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How Does Winter Weather Damage Hardwood Floors?

June 18, 2020
When the sun rises late and sets earlier than normal, you know what’s happening- winter is coming. Another thing that indicates the coming of the winter season is your skin, it dries out. All of a sudden you need moisturizer and lip balms because your skin refuses to remain hydrated. Just like your skin, there are other things too that feel the difference. One of them is your hardwood floor. Yes, not so non-living after all, hardwood floors do tend to react to the kind of atmosphere they are in.

Hardwood floors are porous. They tend to absorb moisture from their surroundings. In the summers, when the moisture content in the air or humidity increases, the hardwood floor absorbs the moisture and tends to expand. This expansion is normal. That is the reason why, during hardwood installation, there is always a gap maintained between the tiles and the baseboard. This is to provide space for expansion during a change in moisture. This is the same phenomenon that leads to the buckling of floors. Repairing buckling of floors is not exactly an easy task.

So, what happens during winters? When it is cold outside you shut all the doors and windows an turn up the heat inside. This tends to reduce the moisture levels in the air. As a result of a sudden drop in humidity levels, the hardwood floor tiles shrink! You may notice sudden gaps appear between tiles. Sometimes an individual tile may also crack from the centre or from the edges. The nest question you may want to ask is, whether it is permanent. The answer is no, the gaps between tiles eventually disappear as the room regains its normal moisture levels. But there is not much that can be done about a cracked tile. Hence, those tiles which are permanently damaged may have to be replaced.

Thus it is very important to regulate and monitor the atmospheric conditions of your room during a weather change. For the winters, it is important to install a humidifier in your house. An alternative could also be to have a moveable humidifier for the room which has good air circulation. It is also useful to install a humidity meter which will allow you to check and regulate humidity levels in your house. The optimum range for humidity is between 40%-60%. As long as you are between these extremes, you’re good. During the summer, you could either use a dehumidifier or an air conditioner.

Another thing to remember is that when you’re out on vacation, think about your floors and hardwood floor care. If it is a summer break, don’t turn off your air conditioner. If it’s a winter break, then make sure you don’t turn the heat down too low.

When you choose the floors for your home, the region you live in and the kind of weather you have exposed to plays a very important role in determining your choice. If you live in a region where temperature changes are frequent and sudden then it may be best for you to choose a floor that it more resistant to these atmospheric changes."