effects of humidity on hardwood from Carpet One

Hardwood and Humidity in Flemington, NJ

If you have recently noticed cracks around the joints of your wood flooring, you may be puzzled by this new development. However, cracks and gaps are typical problems for hardwood flooring that is not kept in a stabilized environment.

Seasonal Humidity 

You may only consider the temperature within your living space, but the amount of moisture in the air can have a significant impact on your wood floors. During the summer time, when temperatures and humidity levels soar, you may be tempted to open your windows to allow nightly breezes to lower your monthly utility bills. After all, air conditioning can be expensive. Still, you may not realize that you are jeopardizing your floors.

The high humidity can be particularly brutal to a pre-finished wood floor. The finishing step is performed away from the installation site in a controlled environment, so when the floor is exposed to higher levels of humidity in the summer, it may start to swell, forcing planks more closely together.

Then, when autumn arrives, the floor is subjected to a new set of conditions. Instead of high humidity, the cooler air may be devoid of moisture. Your floor will begin to dry out when levels fall beneath 35 percent.

This cycle of season-based extremes can cause the floors to expand and retract repeatedly, resulting in gaps between your boards and possible cracks within the actual planks.

Avoiding Humidity Issues

To avoid these seasonal issues, be sure to purchase a tool that accurately measures humidity, such as a wet-dry thermometer. Once you know the humidity levels inside your house, you can make the necessary adjustments to protect your wood floors.

When the humidity reading falls beneath 35 percent, turn on a humidifier to increase the moisture content in the air. Likewise, when the humidity climbs above 55 percent, use a dehumidifier to remove atmospheric moisture.

Pre-planning to Minimize Humidity Damage

If you are considering a wood floor and want to avoid many of the changes that humidity causes with a pre-finished floor, consider a site-finished product. The sealing of the wood is usually more complete, limiting humidity exposure. Also, the use of thick subflooring may also be helpful.