With warmer weather on the way, it’s time for homeowners to start thinking about how to prepare for the impact heat and humidity can have on your beautiful hardwood flooring. Wood is a living, breathing material that changes along with any changes in its environment. Humidity is a case in point and even though engineered wood flooring is said to be less sensitive to humidity than hardwood flooring, it still may be affected adversely. Here are a few tips for guarding against summer humidity issues for your wood flooring.
Eliminate Moisture Sources
First and fore most, be sure your home is not a hiding place for moisture. Be sure your basement is dry, adding a sump pump if you tend to have flooding. Ensure also that the air envelope around your home is tight, and if necessary upgrade to the new spray foam types of insulation that fill all potential nooks and crannies where moisture from the outside can get into your home. Be sure to use fans in baths and kitchens where water is prevalent, and believe it or not, move houseplants that generate moisture outdoors for the summer.
Keeping Humidity Levels Constant
As with fine wine or the soundboards of pianos, it is actually wild fluctuations in humidity that can wreak havoc on your wood flooring. Too dry, then wood will shrink, resulting in cracking. Too moist, wood will expand and warp. In fact, an average humidity range between 35% and 55% is ideal for wood materials whether used in flooring, ceilings or furniture.
Using a humidistat is an easy way to verify how much moisture there is in your rooms with wood flooring. If levels are above 55% it’s clearly time to use a dehumidifier. Small units are relatively inexpensive but you have the task of emptying water which you must not get onto the wood.
In homes with a high humidity factor such as in wetlands, we highly recommend a dehumidifier for the entire house. These are added to your HVAC system and eliminate the headache of water removal. They also monitor the moisture levels and are set to turn on automatically when humidity is high. For some HVAC, running your air conditioning alone may reduce humidity, but that is not true for all high efficiency systems, so check with your manufacturer for details.
Contact us for more tips on keeping your floors in top shape through the coming summer months.