How humidity can affect your hardwood floor

How humidity can affect your hardwood floor

Winter is right around the corner, and with winter comes snow and cold weather that will have you turning up the heat and enjoying nice evenings by the fire. Did you ever think about how these living conditions and changing humidity levels inside your home can affect your beautiful new hardwood floor?

Your hardwood floor is made of… wood! And wood is a natural material that reacts to changes in its environment even after it has been transformed into flooring. Yes, manufacturers have developed different types of hardwood floor constructions to “improve and control” the wood’s natural reaction to changes in humidity. But keeping humidity at the recommended level is still essential for keeping your hardwood floor looking great, as well as for a healthy home environment.

PROPER HUMIDITY LEVELS 

Proper humidity level for your health

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists indoor air quality among its top environmental health threats. There are three key components to healthy air: it must be fresh, clean, and have the proper humidity level.

The ideal relative humidity for your health and comfort is about 40-50%.

  • During winter: It may need to be between 30-40% to prevent condensation on your windows and other surfaces. Relative humidity settings that are too low may cause respiratory infections, allergic rhinitis, and asthma.
  • During summer: It can move up to 50-55%. Relative humidity that is too high may have health effects due to mold growth, dust mite infestations, as well as certain bacteria and viruses.

Proper humidity level for your hardwood floor

The National Wood Floor Association (NWFA) states that normal relative humidity levels should range between 30%-50% to ensure successful long-term performance of your wood flooring.

DRY SEASON

Your hardwood floor during the dry season

During the winter, when homes are heated and the air is dry, wood flooring loses some of its moisture and contracts or shrinks as a result.

Hardwood flooring dryness problems:

  • Gapping
    It is normal that when relative humidity is lower than recommended,  wood plank shrinks, therefore thin gaps can appear between wood planks. Even if the right term to use is gaps, these small gaps between the wood planks can sometimes be called cracks or spaces between wood planks by consumers. Having gaps between your wood planks is normal, and a homeowner should be prepared for it to occur. Once humidity levels rise again, the hardwood floor will expand and most gaps will close up again.
  • Splits & Checks
    When the wood is faced with extreme conditions, it can be stressed beyond its limitations. Therefore the wood weakens, making your hardwood floor more brittle and increasing the likelihood of damage or splintering. The boards themselves may split, check or crack in the centre or at the ends, or both, along the grain, damaging the finish. This damage is permanent, because your hardwood floor finish is cracked—your wood is no longer protected.

Preventing dryness problems

  • Maintain a proper humidity level in your home by using a humidifier during the winter months.
  • Be aware that wood stoves and electric heat tend to create very dry conditions, so make sure to use your humidifier when these are on.
  • If you are a “snowbird” and leave your home unoccupied for weeks at a time, make sure to always keep temperature and relative humidity at recommended level.

HUMID SEASON

Your hardwood floor during the Humid Season

During warm and humid summers, your hardwood floor will absorb moisture from the air, swelling and expanding as a result. This expansion can create pressure between the boards, which can cause the boards to warp, cup or crack. Both cupping and crowning are natural reactions to moisture and should not be of concern if they occur only to a minor extent. More severe cases, however, indicate a serious moisture problem.

Hardwood floor moisture problems:

  • Cupping:
    When a wood plank cups, its edges become higher than its centre. This is a reaction due to a humidity level disproportion in the wood plank. There can be numerous causes to cupping, including an excessive level of relative humidity, relative humidity migrating from a basement or crawl space, water infiltration, etc.
  • Crowning:
    Crowning is the opposite of cupping. The middle of the board is higher than the board’s edges. This can occur when the surface of the floor encounters moisture. It most often occurs when a floor has been sanded too soon after cupping.
  • Buckling:
    Buckling is one of the most extreme reactions to moisture that can occur with hardwood flooring. It happens when the floor expands beyond expansion gaps and literally pulls away from the subfloor, as high as several inches. Once the humidity drops, the floor may shrink back, but it is possible that you may see spaces between the wood boards.
  • Cracking:
    When extensive moisture or humidity causes the wood to expand significantly, adjoining boards start pressing against each other. In extreme cases, this increased pressure can cause the affected boards to lose their structural integrity and crack.

