Hardwood Floors: Humidity-Related Problems

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Hardwood Floors: Humidity-Related Problems

29 January 2016
 Categories: , Blog

A rise or drop in a home's humidity affects the moisture content of hardwood floors. The wood usually absorbs moisture when the humidity is high and loses it when it is low. These changes cause the expansion and contraction of wood. And for as long as the expansion and contraction isn't extreme, one has nothing to worry about, especially if the wood was allowed to acclimatize right before installation.

Extreme humidity changes aren't kind to hardwood floors. They damage your floors – damage that is visible enough to ruin the aesthetic appeal of your hardwood floors. Here are some of the problems you should look out for.


This is a moisture-related problem that is characterized by the edges of the wood being higher than the center. It usually arises when there is a moisture imbalance – when the wood is wetter at the bottom than it is at the top.

The difference in moisture content causes the bottom side to expand faster than the upper side. And it is this difference in expansion rates that causes the wood to bend upwards with the center being lower than the edges.


Like cupping, crowning is a moisture-related problem that is caused by differences in wood expansion rates. The only difference is that instead of the edges of the wood being higher than the center, crowning is usually characterized by the edges of the wood being lower than the center.

Crowning occurs when the upper side of the floor is exposed to extreme moisture levels. Since the floors are thick, there is almost no chance of the moisture getting evenly distributed throughout the wood. The upper side therefore ends up having more moisture than the floor's bottom. This difference in moisture content causes the upper side to expand more than the lower side, something that causes it to bend downwards with the center being higher than the edges.

However, there are times when crowning occurs simply because of a poorly timed sanding procedure. It usually happens when a homeowner tries to level out a floor that is already cupped. And so when humidity levels return to normal, and the hardwood floors return to their original shape, the wood will appear crowned simply because its edges were sanded out.


Both crowning and cupping are humidity-related problems that can ruin the appearance of your hardwood floors. Changes in weather conditions are inevitable, and so are changes in humidity levels. But this does not mean that you should leave your hardwood floors at their mercy. You can always have a dehumidifier installed in your home. Doing so will help shield your hardwood floors from the blows of extreme humidity changes. To learn more, speak with a business like McSwain Carpets and Floors.

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Deciding On Tile

After dealing with scratched hardwood floors and dingy carpets for years, we decided that an all-stone floor might be a better alternative. Unfortunately, since we couldn't afford a stone floor, we started looking closer at porcelain tile. We were able to find a flooring supplier that had the kind of flooring that we were looking for, and they were incredible to work with. They came out to our house, looked around at the flooring, and made suggestions based on the existing design details and paint color. After the tile was installed, our flooring was gorgeous, durable, and stain-resistant. Check out this blog to learn more about flooring.