Wood floors are a popular choice for interior design. The material has a natural warmth, beauty, and structural integrity that many have come to love. Unfortunately, wood floors have their downsides too. They can be difficult to maintain and are vulnerable to the elements, particularly moisture.
Excessive moisture is one of the most common hardwood floor problems, and homeowners should be well-aware of this threat. Know the warning signs of moisture damage so you can remedy the problem.
Wood both absorbs moisture from the air and loses moisture to it. While this is a completely natural process, moisture content can go beyond ideal levels, compromising the appearance and durability of the material.
Excessive moisture can be caused by the following:
Relative humidity ranging between 30% and 50% and indoor temperature between 18 and 24°C are considered the best for human health and your hardwood flooring.
Likewise, installation mistakes can allow the floor to absorb too much moisture. The subfloor might still too wet when the wood floor was installed over it, or there are no vapour barriers installed in the crawls space or on top of the subfloor to block the moisture from the soil.
Moisture damage on wood floors is almost always visible. The problems occur primarily as a result of the wood expanding and contracting. This movement may present an unpleasant change in the appearance of your flooring.
1.Cracks and Separations Between Boards
Cracks and gaps between boards usually have something to do with the humidity. Some of these variations can be seasonal or weather-related. When it is humid, wood floors tend to swell up and close the gaps between boards. If there is enough space between them, the pressure may lead to cracking. Meanwhile, the wood shrinks and opens the gaps when it is dry. Dry wood may also become brittle, resulting in breakages along its grain.
Monitoring the room’s temperature and relative humidity level is highly recommended to minimize these shifts in the wood floor. For example, you can purchase a humidifier to add moisture to the air during the dry winter months.
When wood planks compress against each other, the edges raise higher than their centre. There are many reasons for hardwood floor cupping, most commonly when there’s more moisture at the bottom than at the top of the board, which dries more quickly.
As soon as the problem occurs, it is important to identify the cause and resolve it immediately. Otherwise, you may have to replace the whole floor. Luckily, for minor cases, fans and dehumidifiers can restore the shape and structure of your planks.
Crowning is the opposite of cupping, where the centre of the board is higher than the edges. This tends to happen when the plank’s top is exposed to more moisture than the bottom, such as spills. It can also occur when the wood floor is sanded soon after cupping, even before the moisture content returns to its normal level.
Buckling is when the floor panels are completely lifted up from the subfloor by several inches. This is an extreme reaction to moisture in wooden floors. This happens when exposure to water, like in floods, was left for an extended period of time. This is rarely an issue since homeowners will likely notice minor problems first before it gets to this stage. When buckling occurs, it’s imperative to have the flooring entirely redone.
Buckling wood floors are extremely unsafe. In addition to being tripping hazards, there is a likelihood that stepping on one can cause the individual to fall through the floor.
Determining moisture damage by spotting colour changes can be tricky. The dark spots may merely be part of the wood pattern or signs that the material is stricken with mould and mildew. Spotting on the surface level is normally easy to clean up, but deep-seated discolouration may require some intensive rework to prevent further damage.
Whether you’re facing standing water or high humidity, there are several ways to get the moisture out of hardwood floors.
While moisture may be the number one enemy of wood flooring, it can easily be remedied and taken under control through proactive measures. No matter what type of moisture damage you’re dealing with, it is best to seek the help of a wood flooring professional.
For a stress-free and exceptional flooring experience, get in touch with Capital Hardwood Flooring. We offer high-quality flooring products and services in the Greater Toronto Area. Call out hotline (416) 536-2200 for more information.