Being a living product that is crafted and finished to enhance its natural beauty, a NWP specialty wood floor is best suited to a consistent relative humidity in order for ultimate performance and lasting beauty. What is meant by a natural living product is that, even once crafted and finished, these wood floors have the abilities to still take on and emit moisture resulting in expansion and contraction of the plank. This is why it so important that the environment these floors are installed in, are controlled and monitored for a healthy relative humidity.
As we shift into fall, and then winter, the cooling weather itself leads to lower humidity, and this shift is enhanced further as indoor heating, in-floor radiant heating etc takes more moisture from the air. In contrast, the summer sees increased humidity both outdoors and indoors.
Wide plank floors especially, by nature, will always expand and contract as the seasons change. In controlled conditions, this is barely noticeable, but under extreme conditions or excessive shifts in moisture it can cause unsightly—and even unsafe—damage that requires expert repair.
WINTER AND WIDE PLANK FLOORS
NWP wood floors are aptly dried to suit the changes in season we see, especially in the Northeastern regions of North America, but when these floors are exposed to extreme dry conditions for extended time, they can dry out causing the top layer to shrink beyond what the engineered substrate allows. This can cause a number of issues including unwanted cracks and splitting along the grain of the hardwood top layer, cupping and crowning of planks, especially on ultra wide planks and gapping* between planks.
*small gaps between planks are normal to see during the winter months, especially with in-floor radiant heating, but excessive gapping and large gaps should not take place in a properly controlled environment.
PROTECTING YOUR NWP WOOD FLOOR
Here are some important steps to take that will protect your NWP wood floors from changing humidity we experience in the 4 seasons and also help to create a more healthy and comfortable indoor living environment.
Proper floor installation methods and procedures that allow natural expansion and contraction of wood floors
Maintain a relative humidity of 35-55% in your home. Even having a hygrometer in the main areas of your home helps to easily monitor the relative humidity
Install proper humidification/dehumidification systems for the climate you live in - a steam humidification system is recommended for a consistent relative humidity control in all connected areas of your home
High quality windows and proper insulation values play a large role in maintaining relative humidity levels
When turning on in-floor radiant heating, do so gradually so the wood floor can safely adjust - please refer to our radiant heat guide for this