Managing Moisture Problems on Hardwood Floors

After installing a custom hardwood floor, there are several bits of important maintenance necessary to get maximum quality and lifespan out of your product. Everything from basic upkeep like sweeping and vacuuming to details like rugs and protective pads is important for preventing wear and tear. At Sunshine Hardwood Flooring, we leave our customers with detailed and useful methods for maintaining our high quality products.

However, there’s one particular type of wood floor damage that can be a bit trickier: Moisture problems. Wood can be warped and molded by moisture in the wrong places or quantities, and a big piece of maintaining wood floor products is staying on top of moisture content (MC). MC tends to rise when relative humidity (RH) does the same, and this process can cause several long term issues for your floors.

What are these issues, and how can you spot and prevent them?

Visible Issues

Many problems with moisture on custom hardwood floors are easily visible to the naked eye, mostly related to issues where moisture causes wood to expand and contract. A few of these visible signs:

  • Cracks: Separations between floor boards are some of the first signs of moisture damage as the wood loses MC. A humidifier can help during dry months.
  • Crowning: When a board’s center becomes higher than its center, usually caused by moisture imbalance.
  • Cupping: The opposite of crowning – when the edges of a floor board warps to higher than its center. Usually caused by high RH expanding the wood and deforming the edges of the boards. Cupping can often be an installation problem.
  • Buckling: When floor boards pull up, lifting several inches in at least one area. Buckling is not common, but it’s the most severe visible moisture reaction on hardwood floors.

Invisible Issues

Many moisture problems take place below the floor where we can see them, but some of these problems can be just as damaging as the visible ones. Most of the precautions here should be taken during the installation process – installers must determine subfloor MC content and determine the right material to use for the subfloor.

Leaks are some of the main invisible problems found on hardwood floors, and again, many of the risks here can be prevented by proper installation and subfloor selection. However, if your house has notable leaks in any faucets or showers, you should be wary of invisible leaking issues in your hardwood floors.

Prevention

As we noted, preventing these issues well before they start is the name of the game. Much of this is done by your contractor, so be sure to hire a reputable agency such as Sunshine Hardwood Flooring. For people looking for further avenues after installation, a wood moisture meter is a good idea – it helps track seasonal MC changes for you.

To learn more or to install your own custom wood flooring, contact Sunshine Hardwood Flooring. Our experts can’t wait to assist you.

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Sunshine Hardwood Flooring is a wood flooring contractor in Ada County that specializes in hardwood floor installation, dustless hardwood floor refinishing, custom wood floor makeovers and historically accurate repairs for older homes.