Were you aware that humidity can affect your home's hardwood flooring? Wood will absorb moisture in homes that have high humidity and lose moisture in homes with low humidity. The result is floors that contract or expand over the years. Under normal circumstances, the changes won't be extreme, and there is not much to be concerned about if the wood was acclimated before the installation. However, extreme changes in humidity will not be kind to your hardwood flooring. Here are three potential problems to be aware of.
You will notice this problem because the wood floor's edges will be higher than normal where two of the floorboards meet. It typically happens in the center of the floorboard because one part of the wood has more moisture than the other.
The problem happens because one part of the board is expanding quickly and the other side cannot keep up. With the flooring installed and no place for the wood to go, the boards will force their way upward in places where there is more moisture, which causes the cupping problem that you are familiar with.
Crowning is another moisture-related issue created due to wood expanding. The main difference with crowning is that the wood will have lower edges in the center of the floorboards.
The problem with crowning happens when the ends of the floorboards have more moisture in them. Floorboards are very thick, and it is unlikely that moisture will be evenly distributed in the board once it is in the floor. The pressure will cause the center of the floorboard to bend down and the edges to force their way upward. This creates higher edges where the ends of the floorboards meet.
The winter can cause humidity levels in your home to drop. Under extreme circumstances, you can even see an impact on your floorboards. When moisture is removed from the wood it will cause the floorboards to shrink ever so slightly. This creates gaps in the floor that can look unsightly, but generally do not post a problem with raised edges like cupping and crowning do.
The good news is that this problem is easy to fix by running a humidifier, preferably one that works across your whole home with your HVAC system. You should gradually see your floorboards return to normal and the gaps will go away.
Make sure your floorboards are well acclimated to your home before they are installed to avoid problems like these moisture issues from occurring.
After we started building our new home, I realized that we needed flooring that would mimic our tastes while enduring the rigors of our children and pets. We started by bolstering the sub-flooring, and then worked towards finding flooring that would really look nice with our home decor. After a little bit of a hunt, we were able to find gorgeous hardwood plank flooring that warmed up the space without costing a fortune. This blog is dedicated to anyone who needs to find great flooring in a sea of available options. Check out this post for great information that can help you.