Humidity can have a significant impact on your hardwood floors. Those impacts can range from mild annoyances to outright damaged flooring. Here is a look at the effects of humidity on hardwood floors, and some suggestions for dealing with it.
How Too Much Humidity Affects Hardwood Floors
Humidity introduces moisture to your hardwood floors. The moisture causes the wood to swell and expand. If your hardwood suffers from prolonged exposure to indoor humidity, it might cup.
Hardwood cupping means the edges of a floorboard sit higher than the center of the floorboard. The expansion of the wood causes the boards to press together and rise at the edges. If you notice uneven floorboards with a concave shape, then your floorboards have an excess of moisture.
This problem can resolve itself, especially if it's a seasonal humidity change. The flooring will return to normal when the wood releases moisture under less humid conditions. If your home stays humid from season to season, then the cupping will become flooring damage that's hard to correct.
How Too Little Humidity Affects Hardwood Floors
When your home has less humidity, such as during the winter or if you live in a drier climate, your hardwood floors release moisture. As the flooring loses moisture, it will contract. You might see gaps, cracks, and uneven spaces form between the floorboards.
Minor shrinkage can rectify itself as the seasons change and indoor moisture changes along with it. If the contraction of the wood doesn't restore or the grows worse, you may need to introduce more humidity into your home.
How to Mitigate the Effects of Humidity on Your Hardwood Floors
Expansion and contraction of your hardwood floors will occur naturally. If you would rather prevent your hardwood floors from changing at all, various solutions exist. If you have damaged hardwood because of expansion or contraction, you can often fix the problem or at least get your wood back to level so you can apply further solutions.
Humidity control will give you the best results. If you're dealing with too much humidity, then a dehumidifier will keep your flooring in good condition. On the opposite end, if you're dealing with too little humidity, then make use of a humidifier.
Air conditioners can help during the summer. For larger floors, you can consider seeking a whole-house humidifier or dehumidifier. You can also add a humidifier or dehumidifier to your heating or cooling system. High-quality flooring materials and a professional installation also go a long way toward mitigating the effects of humidity on hardwood floors.
For more information about hardwood flooring, contact a local company.