Everyone enjoys the natural look of engineered hardwood floors, but that beauty comes with responsibility. Engineered hardwood floors are made of real wood, which means they—like all natural materials—react to changes in the surrounding environment. The humidity levels in your home can cause wood to expand or contract. If you’re not careful, these changes can cause serious damage to your home. Fortunately, you can prevent the issue with a little care and knowledge. Keep your floors in great shape by learning how humidity affects engineered hardwood—and what you can do to stop it.
Low Humidity and Dry Air
If humidity levels are too low, the air in your home will be dry. This in turn can dry out and weaken your wood floors. In low humidity, wood shrinks and contracts. This can lead to gaps appearing between the wood planks of your floor. Some gapping is normal—especially in areas that experience dry winters—but air that’s too dry can cause the wood to shrink too much, resulting in permanent damage. Dry air can also make wood brittle. This can lead to cracks, splits, or splinters within the wood.
High Humidity and Damp Air
When your home is excessively humid, your wood floors can absorb moisture from the air. This causes them to swell and expand, placing pressure on the planks. This pressure can lead to warping. Like gapping, a little bit of warping will solve itself once the moisture levels of the wood return to normal. However, more severe cases can result in cracking or buckling. Buckling occurs when the wood planks expand enough to pull completely away from the subfloor. Buckling and cracking often lead to permanently damaged planks that must then be replaced.
Finding the Balance for Your Home
Now that you know how humidity affects engineered hardwood floors, what can you do to prevent these issues? The best course of action is to monitor your home’s humidity levels. Aim for a relative humidity somewhere between 35 and 55 percent. Make sure your AC and heater are in working order so that you can reliably maintain a healthy humidity level. You can also use a humidifier or dehumidifier to fight off too-dry or too-moist air.
If you’re ready for gorgeous, reliable flooring in your home, stop by From the Forest today. Shop locally sourced and environmentally responsible products from one of the top engineered hardwood flooring manufacturers in the USA. We have everything you need to find the flooring option that fits your home perfectly.