Many people choose hardwood flooring for their homes because of its long-lasting beauty.
But, without proper care, the lifespan of the flooring can be cut short. The biggest threat to hardwood floors, and the most common cause of damage to them, is humidity.
This is because hardwood floors are made out of, well, wood! This organic material has the capacity to absorb and lose moisture in response to the environment around it. This is why maintaining humidity levels in your home is so important.
Experts suggest that the average humidity level in your home should stay between 30 and 50 percent. Follow these tips to maintain humidity levels and protect your hardwood floors:
The most common and most efficient way to measure humidity is to invest in a humidity meter. This device is kept in the house and electronically measures the moisture content of the air.
There are plenty of options on the market, so be sure to do enough research to find the best product for you. Look for good reviews online and consider brands specially dedicated to protecting floors.
Consider the size of the space you intend to measure and the variation of sunlight it receives throughout the day. For larger, more variant rooms, a fancier humidity meter may be needed. Otherwise, a simple and cheaper option should work just fine.
In the winter months, the air in our homes tends to be dry. This is caused by heating systems, both electric and in the form of fireplaces.
When the air is dry, the hardwood floors lose moisture, causing them to shrink and contract. This results in splintering, cracking, and gapping between the boards.
If your air is particularly dry in the cold winter months, consider using a humidifier to help. Using this every time you turn the heat on can negate the potential damage.
In the summer months, the air can be overly moist and humid, especially if you live in an area that receives plenty of storms.
When the wood absorbs too much moisture, it will expand, warp, and crack. Cupping and crowning occurs when the wood bulges or bends in the middle of the boards, a symptom of over-expansion.
You can maintain humidity in the summer by using an air conditioner or a dehumidifier. If you leave your house on vacation for a while, schedule these appliances to turn on every once in a while.
Another important tip is to avoid excessive water brought in from the outside. Leaks and spills should also be cleaned up immediately.
Custom Hardwood Flooring Installation
When installing hardwood floors, there are certain craftsmanship strategies involved which can help maintain humidity levels in the wood.
Leave it to the professionals at Atlas Floors Inc. to design and install your new hardwood floors! We have years of experience working with a variety of high quality woods for residents of Maryland and Virginia. Come visit our showroom today!