Hardwood & Humidity

How Moisture Affects Hardwood Flooring

How does Moisture Affect Hardwood Flooring?

Hardwood is a popular flooring choice among homeowners for a number of reasons; not only is it an aesthetically appealing flooring type, but it's also known for its long-lasting durability. Not to mention, real hardwood can be sanded down and re-finished as desired, making it a versatile flooring option as well. 

Still, it's important for homeowners to understand that wood is a hygroscopic material, which means that it naturally absorbs moisture. Specifically, the amount of moisture absorbed into wood can be expressed in a percentage known as "moisture content," with typical moisture contents ranging anywhere from 30% to 250%.

What is the Best Humidity Level for Hardwood Floors?

Both high and low humidity levels can have an impact on wooden flooring. For example, in a humid environment, excess moisture will be absorbed by the wood. As a result, the flooring can swell over time, This can lead to the floor boards themselves becoming warped and the flooring surface becoming uneven, which can then present a tripping hazard. In serious cases of excess moisture retention in the wood, it is even possible that the wood may begin to rot.

On the other hand, extremely dry environments can also be harmful to wood flooring, resulting in shrinking. Wood flooring with a moisture content that is too low will also be more prone to cracking or becoming otherwise brittle.

How to Prevent Damage to Hardwood Floors

If you're thinking about having hardwood flooring installed in your home, there are some steps you should take to protect your new flooring from extremes in humidity. For starters, make sure your floors are installed properly by highly experienced and skilled professionals. Specifically, hardwood flooring materials should be given time to become acclimated to your home's environment before being installed.

As a homeowner, you can also take steps to control humidity levels within your home. If your home is naturally dry, consider investing in a humidifier. If humidity levels are high within your home, a de-humidifier can help keep it under control, which will help you keep your floors from becoming warped or damaged by moisture.

To learn more about hardwood floors and humidity, contact Mazzullo & Sons Carpet One Floor & Home or visit our showroom in Oneida, NY.