Wood is a natural material that is often chosen for floors. On the one hand, it’s a beautiful material; on the other, it’s good for the climate inside.
Even so, there is one big problem: if the air is too dry, like when the heating is on, ugly cracks and holes can appear in the wood.
But what is the right humidity or moisture level for wood flooring, and how do you ensure it is always right to keep wood from cracking? We’ll fill you in on everything.
When and why do cracks and buckling form on wood floors?
Buckling is when the floorboards start to bow outward. Changes in moisture or humidity usually cause this. Read how to fix buckled wood floors.
Wood changes to fit its surroundings. If it needs to, the wood can take in water from the air and give it back. If the air is too dry, the wood loses moisture, and small cracks and holes start to show.
If the humidity increases, the wood will swell, and the cracks will close back up. But the wood can be damaged if the humidity drops below the ideal level and the temperature goes too high.
What is a humidifier?
A humidifier is a tool that can help you make sure your home has the right amount of moisture. If the air is dry, your skin and throat will feel itchy, and your hair will dry and break easily.
The best way to deal with this is to keep the humidity level in your home steady. Humidifiers are made to do this very thing.
Small machines can make water at a certain humidity level and send it all over your house.
The optimal humidity and temperature for wood floors
Moisture is taken out of the air in a room by the heating, air conditioning, or ventilation system.
Because of this, the air is too dry. To keep wood from cracking and splitting, it’s smart to keep the temperature and humidity inside at a good level all year.
What do we mean when we say “best”? The temperature will be between 68°F and 73°F, and the humidity will be between 40% and 60%.
Do you have underfloor heating? Then the temperature shouldn’t be lower than 59°F or higher than 68°F. The wood (almost) doesn’t “work” in this situation.
Note the following for your wooden floor in the winter:
If damage happens because the room is always too humid or too dry or because the temperature changes a lot, and a complaint is made, experience has shown that it is never the material’s fault.
This is something that manufacturers and experts in the field of wood stress, but it is often left out of the sales pitch.
Even though wood is a natural material with great qualities and a style that can’t be duplicated, it can’t be pushed and always responds to its surroundings. You only need to follow a few simple rules to stay out of trouble.
1. Balanced temperatures and humidity
When the relative humidity is between 40 and 60%, and the temperature is between 64 and 70°F, it is relaxing and good for both people and wooden floors.
Central heating (convection heating), common in our area, is very bad because it dries out the air and moves it around a lot.
With these heaters, wooden floors need extra humidity, such as from an evaporator.
2. Underfloor heating
With underfloor heating, the floor should not get hotter than 78-80°F. This is also the most comfortable thing a person can be in. Also, make sure the temperatures are as even as possible, which is what is recommended for underfloor heating to work well. Avoid big changes in temperature by turning up and down a lot.
Only add carpets or carpet runners in rooms with underfloor heating. This stops the wood from expanding and contracting as it should. As a result, heat builds up, and the floor can dry out or even crack.
When deciding between a wooden floor and underfloor heating, remember that plain wood (with standing growth rings) works much less well than wood with flakes (stronger structure, lying growth rings).
Because of this, if you want to put wood floors over underfloor heating, you should use wood with a simple structure. The different kinds of wood are also very different.
If possible, use types of wood that don’t swell or flake much. Oak is great for floor heating, while beech and maple could be better.
3. Indoor plants
Plants also help make the air in a room better. The amount of water lost through evaporation increases as the number of leaves increases. The leaves also pick up dust from the air.
The plants are often washed or wiped down with lukewarm water, so photosynthesis doesn’t stop. But many plants in a room can’t take the place of airing it out daily!
As a living “room air filter,” a few strong leafy plants like a spider, dragon tree, ivy, and sycamore easily improve the room’s climate.
4. Proper ventilation
Follow the simple rules for good ventilation.
Airing out or letting in the fresh air: Open all the doors and windows in the apartment or house a few times a day for about 5 to 10 minutes each time. So, the used, moist air can be quickly and easily replaced with dry, fresh air from outside.
Don’t keep windows at an angle. This makes the cost of heating go up. Also, the walls near the window cool down and get damp, making mold possible to grow.
At “humidity peaks,” you should always open the windows (e.g., in the bathroom after showering or in the kitchen after cooking).
5. Residential Biology
From a biological point of view, the best parts are a radiant heater (tiled stove), walls made of wood or bricks, and a wooden floor that lets air in (not sealed with paint but oiled).
You have made the best conditions for a healthy, good-feeling environment, and your wooden floor will last long without cracks or joints.
Tips and tricks for a new wooden floor
Plan on putting in a wooden floor? Then here are some suggestions:
Before putting down the wooden floor, storing it there for at least 48 hours is a good idea. This gives the wood time to adjust to its new environment and protects it from damage caused by swelling and shrinking.
For example, ensure the wood floor is flat, so it doesn’t bend.
During storage and installation, make sure the indoor climate is just right.
Humidifier for preventing cracks in wooden floors
Want something to help you keep the humidity levels right? A humidifier, which is also called an “Airwasher.”
A humidifier is a simple and reliable device that lets you keep the humidity in your home between 40% and 60% all year, and it can help to prevent wood floor cracks in the winter.
So there won’t be any big holes or cracks when it’s cold outside. Also, the humidifier helps clean the air by removing things like dust and pollen. So, a humidifier ensures that the air in your room is good.
What is a dehumidifier?
A dehumidifier is a machine that brings down the relative humidity level in a room. About 80% of air is made up of water vapor, and most air has between 50% and 55% humidity.
Moisture can leave the air when the temperature is above 75°F. As the temperature drops, the rate at which water evaporates slows down. This makes more water droplets form in the air. The humidity cycle is the name for this cycle.
Humidity is a very important part of comfort. The air is wet and feels heavy when there is much humidity. When humidity is low, on the other hand, the air is dry and feels cool against the skin.
Will a dehumidifier help with floor buckling?
A common problem with hardwood floors is that they buckle. Even though a lack of humidity is usually to blame, the damage can be very hard to fix.
A hardwood floor can buckle for several reasons. Humidity can be a factor, but it’s not usually the only cause of a problem.
Changes in humidity and temperature can make floorboards swell, buckle, or crack, but it’s more likely that something else is to blame.
Pests, moisture, bad installation, and water damage to a wood floor in the house are common causes.
A simple way to solve this problem is with a dehumidifier. Getting rid of the water makes it less likely that the damage will happen again. During the summer, it’s best to keep humidity between 50% and 60%.
Dehumidifiers are useful for keeping moisture away, but they won’t fix the problem if the wood floor is badly damaged.
What should I pay attention to when buying a humidifier
Do you want to place an order for an Airwasher? Then you need to pay attention to a few things. Figure out the size of the room correctly.
The room is thought to be closed. If your room doors are often open, add the size of the rooms next to the one you want to measure.
Also, to ensure that the device works well even at low and medium levels, doesn’t work at its limit, and makes less noise, we suggest adding a third to the total room size.
What if the humidifier remains below average?
Do you already have a humidifier, but the humidity won’t rise?
That can. One reason is that there are too many wooden floors, furniture, and books in the room.
Because when you add moisture to a room, the natural things take it up first. Only when these are full does the humidity in the room go up.
So, the more natural materials there are, the longer it may take to get to the right humidity level. This can take anywhere from 10 to 14 days, so you’ll need patience.
Let the device run at its highest level first so that the room’s humidity rises more quickly.