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Humidity: a great foe for hardwood flooring

Classically beautiful and faithfully durable, there’s simply nothing quite like solid hardwood floors. However, as tough and hard-wearing as this material is, it does have a few great foes that can ruin its glory. One of them is humidity. As hardwood planks are naturally porous, they often absorb moisture in air. In doing so, the end result is, unfortunately, plank expansion. Furthermore, once the humidity leaves the planks, warping can occur, leaving your hardwood flooring damaged. Avoid this scenario by keeping in mind the following advice.
The ideal degree of humidity
When slats absorb moisture from the air over a short period of time, they undergo fluctuations in humidity levels and eventually warp. Ideally, the best degree of humidity for hardwood floors is 45-55%. Aim to maintain this constant level of moisture in the air and your planks should be safe. To clarify, however, the issue is not always how much humidity is present, but rather, the constant fluctuations in humidity levels. As such, the goal is to eliminate – or at least minimize as much as possible – these fluctuations.
Seasonal changes
A major factor of humidity damage is seasonal changes. Certainly, this does depend on where you live, since some regions have less distinctive changes or none at all. Even so, it’s always a good idea to assess your hardwood floors regularly. In places that have a distinct winter climate, you may see small gaps that appear between planks in colder months. As long as they’re minimal there’s no need for concern. However, if there are larger, very distinctive gaps, bending, or cracks, then you’re looking at damage due to humidity. In such cases, unfortunately, your slats should be repaired or replaced.
Keep humidity out to avoid problems
Avoid humidity issues entirely by keeping humidity levels in check. Air conditioning is the best way to keep excessive humidity out in summer months or climates that are normally hot. A dehumidifier is also a great way to remove excess moisture from the air in the home. In colder regions or winter months, you may need to do the opposite and add moisture to the air with a humidifier, which would keep your planks from excessive gaping.
Need help figuring out which flooring is best for your home? Visit us at Dragon Scale Flooring today at our showroom in Laurel, MD to check out our wide array of material options.