4 Steps to Ensure a Happy Floor This Winter
‘Tis The Season, For Drier Air
In many areas of the United States we are entering a much drier time of the year. Although northern locations, where winter is in full swing, will see the driest of interior environments, it is important that everyone be aware of the relative humidity in their home. Monitoring and enhancing the relative humidity during dry times can greatly impact a variety of things from your health to the health of your floor. We will leave your health to the experts, but when it comes to flooring we are the experts and we want to offer simple guidance to ensuring the health of your floor.
The driest winter environments in our region of New England are in a home using wood heat without assisted humidity control. The interior of these homes can get as low as 10% relative humidity. THAT IS AS DRY AS THE MOJAVE DESERT. Most floor warranties suggest that the ideal environment for any wood floor is between 30-55% Relative Humidity (RH). If you fall below this range for extended periods of time you will see excessive gapping in a solid floor and the potential for splitting in an engineered floor. This is not a defect of the product. It is simply what happens when wood loses a lot of moisture and dries out.
4 Steps to a Happy Floor
• Prevent – Prevent cold outside winter air from entering your home by reducing excessive ventilation leaks. Old windows are often major leakage sites, as are recessed lights and other holes in ceilings and floors. The less air transitions the easier it is to maintain a higher relative humidity
• Monitor – Buy an inexpensive humidity monitor to observe how your home responds to the temperature changes, so you can easily identify when levels are low and your home needs a little moisture. A simple Hygrometer can be purchased for less than $20 and it will tell you everything you need to know about your specific humidity levels.
• Maintain– Maintain your interior with a relative humidity range of 30-50%.
• Adjust – If you’re finding it challenging to maintain the recommended range, add moisture with a humidifier. From a single room humidifier to whole house systems adding moisture to your home does more than just help your floor. Appropriate relative humidity helps all wood in your home, preserves precious art work and can help you stay healthier!