Hardwood floors do a lot for a home, but there can be some challenges with them. Some will think they can’t have hardwood in their home because of where they live. Dry climates and high altitudes expose hardwood floors to conditions that other areas don’t.
Hardwood Floor Problems; Cupping, Buckling & More
Hardwood floors are in a sense a living material unlike artificial flooring and time as well as the conditions in your home will affect it. Higher dry climates will prevent your floor from getting the moisture that it needs. You will see this happening if you notice dry cupping that is caused by the difference between the top of the hardwood and the plywood substrate of the underlying floor. When these layers start to get dry, they will unevenly contract with the top layer contracting faster than the layer below leading to cracks and other defects.
How to Choose Hardwood Floor Color & Type
When you choose your hardwood, choose wisely. The thickness and density will affect how the flooring will react in drier climates and less humidity is absorbed by thicker wood. Once a floor is warped there isn’t anything that can be done to correct it. Changes in humidity and temperatures can happen quickly in dry climates so it’s better to have wood prepared for when it happens. There aren’t any hardwoods that are perfect but using good materials will settle properly as time goes on. Cherry and walnut are stable woods and good to use as they will keep their shape even when there are changes in humidity and temperatures. They might still warp over time, but not to the point that it will have an impact on the function of the floor. When you purchase hardwood flooring you need to remember that it wasn’t manufactured in the environment that it’s to be installed in. Materials that are cold will contract, shrink and split and can lead to the underlying plywood being exposed. Higher altitudes will have colder temperatures so it’s imperative to have heating in the winter to prevent these changes from happening. Tension can be put on hardwood floors causing damage when humidity becomes a problem. Humidity seeps into wood slower than air and will move through the wood in waves. It’s important to keep humidity levels at a constant level to reduce the waves in the layers of wood. This will allow the wood to contract and expand at a constant rate rather than randomly. You can have humidity integrated directly into your HVAC unit. To prevent the wood from changing too much after installation it’s important to acclimate the hardwood to allow these changes to happen beforehand. The wood should sit in the room it’s going to be installed in for at least three days. This is more important in climates that can get dry as they can be tough in moist woods.
Hardwood Floor Installation in Charles Town & Eastern Panhandle of Berkeley & Jefferson Counties in WV | Winchester & Frederick County | Round Hill & Loudoun County | Fairfax County VA
To maintain your hardwood floors and have them last a lifetime you need to take care of them. Do your homework, choose wisely and be aware of the weather conditions you live in to take the proper steps. This will ensure they look great and stand the test of time. Contact Mike’s Custom Flooring for a consultation today!