How The Summer Heat Can Affect Hardwood Flooring

The summer will be here before you know it; along with the higher temperatures and increased humidity that come with the season. As hardwood flooring can be affected by humidity changes, you may notice slight changes when looking at the floors within your home during the summer months.

How Do High Humidity Levels Affect Hardwood Flooring?

We have already discussed how lower humidity levels during the winter months affect hardwood flooring; but how do the higher humidity levels during the summer months impact your wood floors?

Wood flooring is least likely to expand or contract when exposed to moderate humidity levels within a room temperature setting; these moderate levels range from 30% to 50% humidity. During the summer season, indoor humidity can rise to levels as high as 90%. And if hardwood flooring is exposed to high humidity levels for an extended period of time, the floorboards may cup or crown.

What is Hardwood Floor Cupping?

Cupping pertains to the concave, cup-like shape formed when the edges of the wood planks within your flooring appear higher than the planks’ centers. Sometimes the additional moisture resulting from high humidity levels builds up within the bottom sections of wood flooring. This may lead the underside of the floorboard to swell, pushing the edges upward and leading to cupping.

What is Hardwood Floor Crowning?

If the additional moisture builds up on the surface of your hardwood flooring, the swelling occurs on the top of the floorboards. This may result in the formation of convex-shaped bumps on the wood.

Preventing Damage to Your Hardwood Flooring

A certain amount of hardwood floor cupping is to be expected during the summertime. However, if your flooring was not properly installed or has not been appropriately maintained, permanent and preventable damage may occur. Having your hardwood flooring professionally sanded and can help diminish visible cupping; however, this process needs to be performed at the proper time. Hardwood floors that are sanded down shortly after seeing the first signs up cupping may begin to crown. At E_M Custom Flooring & Installations, our flooring repair experts will be able to tell you the best time to sand down your cupped floors in order to prevent further damage.

Sanding hardwood floors in the summer months

If your hardwood flooring has been exposed to extreme humidity levels or water damage, the wood’s structural integrity can be broken down potentially causing it to crack. As an effective preventative measure, our flooring installation experts can both nail and glue down the wooden floor planks. This helps to ensure a more secure installation which is more resistant to the expansion caused by moisture exposure.

DIY flooring tips

DIY Advice

There are several things you can do on your own to help stave off potential damage to your hardwood flooring caused by summer humidity levels. Properly adjusting your thermostat so the air conditioning is activated during hotter temperatures will aid in reducing indoor humidity levels; this is because air conditioners inherently remove some humidity from the interior air of your home. For hardwood flooring installed in areas prone to higher humidity levels, the use of a dehumidifier will help prevent those floors from absorbing additional moisture.

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