effects of humidity on hardwood from Carpet One

Hardwood and Humidity in Laguna Niguel, CA

Wood is a naturally porous material, so humidity is almost always a factor when installing a hardwood floor. A newly cut piece of lumber has a moisture content (MC) – the amount of moisture absorbed into the wood – that ranges anywhere from 30 to 250 percent. Once dried, the MC drops down to between six to eight percent.

Moisture content is a concept a consumer needs to understand when shopping for hardwood floors because humidity increases that MC percentage causing the floors to swell. Homeowners need to know how humidity might damage their hardwood floors and what they can do about it.

How the Environment Affects Hardwood Floors

Since wood is porous, it absorbs moisture directly from the air, so swelling is a potential problem. High humidity may lead to cupping – the edges of the boards curling upward. Eventually, the wood may even begin to rot.

Unfortunately, excessively dry air is hard on floors, as well. Wood needs some moisture to remain supple and flexible. Without it, the boards may shrink, become fragile and break.

How to Avoid Moisture Control Problems

The key to keeping your beautiful wood flooring looking good regardless of the moisture in the air is proper installation and maintenance. Look for an installation company that specializes in hardwood floors. A local dealer will understand how to acclimate the wood floor to your home environment and avoid problems like swelling and shrinkage.

Ask questions as you shop for both the flooring material and installation company. Discuss different types of wood and how they do in your local environment, especially as  seasons change. Talk about the moisture control steps the installer plans to take regarding your new floor.

Comparison shop for wood flooring, as well. Moisture control varies based on wood species and cut. Look for products designed to be more stable with your environment. If you live in a humid region, look specifically for wood that does well in humidity.

High humidity doesn’t mean you can’t have beautiful hardwood floors. It just means you have to shop smart when buying wood and picking an installer.