How to ensure that your floor is problem-free when high humidity is present.
Wood flooring is one of the easiest types of flooring to maintain and is often much longer-lasting when compared to carpets or vinyl. However, one of the biggest drawbacks of any wood floor types is how they react to moisture. Laminate flooring, solid woods, and even engineered flooring are all vulnerable to the effects of moisture. A big increase in humidity is something that can affect wood floors badly. Depending on your floor type, manufacturers will recommend that humidity is kept between 40-70%RH (Relative Humidity). A humid summer can result in your floor being outside manufacturers guidelines, affecting your warranty.
What can happen flooring when humidity is too high?
High humidity affects your floor because each board expands as it absorbs increased moisture from the air. This results in your installed floor growing in size. If it cannot expand any more, it can cause wood flooring to be pushed upwards creating a bounce. This is called peaking or buckling.
However, all is not lost. There are many steps that can be taken to ensure a hot humid summer won't cause a flooring disaster in your home. Here are our tops tips :
If your Floor is not Fitted yet.
- Acclimatise Your Flooring
This will ensure that your floor adjusts to the current humidity in your home. Read our guide to acclimatising laminate flooring for lots more information.
- Leave Expansion Everywhere
Correct expansion gaps are 10-12mm. Don't just leave them at the walls. Ensure they are between rooms, around radiator pipes and at door frames. Your wood floor should not touch anything around the perimeter. Just one obstacle can cause your floor to rise up if it cannot expand. In higher humidity, the risk of this can be increased. You can read more about expansion gaps in our article - Wood Flooring Expansion Gaps.
The bigger an area, the more it will expand. Most manufacturers don't recommend installing floors past 7m in one direction. Some solid woods are limited to 5m. This includes between rooms. If you are planning a large install, talk to your floor fitter about hidden expansion gaps, floating saddles and increased expansion. It can help to ensure that the increased movement in a large installation is no problem.
If your wood or laminate floor has already been installed, hopefully, all of the advice above has been met. Of course, there are still lots of helpful things that you can do that will help your wood flooring in high humidity.
When a dehumidifier is left on an automatic setting, it will remove excess moisture from the air. This will greatly reduce the amount of moisture your wood flooring will absorb and most automatic settings will maintain humidity at around 50% RH. Ideal for any wood floor type and good for your health too.
- Ensure Extractor Fans Are Working
Steam can add a lot of extra unwanted moisture to your home. Ensure that the extractor fans are working in your home. This includes appliances such as dryers and oven hob extractors and bathroom extractor fans.
When you dry clothing in your home, the moisture is released into the air. This can then be absorbed by the wood and increase expansion.
Homes have many types of ventilation. Find out which type yours has and ensure it is working. Most commonly you will find trickle vents in the windows. Ensure they are opened and not blocked. Another common type is ventilation in brick or blockwork. It is important to check that these are not blocked. If you cannot find any type of ventilation, keeping windows open as much as possible is a great way to lower humidity in your home.
You may not want to do this during the summer, but ensure that all rooms are receiving at least a little heat when the temperature drops. This will help to dry out more humid air.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our team of experts at Wood Floor Warehouse.