Preventing moisture problems:

  • Make sure you leave free expansion space around the perimeter of your floor when installed. For aesthetic purposes, they are usually covered with baseboards.
  • Maintain proper humidity levels with an air conditioner, dehumidifier or by turning on your heating system periodically during the summer months.
  • If you go away on a long summer vacation, leave the A/C on.
  • Avoid excessive exposure to water from tracking during periods of inclement weather.
  • Clean your hardwood floor with a cloth lightly dampened with a recommended hardwood floor cleaning product.
  • Choose a good quality engineered hardwood floor that will fit with your needs.

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Terry Nusser
Terry Nusser
Use Air Professionals for heating and a/c. Very good service and knowledge of my equipment. This time the tech determined my humidifier had been turned off and not working. Good find.
Gerald Griffin
Gerald Griffin
Was in need of immediate assistance with my AC. The technician (Antonio) arrived early and got to work with determining the problem. Sadly the unit (28 years old) was not worth repairing as the compressor was shot. An sales engineer was called and arrived within minutes of request. He did an evaluation of my needs and priced out a new unit within an hour. A new system will be installed shortly.Please note that this all occurred on one of the hottest days of the year. The prompt, professional service was a breath of fresh air as compared to the runarounds I received from any of their competitors.If you are looking for old school service and quick response times to your needs, call Air Professionals.Update; August 9, 2023Had a nasty odor (fishy) coming from the vents of my newly installed AC/Heat Pump unit. Called with my concerns and a tech visit was immediately scheduled. Helmi Feizi arrived to investigate the incident. The problem originally occurred when we shut the unit down so windows could be opened on a cool day. When the unit was turned back on, the smell happened. I thought it might be a condensation line clog. Helmi spent quite some time checking everything out and we couldn’t repeat the problem. Nothing was discovered that may have been the cause. But Air Professionals took my concern seriously and had a service ticket on their schedule promptly.I wonder just how many cumulative years exist if all of the years of service were added up of the people in the field. These people really know their stuff. Like I said before. It’s the people that make a company great. Air Professionals is great.Jerry Griffin
Philip Valese
Philip Valese
Hilmi is professional and knowledgeable. He provides clear explanations of the work performed in addition to any testing or troubleshooting.
Bobbie Schneider
Bobbie Schneider
Anthony came within the stated timeframe, was professional, reviewed what he had done and what I should plan for the fall. Asked if I had any questions before he left. "A" plus for the entire service call.
Lauren Wright
Lauren Wright
Nick was outstanding in both his service and professional approach. He was very responsive to me when I needed his assistance. Thank you very much !
Rusty Johnson
Rusty Johnson
Greg L of Air Professionals diagnosed the problem with my AC unit and repaired on the spot. Very professional. I will use Air Professionals in the future to maintain my Heating and Cooling system.
Teri Malone
Teri Malone
Collin was very thorough! And I barely knew he was here!
Robert Natuk
Robert Natuk
Technicians are knowledgeable, friendly, and reliable. They keep you informed as to when they will arrive, and let you know of issues they may find. We have used Air Professionals for almost 2 decades and are very pleased with their service.
Herb Bohler
Herb Bohler
Greg was on time, thorough, and professional (as all technicians have been). From the friendly voice on the phone to excellent service, AirPro will always get my heating and cooling business.
singinjohnny
singinjohnny
Greg, our service representative is always considerate and great to work with. He did a fine job, as he always does, in maintaining our ductless HVAC system.
Pamela Spain
Pamela Spain
