Effects of Cold Weather on Flooring

Effects of Cold Weather on Flooring

Effects of Cold Weather on Flooring

Hardwood-floor homeowners worry is increased during the winter months. If the homeowner neglects his home, mud, snow and salt can make the varnished surface look pale and dull that with time and exposure to different moisture levels can lead to warping and gaping. Certainly you can’t avoid having outside debris into your home but you can follow some preventative methods such as using mats to help maintain your wood floors in superb condition.

Shrinking and Gapping

During winter, even the professionally installed hardwood floors dry out and shrink and when they do, the gaps between the boards manifest over time. This phenomenon is the wood’s response to the moisture in the air, it occurs in winter because dry winter has a low moisture content, or low relative humidity (RH) and it causes wood to lose moisture to the air and it shrinks as a result. This loss of moisture can lead to increased squeaky spots on your floor.

Maintain the Proper Moisture Content in the Air

There are some preventative measures that must be taken in order to fight against winter-caused shrinking and gapping, using a humidifier, for example, is one way to lessen moisture loss from the floor to the dry winter air of your home, a hardwood flooring professional will help you determine the ideal RH level for you house based on your climate. Humidifiers are usually needed only if you live in a very cold hard winter such as Midwestern of northeastern of the U.S. Humidifiers whether as stand-alone units or linked to a central air furnace work by adding up to almost six pints of water to the air per hour.

Avoid Debris with Floor Mats

Not only it absorbs moisture but also wood retains it as wood is a hygroscopic material, which means that the wood will expand when it comes to contact with water. In order to preserve the original size of your hardwood floor and prevent it from being warped, using decorative floor mats, plastic or rubber mats under woven rugs is preferable as it will help absorb water, snow and slush near doors and will maintain your hardwood floor clean and dry. These mats will also keep the floor’s varnished surface from scratch marks and cuts caused by abrasive winter materials like road salt and sand.

Follow Flooring Recommendations and Contact a Professional

Since winter months show an increased danger of deforming your hardwood floor like warping, gapping and other damages, proper care and preventative measures must be taken to extend your wood’s sturdiness, you can use rugs to lower the amount of debris that are brought from the outside, you can also use humidifiers to maintain an ideal moisture level inside your house. If you notice signs of gapping or damaging in your wooden floor, check out with a hardwood flooring professional so that he can repair and strengthen your floors.