Hardwood Flooring in a Seasonal Environment
Humid Summers & Dry Winters - Do's and Don'ts
Northeast & Midwest
Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritime Provinces.
Most hardwood flooring options will work well in these environments assuming guidelines are followed. Our Hardwood flooring is kiln dried between 6-8% which means it is ideal for humidity ranges between 30-50%. Engineered hardwood flooring performs best in an environment between 40-60% relative humidity. If the homeowner can maintain their relative humidity in these ranges, they should have no issues with their hardwood or engineered flooring. The homeowner will likely need to add moisture in the winter with a humidification system and remove moisture in the summer with dehumidification and air conditioning.
The worst thing you can do when installing a hardwood floor in an environment with such seasonal fluctuations is let the wood acclimate to one particular season. Our warehouse is climate controlled and maintained at 40% relative humidity so in most cases, it can be installed right away. If it is acclimated in a humid environment like in the summer or in new home construction when there is excess moisture, the wood will absorb moisture and expand. This can cause Width Variations in the boards making it difficult for the installer to keep a straight line during install. When the season changes and the relative humidity drops to the lower level, the floor will have Gaps. If the wood is acclimated in the winter or when the home is very dry, the wood will dry out and shrink. When the seasons change and the relative humidity rises, the flooring will absorb moisture, expand and more than likely you will have Cupping.