Moisture and Hardwood Floors

Moisture can play a role in the overall performance of your floors. Most normal living conditions will cause minimal gapping in the floor, usually depending on the season; As wood is a natural product, this is normal. Excessive moisture can however cause problems with the floor. It is recommended by National Wood Flooring Association to keep indoor moisture levels between 30%-50%. Use of dehumidifiers in the cellar help to drastically reduce the amount of moisture that is the cause of many problems. It is important to pick out the proper size dehumidifier based on the amount of square footage required. Other tools such as hygrometers (measures humidity levels) help homeowners to keep an eye on moisture levels, and to alert them if there is a problem.

Wood is a natural product that will expand and contract over the course of the season. In most cases, wood will perform as it is supposed to unless a drastic change in moisture content occurs. This is the case with radiant heating systems. (*Radiant heating systems are heating coils under the floor which heat from beneath the floor). Solid hardwood is not recommended over radiant heat, due to the proximity of the heat to the flooring. The radiant systems dry the solid flooring out too rapidly causing excessive gapping and warping. Certain engineered floors are made for radiant heating, therefore these should be used in the presence of the radiant heating. Maintaining normal living conditions and avoiding drastic changes will help to ensure your floor will perform to its optimum abilities.

Wood flooring will perform best when the interior environment is controlled to stay within a relative humidity range of 30 to 50 percent and a temperature range 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Fortunately, that’s about the same comfort range most humans enjoy.

*Courtesy of the National Wood Flooring Association