Moisture or humidity in your home can cause big problems for hardwood floors. Since wood is a natural material, it continues to react to environmental changes, even after it is installed in your home as flooring. If a home has excessive moisture, hardwood floors will expand. Likewise, too little moisture can cause wood to shrink. Solid wood floors can expand or contract as much as 3 inches over 10 feet causing unsightly issues like cupping or gaping. So what can a homeowner do to prevent moisture problems?
Tips for Homeowners
- Before installation, always use a moisture meter to measure the moisture content of the sub-flooring.
- Test several areas of the sub-flooring; the average moisture content should be somewhere between 10-14%.
- Pre-finished solid wood floors are greatly impacted by moisture. Therefore, they must be installed on or above grade.
- Solid wood floors must be installed over plywood and should be nailed or stapled.
- Pre-finished engineered wood floors are less impacted by moisture since they expand and contract in all directions. Therefore engineered floors can be used on all grade levels and over most sub-floors.
- Floating wood floors can also be installed at all grade levels and over any flat sub-floor.