hardwood flooring

Four problems humidity causes for hardwood flooring

Hardwood flooring is impressive and attractive like no other. But, as durable and hard-wearing as it is, these planks simply can’t thrive in high-humidity environments. While hardwood flooring is manufactured with protective coating built in, this doesn’t make them 100% waterproof. Let’s go over 4 problems humidity can cause for slats, as well as few ways to prevent moisture problems from ruining your hardwood flooring.

Cupping –
High humidity levels can create cupping in planks, which looks like the edges of the hardwood flooring is higher than the central section. This reaction is caused by disproportionate humidity levels in the slats, due to things like water infiltration, or too much humidity seeping in from other areas of the house.

Crowning –
The opposite of cupping is known as crowning, where the slat edges fall below the central aspect of the boards. Typically, this happens when there is too much water on the surface of the hardwood flooring, often seen when slats are sanded too soon after cupping. Visually, you’ll notice the slats are missing the top edges, once they’ve returned to their normal resting position, after too much exposure to humidity.

Buckling –
An extreme reaction to moisture exposure, buckling when slats expand beyond their normal range, raising as much as several inches above its sub-floor. After they return back to normal, after humidity levels drop, it’s typical to see large spaces between planks.

Cracking –
Significant expansion caused by extensive humidity or moisture levels results in slats that press against each other. In cases that are extreme, this can result in boards cracking, losing their structural integrity entirely.

Prevent moisture problems with the following advice:
•Select high quality hardwood flooring for renovations.
•When cleaning your slats, use a slightly damp dry mop, with products that are specifically approved for your installation.
•If you live in a climate with long periods of rain, use mats at entryways to eliminate tracking moisture inside.
•Use an air conditioner in humid weather, leaving it on when you depart for vacation.
•Use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the home, turning on the heating system periodically to reduce humidity levels.
•During a flooring installation, discuss the need for a free expansion space to surround the entire area around the room. Typically, this free space is covered by baseboards, so you may not know they’re there.

Looking for more advice about hard surfacing? Come on down to Bockrath Flooring & Rugs, and talk to our helpful Dayton, Ohio showroom experts!