I cannot say enough good things about this company. My AC broke this past Friday ~ Memorial Day Weekend! AIR sent Helmi within a few hours to look at the system to see if it could be fixed. It could not (it was over 20 years old) and within a few hours Sean came to discuss our options and designed a system that would be best for us. He was here for 3 hours going over all the details. He could not have been nicer and was patient and explained all. We got the paperwork done that night and as of this morning we are good to go to have the AC replaced in our home. As everyone knows, having your AC break at the start of the summer is not fun ~ but Sean was awesome and made the experience as good as it could be! I highly recommend Sean and this company!!
Scott x
Scott x
The most amazing people -Tiffany & Seanwent way out of their way to spend time to make me smarter - with nothing in it for themjust to do the right thingTrust them above all else
sunday bradlee
sunday bradlee
Hilmi is polite, professional and knowledgable. I have found this company always provides excellent service.
Mark Keller
Mark Keller
Nicholas was just AWESOME !!!! Very knowledgeable and answered every question I had (and I had a LOT). Great experience with Air Professionals and will always be using them for my HVAC needs.
Jason Ganovsky
Jason Ganovsky
So grateful for Sean and the crew at Air Professionals! It's invaluable these days to find a source of honest, impartial advice. If you have a chance to work with them, take it!
Daniel Ang
Daniel Ang
HIlmi is very patient and detail oriented. Thanks.
Lawrence Schwartz
Lawrence Schwartz
We couldn't be more pleased with the entire process of ordering through installing our replacement Carrier a/c system. From the owner to the project manager to the installation crew and office staff - all provided courteous, knowledgeable, and professional service while taking the time to answer many questions. Fairly priced, highly recommended!
Melissa Davis
Melissa Davis
Greg was fantastic. He went above and beyond and was a great communicator.
Margaret Dailey
Margaret Dailey
Anthony Dileo arrived on time and was quite professional. He did the maintenance on my A/C in a timely manner and asked if I had questions or concerns. He was very polite.
Chad Farer
Chad Farer
Great service, on time and always do a complete job. They also are great at answering all questions asked !!! Would direct anyone to this company to anyone who asks about this type of work !!I would like to add that your tech picked up the smell of gas outside. Turns out there was a small leak which is now corrected !
Henry Miller
Henry Miller
Brian was very professional and helpful as he performed annual preventative maintenance on our AC units. Highly competent and made his evaluation relatable to someone who is not trained in this industry. I highly recommend this company.
Lindsay Licwinko
Lindsay Licwinko
Always on time, always friendly and always professional. I use them for all of my HVAC repairs and servicing and I always refer them to friends and family.
Deborah Labbadia
Deborah Labbadia
Greg came for a “no AC” problem for my tenant within an hour of my calling. He quickly found the issue, fixed it and then looked at everything just to be sure there were no other big issues. Really appreciate the prompt and professional service. Highly recommend!
Jane Beale
Jane Beale
Everything good!
Elliot Stetson
Elliot Stetson
Greg was the technician who did the Air Conditioner maintenance and went above and beyond the basics. He did an excellent job, meticulous and careful. Air Professionals put my existing unit in and have been excellent in their follow up service. No one regret.
Karen Hoff
Karen Hoff
On time, efficient, took care of our concerns
Sharon Poinier
Sharon Poinier
Our technician, Ryan, was the most knowledgeable one we have ever had. He explained everything in detail, and taught me so much about our A/C system. He gave me tips on various steps we could take to optimize the life and efficiency of our system. He also gave us valuable information about heat pumps and the ways in which they have been improved in recent years. Also, he explained how much a heat pump could save us in energy costs. Definitely food for thought!
Gailen Hart
Gailen Hart
Air Professionals did excellent job replacing 19 year old HVAC unit with new Carrier unit - Heat Pump, Heating, and A/C.Completed job in one day. Very clean installation.Tech showed us how to operate new unit.Also really like new WiFi connection.And the energy rebates and Air Professional discounts made this a very good deal.
Norman Torgerson
Norman Torgerson
Greg, Outstanding service; thorough, efficient and informative! Air Professionals -- highly recommended!
Bonnie Davis
Bonnie Davis
