Humid environments are often considered to be detrimental to hardwood, which can be a particular concern through the hot Columbia summers. Humidity can cause wood to swell and warp. Wood rot is another risk, as is mold and mildew. Wood is a naturally porous material, so bacterial growth and mold growth can both potentially occur. But that doesn’t mean that hardwood is impossible to install in high humidity environments, it just requires a little more effort and forethought.
Read on to learn more about our top three tips for installing and maintaining hardwood flooring in humid environments.
Acclimating the Wood to the Environment
Before installation, all hardwood needs to be acclimated to the environment. This usually means having the hardwood in the house for two to three weeks so that it can expand to meet with the normal humidity levels. A homeowner may want to track the average humidity in their house and leave the wood in their home for some time to ensure that the wood does not expand or shrink significantly after installation.
Clean Wood Without Water
Hardwood should not typically be cleaned with water. Instead, cleaning solutions specifically designed for hardwood flooring are preferred. In areas with high humidity, wood is particularly likely to experience damage due to direct moisture. Hardwood floors should also be waxed and sealed after cleaning to prevent damage, and any spills should be mopped up right away. Spills that penetrate under the flooring will raise the moisture levels throughout the floor, making any humidity concerns worse.
Maintaining Climate Control
Great changes in humidity levels throughout the home are the biggest concern regarding hardwoods. Installing climate control features in your home can help. Many advanced HVAC systems today have internal climate controls, but simply adding a dehumidifier within the house can be helpful. Both low humidity and high humidity can hurt hardwood floors, and fluctuating between the two can cause warping and other damage to the floors.
Ideally, homes should usually fall between 35-55 percent humidity. Hardwood floors will always be more difficult to maintain in an environment that has high humidity, but if properly cared for, the floors should not be damaged by the excess moisture itself.
Certain wood species, such as bamboo flooring, also behave better in humid environments. Our team at Floor Coverings International Columbia East can help you explore the options and find the perfect hardwood for your home.