Hardwood Flooring in Amarillo, TX from Gowdy Flooring

Why humidity control is crucial for hardwood flooring

Hardwood flooring adds stunning beauty and value to any home, but maintaining its condition requires understanding the critical role that humidity plays. Fluctuations in humidity levels can cause wood to expand and contract, which may lead to warping, cupping, and cracking. Controlling indoor humidity is essential to preserve the longevity and aesthetics of hardwood floors.

Understanding wood's response to humidity

Wood is a hygroscopic material, meaning it naturally absorbs and releases moisture from the surrounding air. Wood absorbs moisture in environments with high humidity, causing it to expand. Conversely, in dry conditions, wood releases moisture and contracts. These changes can stress the wood, potentially causing damage over time. Ideally, indoor humidity levels should be kept between 30% and 50% to minimize these effects.

Effects of uncontrolled humidity

Unmanaged humidity levels can severely impact hardwood floors:

  1. Cupping and crowning: Cupping occurs when the edges of a wood plank rise higher than its center, typically due to excess moisture beneath the floor. Crowning happens when the center of the plank is higher than the edges, often the result of trying to sand cupped wood too soon after moisture exposure.
  2. Cracking and splitting: During dry seasons or in heated indoor environments, low humidity can cause the wood to shrink and pull apart at the seams, leading to cracks and splits.
  3. Gapping: As wood contracts in response to low humidity, gaps can form between planks. While some gapping is normal and will close up with seasonal changes, excessive gapping may occur if humidity is not regulated.

Tips for managing indoor humidity

To protect your hardwood flooring from humidity-related damage, consider these strategies:

  1. Use humidifiers and dehumidifiers: Depending on the season and natural humidity levels, use devices to stabilize the indoor humidity.
  2. Maintain consistent temperatures: Use air conditioning in summer and heating in winter to help control the indoor climate and reduce the impact of external humidity changes.
  3. Install proper insulation: Good insulation helps stabilize the indoor environment by minimizing the influx of outside air.
  4. Choose the right underlayment: Select an underlayment that offers a moisture barrier when installing new hardwood floors, especially over concrete or below grade.

Your experts on hardwood flooring in Amarillo, TX

Properly controlling indoor humidity is essential for maintaining the beauty and durability of hardwood flooring. By understanding how wood interacts with moisture and taking steps to regulate indoor humidity, homeowners can ensure their hardwood floors remain a lasting and valuable feature of their home.

Gowdy Flooring is a dedicated hardwood flooring store in Amarillo, TX, that serves Amarillo, Canyon, Dumas, Borger, and Hereford, TX. Reach out to us for your flooring needs!