How does the indoor environment of your home affect your hardwood flooring?

When the temperature changes outside our homes, we automatically change it on the inside, turning our heating up or down or our air conditioning on or off to make ourselves comfortable; however, have you ever thought about the effect your living conditions are having on your hardwood flooring?

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Although solid wood flooring is made of ‘dead’ trees, this wood still reacts to the humidity and temperature changes of your home. Our skin is affected by high temperatures and high humidity and the same is true of your wooden floors, regardless of whether they are laminate, engineered wood or solid wood.

It does not matter how the flooring has been installed, as all wood floors will lose or absorb moisture if the conditions change rapidly or slowly within your home.

A maintained environment

All manufacturers and retailers of wood flooring, such as, store their products in a stable and maintained environment; therefore, the humidity and temperature conditions inside your home should be kept within a particular range for the designed flooring to perform as it should.

The range will depend on the manufacturer of the floor, but the temperature is normally between 60 and 80 degrees and the humidity range is between 35 per cent and 55 per cent. Wood floors do not like sudden changes in these conditions.

An unstable environment

When a wooden floor is installed in a home with large fluctuations in humidity and temperature, it is going to react. The floor will expand and swell when the humidity rises, which is why gaps are left between the floor and the wall. When this humidity jumps too quickly, the floor may expand beyond these gaps; when this happens, there is only one way for the wood floor to go and this is up! This leaves you with a buckled floor and although the floor may start to shrink back once the humidity reduces, the edges of the flooring are now crushed and damaged beyond repair. You may also see gaps between the boards.

On the other hand, if the humidity levels drop too low, you may see gaps appearing around the edge of the room and between the boards. They may also split or crack, causing permanent damage and an unsightly floor.

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