Fall is here, and cooler air is just around the corner. But while we’re getting ready to celebrate the fall in temperatures and humidity, your home is getting ready to face a new challenge. Drastic weather changes can have a surprising impact on hardwood floors. We’ll briefly discuss why here.

Shifting Humidity

Early fall is a great time to save on home energy costs. Cooler temperatures allow us to turn off the air conditioner and open the windows. Unfortunately, this can lead to rapid changes in indoor humidity levels. Wood planks tend to expand and contract as humidity rises and falls. Over time, this can lead to cracks in the planks themselves. It can also lead to planks buckling or warping. And since humidity levels are already volatile during seasonal changes, the fluctuations can prove especially challenging for hardwood floors.

Early Warning Signs

Fortunately, there are a few signs to watch for ahead of time. If the gaps between planks are completely filled, it means that humidity levels are causing expansion. Larger gaps between planks means that humidity levels are falling, causing them to dry out. We recommend maintaining indoor humidity levels between 35% and 55% (65% for engineered hardwood floors).

Temperature Changes

Remember that temperature changes can have a similar impact on hardwood floors. So, slight changes in the size of gaps between planks is normal. It’s when the changes are excessive that you may need to monitor humidity levels. You can use a hygrometer to monitor indoor humidity.

Engineered Hardwood: The Better Choice

Engineered hardwood floors have quickly gained popularity. These planks incorporate a layered design that features a stable core. They are more resistant to seasonal changes, as well as dents and spills.
Of course, engineered hardwood planks vary by manufacturer. So, it’s still important to check the documentation before installation. Some may still include recommended temperature and humidity levels.

Learn More

If you’re considering new floors, now is the time to begin planning. To get started, visit Griffin’s leading flooring experts at Cleveland Carpets and Floors today!