The Humidity Factor: Hardwood Flooring in the Summer
Summer time is all about enjoying the outdoors with family and friends while soaking up that sunshine! While the pool side fun is inviting to you, your home is going through some significant changes as the humidity inevitably settles in. While not all things in the home will be affected by these changes, there is one specific element that you should really take precaution to monitor and protect. I’m talking about your hardwood floors.
Hardwood flooring goes through certain transformations, like most natural materials as seasonal changes happen. This is not a reason for being alarmed though, there are ways to prevent it that we will be discussing in this article. As for now let’s begin with why and how these transformations happen.
Hardwood Flooring and Seasonal Humidity
Before we get into a break down it is important to note that Solid and Engineered Hardwood Flooring environments should always be kept at a 35% to 50% Humidity Level.
What happens with High Humidity?
When the humidity of your home moves passed 55% it is possible that moisture will begin to be absorbed into your hardwood flooring. This could cause a variety of issues, mostly swelling related. When the wood begins to swell it will create pressure between the boards. Depending on the extremity of the swelling this will lead to warping or cupping of the boards. Even though engineered hardwoods are advertised to handle moisture better (and they do,) they are included in swelling possibilities, and are still susceptible to moisture damage.
What happens with Low Humidity?
On the opposite end of the spectrum, when humidity levels drop below 35% it can cause serious issues as well. In many cases under low humidity conditions in an environment the wood can dry out quickly. This weakens the wood and causes splintering. It can literally become so dry that it will split the board along the grain of the hardwood, damaging the finish as well.
How to Prevent Humidity Damage to Hardwood Floors
While not an exact solution, there are definite ways to prevent damage related to humidity. The answer is in the right tools. Checking the humidity levels in your specific rooms using a hydrometer or humidistat is a great way to keep your flooring in could condition. When they go beyond the specified humidity level limits you will need to take action. Use a dehumidifier when humidity is above the recommended level and a humidifier when below. These simple actions could prevent a hardwood flooring catastrophe!