We react to sudden temperature changes in the same way our wood floors do. What’s comfortable for us is comfortable for our wood, and you’ll notice your floor change with the seasons.
While wood makes an excellent choice for flooring, consider keeping your house at a specific temperature and humidity range so it stays attractive and durable for years to come.
The Ideal Temperature for Hardwood Floors
Although hardwood floor is made from trees that are no longer living, it reacts to temperature and humidity changes as if it were still alive. Most wood requires a temperature range of 65 to 75 degrees to keep structurally sound depending on materials and manufacturing, so remember those numbers to increase your floor’s lifespan.
All floor materials react to sudden temperatures in the same way, whether you choose engineered, laminate or solid wood flooring for your home or business. The correct temperature range will maintain any wood species, from oak to walnut, bamboo or mahogany.
Flooring manufacturers design wood to be kept at a consistent indoor temperature. Keeping your floors looking their best for your home or office requires a stable temperature and humidity range. The manufacturer’s warranty won’t cover the damage if your boards split or break, so find a balance between 60 to 80 degrees to stay on the safe side.
Wood Flooring That’s Too Cold
So what happens to wood when it gets cold? If you live in an area that experiences all four seasons, you might notice wood floors splitting in the winter, often due to a lack of moisture. To avoid breaking or contracting wood, turn your heat to a comfortable temperature. However, a heater can remove moisture from the air, and since wood is affected by low humidity, be sure to also use a humidifier.
Wood Flooring That’s Too Warm
When you live in a hotter climate, your floor can react by expanding and warping. To avoid extensive damage, ensure you keep your air conditioner at the right temperature for correct humidity levels, so your floor stays intact. If you leave for an extended summer vacation, leave the AC on so that you return to healthy floors.
The Ideal Humidity Range for Hardwood Floors
Depending on where you live, you might experience a dryer or more humid climate that can change the look of your hardwood floor. The ideal humidity for floors is between 35-55%, which is also ideal for you, so making sure you strike a balance in your home will ensure healthier and stronger flooring. Further, this humidity level for wood flooring is recommended seven days before any new wood floor installation and maintained for a healthy wood floor environment.
Low Humidity and Wood Flooring
When it’s cold and wet, your first reaction is to heat your space to make your home more comfortable. However, when we add heat, our humidity levels plummet and make our air dry. Dry air and low humidity affect our skin and sinuses and they also build static electricity, which can cause discomfort around our home. Our wood floors react to this type of climate in the same negative way.
If moisture is low, your hardwood floor can shrink. If you decide to upgrade your space and notice your new hardwood floor is making cracking noises, low humidity is usually the culprit. A wood floor can also make popping sounds when subjected to dry air for an extended period, so it’s good to know these signs before installing wood in your space.
If dryness continues, you may begin to see gaps forming along the sides and ends of your wood boards. Gaps can lead to splitting or cracking and cause permanent damage to your floors. You’ll want to couple your heating with a humidifier so that your floor retains moisture and stays together.
High Humidity and Wood Flooring
Here in Colorado, our humidity averages around 20-25%. Low humidity and wood floors don’t go together, so use a humidifier when humidity levels are at their lowest to keep your floor from cracking.
Alternately, with extra water in the air, wood can expand. You might think it could shrink back to its original size later on, and everything will go back to normal. However, shrinking wood can cause crushed edges and permanent damage to the planks, and you might also see gaps between the boards. Be sure to stay in tune with your home or business’s common humidity range to act accordingly.
How to Keep Your Wood Floor Temperature Consistent
To maintain your wood floor’s structural stability, adjust your home’s humidity and temperature levels accordingly. Your hardwood will thank you for it, and you’ll be more comfortable as well.
To avoid shrinking, swelling or expanding wood altogether, keep consistent climate levels in your home or office. Depending on where you live, there are a couple of ways to ensure this, including:
- Humidifiers: When your space is cold, and you decide to turn on the heater, turn your humidifier on as well — this will combat dry air and make sure your wood retains the right amount of moisture during the winter season.
- Dehumidifiers: When humidity increases, your wood can expand beyond its expansion gaps. To keep your floor intact, use a dehumidifier to eliminate too much moisture.
- Heaters: When your wood is too warm, it can expand and break. Use a heater to keep a consistent temperature that works for your floor.
- Air Conditioning: When you’re out of your home or office during a heatwave, keep your air conditioner on so that your floors hold their shape.
Additionally, when you live in climates that fall far below wood’s normal temperature range, you may want to consider cold weather flooring options such as carpet or engineered hardwood that will give it the best chances of sustaining itself. Engineered hardwood uses more layers to expand and maintain its structure. Its inner core is made of hardwood and plywood or fiberboard with a top veneer layer as a protective barrier against temperature and humidity changes.
Regardless of the installation method, your flooring will absorb or lose moisture with your space’s changing temperature and humidity conditions. You’ll want to hire trusted flooring professionals for installation to prevent issues and take care of your wood flooring using preventive measures.
Design Ideal Wood Flooring at Creative Floors in Vail, CO
Before upgrading your space with wood flooring, consider the best ways to maintain a consistent temperature and humidity range throughout your home. A great way to judge this is if you’re comfortable, your floor probably is too!
Trust Creative Floors when you’re ready to install hardwood flooring in your space. We’re a one-stop-shop for designing and installing floors for your home or office. We’ll help you choose suitable materials for your needs and provide you with aftercare instructions to keep your floor flawless and durable for a lifetime.