Hardwood and Humidity

What is the best humidity level for hardwood floors?

What is the Best Humidity Level for Hardwood Floors?

Humidity greatly affects wood since wood absorbs moisture, whether from the air around it or from rain. The moisture content varies from different species and varies with the width of the board. For example, seasoned white oak has a moisture content of about 47 percent while seasoned northern white pine as a moisture content of about 25 percent. Wood that has been kiln dried typically drops to 6 percent to 8 percent. Even though wood flooring has been dried and stained or painted, it will still absorb moisture from the humidity in your home.

Why is my Hardwood Floor Buckling?

When wood absorbs humidity, it swells with the extra moisture content. As the wood dries out on less humid days, the wood shrinks. Thus, when working with hardwood flooring, installers must leave enough room for the wood to expand and shrink as the amount of humidity in your home changes. If the installer doesn't leave enough leeway for the wood to expand and shrink, your floors may warp. Furthermore, if your home has no humidity in it at all, the hardwood floors will become fragile and brittle and will most likely squeak or crack.

Do Hardwood Floors Expand in Winter?

While you'll never be able to stop hardwood flooring from expanding and shrinking, an experienced hardwood floor installer understands the properties of the type of wood he or she is installing and installs the flooring with this in mind. The installer should allow the boards to acclimate to the air in your home, and then, after checking the moisture content with a meter, install the flooring with enough space so that the boards may expand and contract without damaging the beauty of the flooring.

Tips for Getting the Best Hardwood Flooring

Choose a wood that is more stable from a company with experienced installers. The best installers will acclimate the wood to the air in your home and will check the moisture content before installing the floors. And, he or she will install the flooring with proper spacing so that the floors have less chance to warp.

To learn more about hardwood flooring and humidity, contact Main Floor Carpet One Floor & Home or visit our showroom in Royal Oak, MI.