Humidity and Hardwood Floors

Learn why your hardwood floor might be cupping or buckling

Best Flooring for High Humidity

Given that hardwood floors are crafted from dead trees, it may seem that they'd be immune from buckling and warping. After spending thousands of dollars on new wood flooring, you'd certainly hope this to be true. Unfortunately, it isn't. Wood is a natural product that expands and contracts according to humidity variations. At warm and humid temperatures, it expands and in cooler, less humid environments, it contracts. Although some of these variations go undetected, many of them are noticeable and frustrating for consumers. The most effective way to reduce this movement is to install humidity controls and ensure that they are working prior to the placement of flooring. 

What is the Best Humidity Level for Hardwood Floors?

As a hygroscopic material, wood dries or absorbs moisture until it is in sync with the humidity and temperature of the air. Swelling increases when moisture does, and wood shrinks when moisture lessens. Shrinkage begins when the moisture content reaches 25 to 30 percent, and wood swells when the moisture content is between 0 and 25 percent. The results are apparent in wood flooring and in wood furniture.

How to prevent moisture problems

  • Use a cloth lightly dampened by a recommended cleaning product when it's time to shine the hardwoods. Follow the suggestions made by the wood floor installer or retailer.

  • Humidifier, furnace and air conditioner

  • The first step is to have a professionally installed humidifier that takes care of the entire house. This is one of the best ways to ensure the longevity of your wood flooring. Then, have it and your other heating appliances professionally checked once a year.

Humidity for Hardwood Floor Installation

Choosing the right installer is imperative. Any potential hire should talk to you about acclimating your hardwood floors before installing them -- and the acclimation should take place inside your house, not in the garage. If this isn't discussed, consider another contractor.

Depending on where you live, you'll want to choose flooring accordingly. If you're worried about potential cupping or excessive dryness due to your climate, it's wise to be more selective when deciding upon the type of wood installed.

Hardwood Flooring Humidity and Temperature

Wherever you are and whatever season you're in, be sure to climate-control your house. Avoid placing hardwoods in areas of high humidity, such as the laundry room, and maintain appropriate temperature control even while you're out of town on vacation.

To learn more about Hardwood flooring and Humidity, contact Modern Flooring Carpet One Floor & Home or visit our showroom in New Orleans, LA.