People generally install solid hardwood flooring inside of their homes, right? That’s indoors. Why must they pay attention to the weather outside if they won’t even be working in it?
Well, hardwood is finicky. The truth is that the time of year when you install your prefinished hardwood flooring has a great influence on whether or not the flooring will gap—that is, shrink up and reveal slices of space between the boards. E Hardwoods & Flooring, where you can buy hardwood flooring online, explains why gapping occurs, as well as what your installation time has to do with preventing it.
Unlike waterproof wood-look flooring and vinyl tile flooring, solid hardwood flooring is organic—that is, made of natural materials (in this case, wood). While its composition makes solid hardwood the longest-lasting flooring choice available, it also means that it is particularly vulnerable to one damaging natural force: humidity.
Humidity is, essentially, the moisture (water vapor) content in the air. It is affected by everything from the temperatures of nearby large bodies of water to the direction of prevailing winds. Though such a molecular occurrence seems innocuous, it can have major consequences for the way your hardwood flooring behaves.
Wood, as we all know, is an absorbent material. When it takes up water from the air, its volume expands; in contrast, when it loses moisture to the air, it shrinks, resulting in those all-too-noticeable flooring gaps.
Different seasons in different regions have different humidity levels, meaning any given species of hardwood’s behavior can vary widely due to something as simple as geography. Flooring experts tend to say that it’s best to install hardwood flooring when humidity levels are average for your region and, on a more individual level, your home. This discourages both gapping and cupping (the reverse of gapping, in which hardwood flooring bows due to inadequate room to expand under high humidity).
Regardless of the time of year you opt to install your new hardwood floor, bring the flooring into your house and let it acclimate to your home’s humidity levels for a few days before installing.
No matter your budget or the humidity levels of your home, we have a hardwood floor that fits your needs. Take a look at our online stock here or contact us with any installation or product-related concerns.