You know to keep liquids away from your hardwood floors and to clean up any spills as soon as they occur, but what about the natural moisture in the air? This, too, can damage your hardwood floors at certain levels. This article looks at how humidity affects hardwood floors and how to keep your home at the optimal humidity.

Hardwood floors in high humidity

The porous properties of wood make it absorb the moisture from the air. When the air around your hardwood floor is at high humidity levels, your flooring will absorb a lot of moisture, causing it to swell. This will cause the planks to push against each other, creating high levels of pressure which can make the planks warp and even crack. If you notice your planks cupping or crowning and lower the humidity soon enough, then you can reverse this problem before irreversible damage occurs.

Hardwood floors in low humidity

You don’t want your floors absorbing too much moisture, so you might think that low humidity is the way to go. But low humidity is also bad for your hardwood floors. If there is too little moisture in the air, then your planks will become too dry and will shrink, leaving gaps between the planks. While this problem usually resolves itself when moisture is reabsorbed, low humidity can also make your floors so brittle that the planks splinter and crack.

The optimum humidity for hardwood floors

The best humidity levels to keep your hardwood floors in good condition is between 35-55%. Placing a hygrometer in rooms with hardwood floors will allow you to monitor the humidity levels and keep them in check. If they rise above 55%, then you should use a dehumidifier to remove some of the moisture from the room. If you don’t have a dehumidifier, then turning on the air conditioning can have a similar effect.

When the humidity levels drop below 35%, you can use a humidifier to raise the humidity levels. Anything that creates steam will help you create a DIY way to raise the humidity, like boiling the kettle or boiling water on the stove, or leaving a hot shower running with the door open. Letting clothes air dry or placing a bowl of water in the sun will also add moisture to the air.

For more tips on looking after your hardwood floors, contact University Flooring Center today, serving Winston Salem, Greensboro, High Point, and Kernersville.

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