Service was on time and very efficient. Service person Ryan was very courteous and respectful of my home. He had some very helpful suggestions for safety of my A/C and furnace. I highly recommend this company and their service people.
Irish God
Irish God
Tech came as scheduled.He resolved the issue in a few minutes.Definitely recommend.
Cheryl Brown
Cheryl Brown
Excellent service, always on time. Happy to have heat!
Cheryl Smagala
Cheryl Smagala
We have been using Air Professionals for years for both our heating and AC systems. We have always been pleased with their service and their attention to details. I would highly recommend them.
Bruce Stout
Bruce Stout
Air Professionals are truly professional. Competent, considerate and on time. Explain everything that did and found clearly and concisely.
andrew miller
andrew miller
Very professional in every way.
shield maiden
shield maiden
My AC went down and I called Air Professionals. They arrived within half and hour and Greg had them issue repaired within 20 mins! They are always polite and professional and do and excellent job. Highly recommend them!!!
Mike K.
Mike K.
I've used their services in both the spring and fall and have always been completely satisfied. Professional, prompt and courteous attention to detail from the beginning scheduling to the final service has always been my experience.
Haralambo Balabanis
Haralambo Balabanis
Excellent job very happy with the service
Elise Korn
Elise Korn
They are knowledgeable and stand by their work all the way through. Professional and very pleasant to work with.
Kathleen Rule
Kathleen Rule
Always professional and solve the problem promptly!
Joe M.
Joe M.
Greg announced his arrival in advance and got here on time to service my furnace under the annual maintenance plan. Everything checked out. A few minor issues were remedied and I could not be happier with the service.
Richard Thompson
Richard Thompson
Greg kept me informed about his expected arrival time. When he arrived he took a look at my furnace, diagnosed the issues, and fixed them while explaining to me exactly what the problem was. I could not have asked for a better experience and would recommend him to anyone.
Michael Salerno
Michael Salerno
I have been using Air Professionals for nearly two decades and they continously exceed my expectations. Thank you!
Renni Turillo
Renni Turillo
I’ve been using Air Professionals since a “real” person used to answer the phone!! They have always been very professional, courteous and knowledgeable. They are always on time, always polite and a pleasure to do business with ~
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Terry Nusser
Terry Nusser
Use Air Professionals for heating and a/c. Very good service and knowledge of my equipment. This time the tech determined my humidifier had been turned off and not working. Good find.
Gerald Griffin
Gerald Griffin
Was in need of immediate assistance with my AC. The technician (Antonio) arrived early and got to work with determining the problem. Sadly the unit (28 years old) was not worth repairing as the compressor was shot. An sales engineer was called and arrived within minutes of request. He did an evaluation of my needs and priced out a new unit within an hour. A new system will be installed shortly.Please note that this all occurred on one of the hottest days of the year. The prompt, professional service was a breath of fresh air as compared to the runarounds I received from any of their competitors.If you are looking for old school service and quick response times to your needs, call Air Professionals.Update; August 9, 2023Had a nasty odor (fishy) coming from the vents of my newly installed AC/Heat Pump unit. Called with my concerns and a tech visit was immediately scheduled. Helmi Feizi arrived to investigate the incident. The problem originally occurred when we shut the unit down so windows could be opened on a cool day. When the unit was turned back on, the smell happened. I thought it might be a condensation line clog. Helmi spent quite some time checking everything out and we couldn’t repeat the problem. Nothing was discovered that may have been the cause. But Air Professionals took my concern seriously and had a service ticket on their schedule promptly.I wonder just how many cumulative years exist if all of the years of service were added up of the people in the field. These people really know their stuff. Like I said before. It’s the people that make a company great. Air Professionals is great.Jerry Griffin
