How Humidity Affects Your Hardwood Flooring and What Can You Do About It

Anyone who lives where the humidity is high often wishes they didn’t. Your glasses fog up the moment you step outside. Styling your hair is a gross waste of time since no amount of hairspray stands a chance against high humidity. It’s hot. It’s sticky. Humidity is miserable, and it’s around more often than not in many southern areas of the country. Even people who don’t live in the south deal with humidity, even though southerners know it’s nothing compared to a Florida summer. Humidity affects everything from your good mood to your hair, but it also affects your hardwood floors. Did you know that? If you didn’t, it’s time to get to know what the humidity is doing to ruin your gorgeous floors so you can protect them.

How Humidity Affects Wood Floors

  • splintering
  • swelling
  • warping
  • tearing

Humidity is measured on a percentage scale. The higher the percent, the more humid it is outside. For example, Floridians often experience humidity between 90 and 100 percent during the hottest months of the year. When it drops below 75 percent, Floridians celebrate that winter has finally arrived. However, you might not know that any humidity above 55 percent is wrecking your hardwood floors.

When the humidity is this high, moisture begins to creep into your floors. When moisture is in the wood, it swells. Have you ever noticed your front door is more difficult to open during the hottest months of the year? This happens to wooden doors all the time because the humidity swells the door, and it becomes more difficult to open as it’s stuck in its frame. The same goes for your floors. The only difference is wood floors are more likely to warp with moisture in them.

Don’t get too excited about low to no humidity, though. When the humidity drops below 35 percent, it opens up an array of additional problems for your floors. This is a problem that manifests by not allowing your wood to maintain an adequate level of moisture. When this occurs, your floors dry out. They begin to crack and splinter, and this causes the floors to look bad. If you live where there’s no humidity, your floors are in trouble, but your hair is amazing. If you live where there’s ample humidity, your floors begin to look as bad as your hair. The happy medium is simply to move somewhere with 50 percent humidity and never leave.

How Humidity Affects Your Hardwood Flooring and What Can You Do About It

How to Prevent Humidity From Destroying Your Floors

If you can’t just up and move somewhere with the perfect amount of humidity, it might be a good idea to learn what you can do to keep your floors looking good. You might not be able to control the humidity outside your home, but you can control it inside. If your floors are at risk for becoming too dry, you can use a machine called a dehumidifier to lower the humidity in your house. A humidifier, on the other hand, does the exact opposite if that’s your problem.

Keeping your floors looking beautiful isn’t that difficult, but you do need to know you’re not in a better position with either real hardwood or man-made wood. Both are susceptible to the humidity issues caused by extreme temperatures. There are always homeowners who assume installing real hardwood is the best option because it’s more durable and able to withstand, but it’s actually easier to destroy real hardwood than engineered hardwood. Choosing something man-made is a lot more cost-effective and durable, but it’s still susceptible to damage from humidity.

Something else you might want to keep in mind is your warranty. Some wood floors come with warranties that become null and void if you don’t properly care for them. It’s imperative to keep the humidity in your home between 35 percent and 55 percent to ensure your floors are in the best possible shape. Your warranties will last longer, your floors look better, and your hair always look fantastic at home. It helps to remember this is your house, and you are in charge of the humidity in it. Mother Nature doesn’t stand a chance.

This guest post was contributed by MacDonald Hardwoods. For over three decades, Macwoods has offered a large selection of hardwood flooring and installation services. If you’re in Denver area, be sure to check out their hardwood flooring installation classes. Know more about it here.