Humidity and Hardwood Flooring

July 23, 2021 11:19 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Do you know how humidity affects your hardwood flooring? Whether the interior of your home is humid or dry, the air quality will have an effect on your floors. Although hardwood floors are sealed and coated, they’re still made of wood—which means they’re susceptible to moisture damage, among other issues. Here’s what you need to know about caring for your floors when it’s wet outside:

  • Maintain the right humidity level for your floor: When it comes to health, indoor humidity levels should stay around 40 to 50 percent. This may need to be adjusted depending on the season—too much humidity in the winter can cause condensation on the windows, and both too much and too little humidity will cause respiratory issues. However, your hardwood floors need the right humidity level, too. Solid hardwood planks require a range of 35 to 55 percent, while engineered hardwood can withstand 35 to 65 percent. If you fail to maintain an appropriate humidity level, you could notice some serious structural problems.
  • Beware of the dry season: When the humidity drops—usually in the winter, especially with roaring fires and increased HVAC use—your hardwood floors can suffer. When the air is too dry, your floors will lose moisture and shrink. This can cause gapping and splits. Gaps will appear between the planks themselves as the boards shrink. This is not usually a cause for concern, although if the gaps are wide enough, they could be a tripping hazard. Raising the humidity level in your home will solve the problem. Cracks, on the other hand, appear when the air is too dry and your floors are under extreme stress. This damage is permanent, so avoid overly dry air at all costs.
  • Watch for problems in the humid season: Humidity can cause issues, too. Cupping and crowning commonly occur when there’s too much moisture in the air. Cupping happens when the edges of the planks are higher than the middle, whereas crowning is the opposite. Crowning happens when a floor is sanded too soon after cupping. If you notice that your floor is cupping, figure out the source of the problem and address it immediately. It may take days or weeks for your hardwood planks to settle back into their original shape. Try to avoid taking further action until it appears that the floors have completely settled.

If you notice that you’re having humidity-related problems, it’s wise to invest in a humidifier or dehumidifier as necessary. Keeping your home at an appropriate moisture level will go a long way toward preserving your hardwood floors, whether you’re in a hot, humid summer or a cold dry winter.

Remember, even though your hardwood floors are sealed, moisture can still penetrate the wood. Clean up spills right away, and watch for signs of water damage around the walls and floors. Leaks and floods might not completely ruin your floors, but they’ll need extra care if you don’t catch problems right away.

For hardwood flooring options, get in touch with SNR First Rate Floors today.

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