and flat to 3/16" per 10' and must remain dry all year round. Subfloor moisture content must not exceed 3.5% for Concrete or 13% for Wood, Plywood or OSB/Particleboard.

Acceptable Subfloor Types

  • CDX Plywood
  • Concrete – With a minimum compression strength of 3000 PSI
  • OSB/Particleboard – Must be structurally sound. Floating installation only.
Wood subfloor must be:
  • Clean, dry and well secured.
  • Nailed or screwed down every 6 inches along the joists to remove squeaking.
  • Leveled with high spots sanded down and low spots filled with a leveling compound. Leveling material should provide a structurally sound wood subfloor.
Concrete subfloor must be:
  • Clean and free of paint, sealers, adhesives or other debris. If present, concrete sealer must be removed by grinding and sanding.
  • Fully cured for at least 60 to 90 days prior to installation.
  • Installed properly with minimum 6-mil poly film moisture barrier between concrete and ground.
  • Dry all year round. Do not install hardwood flooring over concrete if it will not remain dry at all times.

Subfloor Moisture Testing Requirements

Moisture testing of the jobsite and subfloors is critical to a successful hardwood flooring installation. Visual checks are not reliable.

If subfloor moisture exceeds acceptable levels, the source(s) of this moisture must be corrected before the hardwood flooring is delivered to the jobsite.

Excess moisture detected in the subfloor requires the use of a moisture barrier product, including but not limited to, PVC vinyl sheet (with felt-backed and vinyl wear layer) or, for concrete subfloors, a moisture retardant product that is approved as a concrete sealant for use in hardwood flooring installation.

Acceptable subfloor moisture testing methods include:
  • Calcium Chloride Test. The maximum moisture transfer must not exceed 3lbs/1000 square feet with this test.
  • Tramex Concrete Moisture Encounter Meter. Moisture reading should not exceed 4.5 on the upper scale.
  • Relative Humidity Probe Test. Maximum moisture reading is 75%.
Concrete Subfloor Test Method Used
  •               Calcium Chloride (ASTM F1869)
  •               RH (ASTM F2170-02) 1869
  •               Electronic Meter (Tramex or equivalent)
Concrete Subfloor Moisture Reading
  •               % Moisture Content of Concrete Subfloor


Wood Subfloor Moisture Content
  •               % Moisture Content of Wood Subfloor

Ambient Temperature Requirements

The jobsite should be evaluated for a consistent room temperature of 65°- 85° F with relative humidity levels of 35%-55%. These levels must be maintained, before, during and after installation for the life of the installed hardwood flooring.

Flooring failures that are a consequence of not maintaining required ambient temperature levels, at all times, are not covered by the manufacturer warranty.

Once Your Flooring Arrives

Important steps must be taken prior to installation and is the responsibility of the Owner/Purchaser & Installer. These steps include, but are not limited to, product inspection and acceptance; proper handling and storage of the flooring/flooring cartons on-site; hardwood floor acclimation; individual plank inspection/selection and carton blending with aesthetic attention given to character, grade, color and milling variation, and with sufficient quantity on hand to complete the job.

Provenza hardwood floors are a product of nature with naturally occurring imperfections in line with an industry accepted rate of approximately 5% of the total flooring purchased, including but not limited to, finish imperfections, grading and color variations, milling and general cutting waste. Individual planks may also be affected by die lot variations due to the staining process.

Product Inspection and Acceptance

It is the responsibility of the Owner/Purchaser & Installer to verify that the flooring delivered is what is expected by the Owner/Purchaser before proceeding to installation. This can be accomplished by randomly inspecting boards from 2-3 different cartons.

DO NOT PROCEED TO INSTALLATION if the flooring product is not what was expected by the Owner/Purchaser. Do not continue opening cartons and do not discard cartons that were opened during inspection. Immediately notify the Provenza retailer where the flooring was purchased that there is a problem with your flooring delivery!

During the installation process, the Owner/Purchaser & Installer should inspect and approve each piece that will be used in the flooring installation. The Installer must use reasonable selectivity and hold out or cut off pieces with defects that fall within manufacturing tolerance levels, whatever the cause.

Provenza Floors®, Inc. cannot honor claims due to a lack of on-site hardwood flooring inspection and acceptance by the Owner/Purchaser & Installer.

Provenza Floors®, Inc. will not accept responsibility for the installation of hardwood flooring with visible manufacturing defects.

Handling and Storage

Once Provenza flooring is delivered to the jobsite, inspected and accepted by the Owner/Purchaser & Installer, the flooring cartons should be stored on a dry, flat surface with good air circulation in the area where it will be installed. Remove plastic shipping wrap and keep cartons closed. When moving or handling cartons care should be taken to prevent damage to the hardwood flooring inside.

Do not store cartons directly on concrete, in garages, basements, near outside walls or in areas where the temperature is uncontrolled. Damage caused by the improper storage and handling of the hardwood flooring product is not covered by the manufacturer warranty.

Acclimation Process

Wood flooring needs to reach a “moisture content equilibrium” with the surrounding environment where it will be installed. The process of reaching equilibrium is referred to as “acclimation”. Proper acclimation ensures that the wood flooring has adjusted to the area where it will be installed before installation begins:

  • Always store cartons on a flat, dry surface in the area where they will be installed.
  • Do not open cartons until the day of installation and protect from moisture.
  • Jobsite must have a consistent room temperature of 65°- 85° F.
  • Jobsite must have relative humidity levels of 35%-55% before, during and after installation.
  • WMC must be within 4% of the subfloor before starting installation.

Flooring cartons must be placed in the area where they will be installed and allowed to acclimate for a minimum of 5 days.

Remove plastic wrap from flooring cartons if present, but do not open the flooring cartons or take out individual planks until acclimation has been achieved and the flooring is ready to be installed. Proper consistent temperature and humidity levels in the installation area is key to the acclimation process.

The required room temperature and humidity levels must be maintained for the life of the hardwood floor installation.

Once acclimation has been completed, the Installer should evaluate and record the moisture content of the hardwood flooring in relation to the subfloor.

Acclimation Moisture Readings
  •               % Moisture Content of Subfloor
  •               % Moisture Content of Hardwood
  •               % Difference between Subfloor & Hardwood

The Installer should document that all pre-installation requirements have been met before proceeding to installation, including but not limited to, moisture testing and recording testing results using photos with location, date, time and initials of the Installer on each area of subfloor evaluated. The Owner should retain this documentation with this guide for future reference.

The National Wood Flooring Association ( provides a “Jobsite Checklist” to help with this task. (NWFA Installation Guidelines, Section IV, Appendix M)

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