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

Sanding and Refinishing

Many of the houses in Central NY have floors which date back to the construction of the house. They usually vary between red oak, white oak, beech, cherry, and maple. Some of the older houses dating back to the 1800's also contain species such as ash, birch, and yellow pine. While the wood species vary between houses, most have one common trait; the natural beauty of the wood can usually be brought back whether the floor has been down for 20 years or 120 years. A lot of floors may look like they have seen their day, however many times with a sanding and refinishing, the floors come back with a new life. By sanding the wood down to its original raw, natural state, it opens up possibilities for homeowners to choose a natural finish look as well as a variety of different colors.

Hardwood Flooring Grades

Flooring grades help consumers determine the type of floor they are looking for.There are different types of grading for different types of floors, however with oak being the most popular type of floor, it is the most recognizable grading system. Oak is graded between a few different grades. A clear grade is a mostly uniform floor. It has few differentiations in the boards and gives you a consistent look throughout the entire floor. Select is the next grade. Select floors still have a more uniform look to them, however there are a few more knots and grains than there is in a clear grade floor.Following select grade floors are common grades. Common grades differ from the select grade and clear grade in the fact that they are less uniform of a look. Common grades show more minerals and knots as well as other natural marks. The grading system is used to differentiate the different types of floors based solely on appearance. All grades are durable, strong floors in which one grade is not superior to any other, they just give a basis to give the customer the type of look in which they are seeking.

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Janka Hardness Scale

The Janka Hardness Scale measures the amount of pressure it takes to push a steel ball into a piece of wood.  This helps users to better know the hardness of the floor. The numbers lower on the scale represent softer woods, while the larger numbers represent harder woods.  

Janka Scale and Steel Ball Picture

Wood Stack Picture