When it comes to choosing the perfect flooring option for a home, people have a lot of questions. If engineered wood floors have caught your eye, you might be wondering how well they hold up to water damage and temperature changes. After all, one of the downfalls of solid hardwood is that it’s incredibly prone to expansion and contraction. Do engineered wood floors expand as well? While engineered hardwood is more moisture-resistant than solid wood, it does still expand. Learn more about what causes this expansion and what you can do to protect your floors with this guide.
Reasons for Expansion
Understanding what causes engineered wood floors to expand can help you prevent major damage. Both engineered and solid hardwood consist of real wood and other natural materials. Engineered hardwood’s plywood or high-density fiberwood core makes it more stable, but it still reacts to temperature and humidity changes in the air just as any other piece of real wood does. In warm, humid environments, the wood planks expand as they absorb moisture from the air. While atmospheric changes are some of the most common reasons why engineered wood floors expand, other types of water damage—such as spills, leaks, or plumbing issues—can also cause this issue.
Leave an Expansion Gap
An expansion gap is one of the most reliable ways to avoid serious issues with your engineered wood flooring. An expansion gap is simply a narrow space around the edges of the room. This space is less than an inch wide, but the specific measurements will vary depending on what type of wood flooring you have. By leaving this space open during installation, you give your floor room to fluctuate with the temperature changes. When the wood planks expand, they will expand into the gap rather than pushing against each other and rising off the subfloor.
Expanding floors don’t have to ruin the beautiful dark engineered wood flooring in your home. Proper installation and humidity control can prevent major issues in your wood flooring and keep your rooms looking beautiful and pristine for years to come.