Hardwood floors are susceptible to the change in humidity levels in the air. Even though the hardwood is first dried and then processed before being used for flooring, seasonal changes on the flooring may become noticeable. Read on to learn more about these changes with respect to different times of the year and what floor care procedures you can do to prevent humidity issues with your wood floors.
Protecting Your Hardwood Floors From Seasonal Humidity Changes
During winter season
The air during in the winter is usually dry and lacks humidity. Homes are also heated and hardwood flooring loses some moisture and can start contracting. This results in a series of thin gaps which typically appear between the planks if the moisture levels in the air fall below 40%. There’s nothing to worry about as this will go back to normal once you turn off the heating in the spring, and humidity levels start rising again.
In order to avoid this from happening, you may want to control the humidity levels in the air during the winter by installing a humidifier near the furnace. Another option is to use a portable humidifier in the room(s) with wood floors. A basic humidity meter is also helpful in monitoring the moisture levels in your home throughout the year.
During summer season
When the air is humid in the summer, indoor humidity levels can go up as high as 90%. As a result, the wood tends to absorb the extra moisture in the air and expand in size (this is called cupping of wood) within just a few days. If you notice that the edges of the boards are higher than its center part, the wood has cupped.
In order to prevent cupping from occurring in your hardwood floors, it’s important to maintain the indoor humidity levels in your home (prior to installation) between 40% to 60%. Always try to limit the humidity below 65%. It’s a nice idea to keep humidity levels under control by using a dehumidifier or air conditioner during the hot and humid summer season.
Special note for hardwood floors that use exotic wood species
In case you have installed an exotic hardwood floor, you need to ensure that the indoor air humidity levels are within the range of 50% to 70% at all times, In addition to this, air temperature should also be maintained between 65F and 75F.
As a solution to maintain such floors, it’s advisable to keep an air humidifier running during the winter season, and an air conditioner during the summers. Installing engineered hardwood floors and using digital temperature/moisture meter are also known to be good solutions for avoiding the wooden planks from cupping, crowning, humidity changes, buckling, and cracking.
Your Bay Area All-Around Hardwood Floor Specialist
Elegant Floors has an experienced team of experts in hardwood floor repair, refinishing, and installation. If you have any questions or concerns about hardwood floors our hardwood floor specialist will be happy to help you. Feel free to give us a call at 650-961-1339 or 408-773-8624. You can also contact us using our online form.