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The Tale of Hardwood Floors & Humidity

August 24, 2012 12:28 pm    Posted by schober    off

Humidity Levels

Depending on where you live, summertime might bring more than backyard BBQs, fresh vegetables and pool-time. Summer can also bring high humidity. If you have hardwood floors, there are a few things you need to know about hardwood and humidity levels to keep your floor in great shape.

Here’s the Hardwood Golden Rule: With solid or engineered hardwoods, you should aim to keep humidity levels in your home between 35% and 55%.

High Humidity Levels

Humidity High Arrow

If the humidity hits above 55%, you’re opening up a chance for moisture to seep into the wood. Too much moisture and the floor boards could begin to swell. This swelling can create pressure between the boards, which can cause the boards to warp or cup. This is true for both solid hardwoods and engineered hardwoods. Remember, while engineered hardwoods tend to be more stable than solid hardwoods, they are still susceptible to moisture.  

Low Humidity Levels

Humidity Low Arrow

While high moisture levels can damage your floor, it’s not the only thing to watch out for. If the humidity level drops below 35%, low moisture levels can also be a problem. Low levels can cause the wood to dry out, which, in turn, could weaken the wood, causing the floor to splinter. It could also lead the floor to “check”, meaning that it could split along the grain. This can also damage the finish, which would become an issue during your regular maintenance.

Keeping Humidity Levels in Check

So how you can prevent potential damage? Check the humidity levels in the rooms where you have your hardwood floors installed using a humidistat or a hydrometer – they’re both available in hardware stores or home centers. If the humidity levels are beyond the 35% – 55% range, then make adjustments. If the levels are too high, use a dehumidifier or turn up the air conditioning. Either will lower the humidity levels. If you need to raise the humidity level, try a humidifier to boost the overall moisture in the room.

By maintaining the humidity levels in your home, you will help to ensure your floor remains covered by our warranties and keep it in shape to perform its best.

Patrick Schober, a Customer Relations and Technical Services intern for the summer of 2012, is the first member of his family to work at Armstrong. Outside of work, he is busy trying to finish his degree, and enjoys riding his bike along the back roads of Lancaster County.

Editor’s Note: This blog post was written with the supervision of Dan Willard, Armstrong Technical Services Representative and Floor Board blogger.