Philip Valese
Philip Valese
Hilmi is professional and knowledgeable. He provides clear explanations of the work performed in addition to any testing or troubleshooting.
Bobbie Schneider
Bobbie Schneider
Anthony came within the stated timeframe, was professional, reviewed what he had done and what I should plan for the fall. Asked if I had any questions before he left. "A" plus for the entire service call.
Lauren Wright
Lauren Wright
Nick was outstanding in both his service and professional approach. He was very responsive to me when I needed his assistance. Thank you very much !
Rusty Johnson
Rusty Johnson
Greg L of Air Professionals diagnosed the problem with my AC unit and repaired on the spot. Very professional. I will use Air Professionals in the future to maintain my Heating and Cooling system.
Teri Malone
Teri Malone
Collin was very thorough! And I barely knew he was here!
Robert Natuk
Robert Natuk
Technicians are knowledgeable, friendly, and reliable. They keep you informed as to when they will arrive, and let you know of issues they may find. We have used Air Professionals for almost 2 decades and are very pleased with their service.
Herb Bohler
Herb Bohler
Greg was on time, thorough, and professional (as all technicians have been). From the friendly voice on the phone to excellent service, AirPro will always get my heating and cooling business.
singinjohnny
singinjohnny
Greg, our service representative is always considerate and great to work with. He did a fine job, as he always does, in maintaining our ductless HVAC system.
Pamela Spain
Pamela Spain
I cannot say enough good things about this company. My AC broke this past Friday ~ Memorial Day Weekend! AIR sent Helmi within a few hours to look at the system to see if it could be fixed. It could not (it was over 20 years old) and within a few hours Sean came to discuss our options and designed a system that would be best for us. He was here for 3 hours going over all the details. He could not have been nicer and was patient and explained all. We got the paperwork done that night and as of this morning we are good to go to have the AC replaced in our home. As everyone knows, having your AC break at the start of the summer is not fun ~ but Sean was awesome and made the experience as good as it could be! I highly recommend Sean and this company!!
Scott x
Scott x
The most amazing people -Tiffany & Seanwent way out of their way to spend time to make me smarter - with nothing in it for themjust to do the right thingTrust them above all else
sunday bradlee
sunday bradlee
Hilmi is polite, professional and knowledgable. I have found this company always provides excellent service.
Mark Keller
Mark Keller
Nicholas was just AWESOME !!!! Very knowledgeable and answered every question I had (and I had a LOT). Great experience with Air Professionals and will always be using them for my HVAC needs.
Jason Ganovsky
Jason Ganovsky
So grateful for Sean and the crew at Air Professionals! It's invaluable these days to find a source of honest, impartial advice. If you have a chance to work with them, take it!
Daniel Ang
Daniel Ang
HIlmi is very patient and detail oriented. Thanks.
Lawrence Schwartz
Lawrence Schwartz
We couldn't be more pleased with the entire process of ordering through installing our replacement Carrier a/c system. From the owner to the project manager to the installation crew and office staff - all provided courteous, knowledgeable, and professional service while taking the time to answer many questions. Fairly priced, highly recommended!
Melissa Davis
Melissa Davis
Greg was fantastic. He went above and beyond and was a great communicator.
Margaret Dailey
Margaret Dailey
Anthony Dileo arrived on time and was quite professional. He did the maintenance on my A/C in a timely manner and asked if I had questions or concerns. He was very polite.
Chad Farer
Chad Farer
Great service, on time and always do a complete job. They also are great at answering all questions asked !!! Would direct anyone to this company to anyone who asks about this type of work !!I would like to add that your tech picked up the smell of gas outside. Turns out there was a small leak which is now corrected !
Henry Miller
Henry Miller
Brian was very professional and helpful as he performed annual preventative maintenance on our AC units. Highly competent and made his evaluation relatable to someone who is not trained in this industry. I highly recommend this company.
Lindsay Licwinko
Lindsay Licwinko
