Tampa Bay

How Humidity Affects Your Flooring

Effects of Humidity on Your Flooring:
  1. Gapping: Inadequate humidity levels can result in decreased moisture content in your wooden floors, causing the wood planks to contract and create gaps between them. Typically, these gaps will close once humidity levels return to normal.
  2. Cupping: Moisture issues within your home can cause wood floor planks to appear concave, with their centers lower than the edges. This can occur due to humidity infiltrating from below the floor or excessively high overall humidity levels. Identifying the cause of cupping is crucial, and using a dehumidifier or other remedies can help restore balance.
  3. Crowning: Excessive surface moisture can cause a floorboard to curve, resulting in edges that are lower than the center. This can also happen if a floor has cupped previously and is sanded before returning to normal moisture levels.
  4. Splits: Extremely dry or humid conditions in your home can weaken wood flooring to the point of splitting or splintering along the grain. This type of damage is permanent as it compromises the finish, allowing moisture and debris to penetrate the wood and cause further harm over time.
  5. Buckling: The most significant risk associated with humidity and wood floors is buckling. This occurs when moisture causes the wood floor to expand, separating it from the subfloor. Even when humidity levels decrease, gaps may persist between the floorboards.
  6. Cracking: High humidity levels can lead wood floorboards to expand and press against adjacent boards, potentially causing damage or cracks in some cases.
To mitigate these risks to your floor and overall health, it is essential to maintain a balanced humidity level in your home. Use humidifiers and dehumidifiers as necessary and ensure proper ventilation. Keep in mind that humidity levels can fluctuate throughout the year, increasing during the summer and decreasing during the winter, particularly when using heating systems. Inadequate ventilation can also lead to condensation issues, potentially resulting in water damage to your floors. The average humidity levels in your home are influenced by your geographical location. For instance, if you reside in a humid tropical climate, you should consider the water resistance of your flooring. Engineered wood may be a suitable choice for humid climates, as it can better withstand variations in moisture levels.
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