452 North Pearl Street, Albany, NY / 518-434-0155
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Cold Outside, Dry Inside & Your Hardwood Floors

Latham NY Relative Humidity 021915

Latham, NY Home at 20% Relative Humidity on Feb. 19, 2015

Man, it’s been a cold winter in the Capital Region, Catskills and Berkshires! Unless you have a whole-house humidifier (and despite concerns about bacteria, you use it), it has also been a dry winter in your home. Perhaps it has been a little too dry for your solid hardwood floors. Mirage Floors  — the premier, North American manufacturer of hardwood floors — recommends that you maintain relative humidity at approximately 45% at all times in your home as the optimum humidity level for your solid hardwood floors. Insufficient or excessive humidity may cause excessive shrinking, cupping, or expansion of the individual boards of your solid hardwood flooring; this excessive shrinking and expansion can cause small cracks in your boards. Over time, especially under dry conditions, these small cracks will expand further, resulting in splitting, splintering, and other permanent damage you want to avoid. So, there are three steps to take.   First, choose engineered hardwood  rather than solid hardwood.  Engineered hardwood is more tolerant of moisture variations than solid hardwood, i.e., engineered hardwood will remain stable between 40% and 60% relative humidity.  Second, during the summer months, use your air conditioning as a dehumidifier; air conditioning works by extracting humidity from your home’s indoor air.  Third, during the winter months, purchase and utilize either a whole house humidity solution for your furnace or individual humidifying units for your rooms with hardwood flooring.