Hardwood Floors & Humidity

Depending on where you live, winter may bring more than holidays, snowmen, and ski days. With winter usually comes low humidity levels. If you have hardwood floors (engineered or natural), 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 both solid and engineered hardwoods, you should aim to keep humidity levels in your home between 35% and 55%. Now here's why.

Low Humidity Levels

If the humidity level drops below 35%, it can be a problem for your hardwood. Low levels can cause the wood to dry out, which in turn could weaken the wood, resulting in the floor splintering. It could also lead the floor to split along the grain. This can also damage the finish, which would become an issue when it's time to clean your floors, or worse, make your floors uncomfortable to walk on.

High Humidity Levels

While low moisture levels can damage your floor, it’s not the only thing to watch out for. 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.

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.

Editor’s Note: This blog post was written with content provided in part by Armstrong.

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