Always on time, always friendly and always professional. I use them for all of my HVAC repairs and servicing and I always refer them to friends and family.
Deborah Labbadia
Deborah Labbadia
Greg came for a “no AC” problem for my tenant within an hour of my calling. He quickly found the issue, fixed it and then looked at everything just to be sure there were no other big issues. Really appreciate the prompt and professional service. Highly recommend!
Jane Beale
Jane Beale
Everything good!
Elliot Stetson
Elliot Stetson
Greg was the technician who did the Air Conditioner maintenance and went above and beyond the basics. He did an excellent job, meticulous and careful. Air Professionals put my existing unit in and have been excellent in their follow up service. No one regret.
Karen Hoff
Karen Hoff
On time, efficient, took care of our concerns
Sharon Poinier
Sharon Poinier
Our technician, Ryan, was the most knowledgeable one we have ever had. He explained everything in detail, and taught me so much about our A/C system. He gave me tips on various steps we could take to optimize the life and efficiency of our system. He also gave us valuable information about heat pumps and the ways in which they have been improved in recent years. Also, he explained how much a heat pump could save us in energy costs. Definitely food for thought!
Gailen Hart
Gailen Hart
Air Professionals did excellent job replacing 19 year old HVAC unit with new Carrier unit - Heat Pump, Heating, and A/C.Completed job in one day. Very clean installation.Tech showed us how to operate new unit.Also really like new WiFi connection.And the energy rebates and Air Professional discounts made this a very good deal.
Norman Torgerson
Norman Torgerson
Greg, Outstanding service; thorough, efficient and informative! Air Professionals -- highly recommended!
Bonnie Davis
Bonnie Davis
Service was on time and very efficient. Service person Ryan was very courteous and respectful of my home. He had some very helpful suggestions for safety of my A/C and furnace. I highly recommend this company and their service people.
Irish God
Irish God
Tech came as scheduled.He resolved the issue in a few minutes.Definitely recommend.
Cheryl Brown
Cheryl Brown
Excellent service, always on time. Happy to have heat!
Cheryl Smagala
Cheryl Smagala
We have been using Air Professionals for years for both our heating and AC systems. We have always been pleased with their service and their attention to details. I would highly recommend them.
Bruce Stout
Bruce Stout
Air Professionals are truly professional. Competent, considerate and on time. Explain everything that did and found clearly and concisely.
andrew miller
andrew miller
Very professional in every way.
shield maiden
shield maiden
My AC went down and I called Air Professionals. They arrived within half and hour and Greg had them issue repaired within 20 mins! They are always polite and professional and do and excellent job. Highly recommend them!!!
Mike K.
Mike K.
I've used their services in both the spring and fall and have always been completely satisfied. Professional, prompt and courteous attention to detail from the beginning scheduling to the final service has always been my experience.
Haralambo Balabanis
Haralambo Balabanis
Excellent job very happy with the service
Elise Korn
Elise Korn
They are knowledgeable and stand by their work all the way through. Professional and very pleasant to work with.
Kathleen Rule
Kathleen Rule
Always professional and solve the problem promptly!
Joe M.
Joe M.
Greg announced his arrival in advance and got here on time to service my furnace under the annual maintenance plan. Everything checked out. A few minor issues were remedied and I could not be happier with the service.
Richard Thompson
Richard Thompson
Greg kept me informed about his expected arrival time. When he arrived he took a look at my furnace, diagnosed the issues, and fixed them while explaining to me exactly what the problem was. I could not have asked for a better experience and would recommend him to anyone.
Michael Salerno
Michael Salerno
I have been using Air Professionals for nearly two decades and they continously exceed my expectations. Thank you!
Renni Turillo
Renni Turillo
I’ve been using Air Professionals since a “real” person used to answer the phone!! They have always been very professional, courteous and knowledgeable. They are always on time, always polite and a pleasure to do business with ~
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