If you have hardwood floors, solid hardwood or engineered wood, there are a few things you need to understand about hardwood and humidity levels. The simple rule of hardwood is that you should try to maintain humidity levels in your home in the range of 35% and 55%. As the seasons change, and humidity levels fluctuate, this is especially true.
High Humidity Levels
If the humidity rises above 55%, you are taking a chance that moisture may seep into the wood. Too much moisture and the floorboards could begin to swell and result in cupping. This swelling can create pressure between the boards, which may also cause the boards to warp. If the pressure becomes too extreme, the boards can buckle, which will require costly board replacement and complete floor refinishing. This is true for both solid hardwoods and engineered hardwoods. Remember, while engineered hardwoods tend to be more stable than solid hardwoods, they are still susceptible to moisture caused by increased humidity.
Low Humidity Levels
While high moisture levels can damage your floor, it’s not the only thing to be aware of. If the humidity level drops below 35%, low moisture levels can also create a problem. Low humidity levels can cause the wood to dry out, which, could weaken the wood, causing the floor to splinter. It could also lead the floor to “check”, meaning that it could split along the grain. This would also damage the finish.