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How Does Humidity Affect Hardwood Floors?

Did you know that the hardwood floors in your home expand and contract with fluctuations in humidity?

After the thousands of dollars you spent on hardwood flooring installation, the last thing you want is for your floors to get damaged by something you can easily control. In this blog post, we will go over the many ways you can maintain indoor humidity levels that are safe for your wood floors. You will also learn how humidity affects wood flooring.

How can I prevent humidity from damaging wood floors?

In order to keep your hardwood floors looking as beautiful as the day you installed them, you’ll need to keep the humidity between 40% and 60%. Hardwood floor planks expand with high humidity levels and contract with low humidity levels. Since Michigan experiences a wide range of humidity levels throughout the seasons, you’ll need to invest in humidity controls for your home.

Install Humidity Controls

Preventing humidity levels from getting too high or low in the first place will prevent damage to your hardwood floors. The most accurate way to control humidity is to install humidity controls in your home, preferably before your new hardwood floors are installed. An automated humidity control system will allow you to control humidity in your home year-round. This means that you don’t have to worry about those hot muggy summer days damaging your hardwood floors.

Pick Domestic Woods

Exotic tree species are more susceptible to fluctuations in humidity. Domestic woods, on the other hand are hardier against high and low humidity levels. Why not save yourself some money and choose a domestic tree species that will cost you less in installation and repairs? If you still have your heart set on an exotic tree species, we recommend you consult with a wood flooring installation contractor to determine the best ways to protect your new floor.

How does humidity affect hardwood floors?

Humidity levels that stray from the recommended range of 40% to 60% take a toll on your hardwood floors. Not only are the hardwood floors more susceptible to expansion and contraction, but they are also more likely to bow up. These imperfections in your hardwood floor will need to be repaired by a professional wood floor repair contractor.

Summer Humidity

It’s to be expected that natural flooring materials will respond to changes in weather. In the middle of July, the humidity level can easily reach up to 90% in Michigan. When exposed to the high moisture content in the air, your hardwood floors will absorb water vapor and expand. Over time, the integrity of your wood floor will degrade and suffer permanent damage.

Winter Humidity

In the winter, you have the opposite problem with humidity that you do in the summer. Instead of humidity levels being too high, the humidity in your home may be too low. While this may seem like a good thing, consider the fact that the optimal humidity for your home should be between 40% and 60%. If you allow the humidity to drop beneath 40%, this will cause the wood planks to contract. When this happens, it exposes gaps between the planks which can let in dirt and moisture. To prevent wood floor damage from low humidity, the best thing to do is to maintain optimal humidity levels in your home. Low humidity and hardwood floors should never mix.

If you are interested in our hardwood floor maintenance service, please feel free to call our showrooms in East Grand Rapids or Holland. The experienced hardwood flooring contractors at Rivershores Hardwood Flooring & Cabinetry are dedicated to helping homeowners maintain beautiful flooring in their homes.

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