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FAF Blog

Moisture And Hardwood Flooring

By FAF Staff Writer, (287 words) Posted in Hardwood Flooring on February 23, 2010
There are (37) comments permalink

Hardwood flooring responds naturally to humidity variations by expanding and contracting. This is a normal seasonal reaction that never stops regardless of the age of the flooring. Such changes could be noticeable and are to be expected. In warm, humid weather wood expands and conversely during a dry spell it contracts. One of the ways to counteract this variation is with the use of humidifiers that keeps the humidity level constant. In this manner the wood flooring will give the performance that homeowner expects.

Wood flooring often display some degree of separation between boards in winter and dry seasons. Floors shrink when the air is heated and the moisture in the wood is absorbed by the dry air. When spring returns and indoor heat is turned off, the ambient air regains its moisture which is transferred to the wood. The wood expands and most of the cracks close up. Cracks are more evident in light woods like maple and light stained woods rather than in the darker hard wood floors.

Another moisture problem with wood flooring is cupping and crowning. Both problems are caused with high humidity and both occur across the width of the floor. Cupping is when a board assumes a concave shape with the edges becoming raised across the width. Crowning is the opposite when the board becomes convex and the center is bowed upwards from the edges. Buckling can occur when the floor literally pulls away from the sub–floor. This is not a common occurrence and is probably the most extreme reaction to moisture.

For these reasons, consistent temperature and humidity levels inside the home equate to less trouble with wood floors. For more information on humidity levels and what to consider when buying hardwood floors, refer to our hardwood flooring buying guide.

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Wood flooring is a natural product that responds to humidity variations by expanding and contracting.
Controlling and monitoring air humidity levels during the dry season by installing a humidifier provides good air circulation.

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Use engineered wood flooring to minimize humidity related fluctuations common to solid wood flooring.

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