Did you know that moisture presents one of the biggest threats to the integrity of timber floors? Hardwood flooring, with proper care, can survive for centuries. Your timber floor will remain beautiful for the duration of its lifespan if you know the impact moisture has on timber and the acceptable moisture levels in timber flooring.

How Does Timber React to Moisture?

Even after being cut from a tree, wood is a hygroscopic material with water. Vapour is continuously absorbed and released into the atmosphere. Timber flooring thus spontaneously enlarges and decreases in size as the relative humidity of the environment changes. The term “dimensional stability” refers to how much timber will expand and compress due to certain environmental factors. Timber will expand against the grain under humid conditions where it will absorb a lot of water, which can cause it to swell, distort, and buckle. In contrast, timber will warp and break in low-humidity situations as a result of moisture loss and cross-grain shrinkage.

Every type of timber has a certain equilibrium moisture content (EMC) level, which denotes the point at which the timber’s moisture content reaches that of its surroundings. When timber reaches this equilibrium moisture content (EMC), it will automatically stop absorbing or losing moisture, effectively preventing timber issues like swelling, warping, buckling, or cracking. The moisture level at which the equilibrium moisture content mimics the installation environment will be perfect for a hardwood floor.

What are the Acceptable Moisture Levels in Timber Flooring?

Different types of timber inherently hold onto moisture more than others. As a result, while choosing timber to install in your home, it’s crucial to take the relative humidity of your local climate into account. Making an informed decision about your perfect timber product and maintenance will be easier if you are aware of the dimensional stability of the timber species.

What are the Problems That Moisture Can Bring to Timber Flooring, and How to Prevent Them?

A timber floor’s integrity may be jeopardised by moisture-related issues brought on by improper installation or maintenance. Among these problems are the following and how to prevent them:

Gapping – Gapping is a problem when the boards on your floor start to separate and develop tiny spaces in between if the moisture levels in your home are too dry for your timber. Large gaps in floors can be unsightly and uncomfortable to walk on, and they can also gather dust and other debris.

Cupping – Your timber floor may cup if the moisture levels are too humid. The timber planks bend upward at the sides and take on a U-shape through the middle as they become soaked and expand to their maximum capacity. Cupping can make the surface uneven and harm the timber planks permanently.

Here are some actions you can take to protect your timber floors once installed:

Proper Care – Avoid liquids from soaking into your timber floors. When spills happen, wipe them up as soon as possible without letting the water stand. To hasten the drying process, use fans. Instead of using a wet mop, use a broom or dry mop.

Regulate Indoor Temperature – Regulating the temperature and humidity in your home is the simplest and most efficient approach to maintaining the integrity of timber floors. Your flooring can be kept in good condition for a very long time with the help of a humidifier, dehumidifier, or air conditioner.

Interested in sanding and polishing your timber floors? Eddy’s Timber Flooring provides all your timber flooring needs. For more details, please call us on 0404670676 or 0420223342, or you may also fill out our Enquiry Form.