At About Floors n' More, many homeowners come into our Jacksonville, FL showroom asking for information on wood flooring installation, and we're all to happy to provide honest advice. During these tough winter months, we like to highlight how humidity and temperature affects floors, be it engineered or hardwood flooring. Most people don't realize how indoor living conditions can affect wood, so it's important to explain just how floors can react to fluctuations in humidity and temperature, to prevent damage to your lovely home.
Regardless of which wood flooring installation method you opt for, or the type of hardwood or engineered hardwood you decide upon, all wood species react to humid conditions, absorbing or losing moisture with your home's changing conditions. However, it's imperative to keep in mind that there must be a continuous temperature and level of humidity for wood to perform optimally as flooring. Typically, your home should keep a humidity range of 35-55%, and remain somewhere between 60-80 degrees.
Ultimately, wood cannot handle sudden fluxes of indoor changes. So, what happens when humidity and temperature run amok?
Even when alive, wood grows and shrinks with the varying seasons and weather. Fluctuations in temperature cause your floors to adapt to its environment, expanding and swelling according to ambient heat and cold. Undoubtedly, you'll notice that floors have edges and gaps when they are installed (often hidden by molding, baseboards, and trim), which allow for a minimal amount of expansion. If the temperature of a room jumps, wood can swell, expanding beyond these edges and gaps. When the temperature goes back to an adequate degree, wood will shrink back, but may not return to its original size because of over expansion damage.
Humidity can be just as damaging, and when it drastically changes, it can cause your wood floors to shrink. In this instance, you can see spaces appear along the ends or sides of the boards all of a sudden. Alternately, wood floorboards may crack or split, either along its middle, the edge of the plank, or both. Unfortunately, this damage is irreversible.
Confused about which type of floors to get for your latest home renovation? If you are, don't hesitate to visit About Floors n' More for invaluable flooring advice.