How Humidity Can Affect Hardwood and Laminate Flooring

Updated: July 17th, 2023

When it’s cold inside your home, you turn the heat up. If it’s hot outside, you might turn on the air conditioning to cool down. But have you ever thought about how the living conditions inside your home might be affecting your hardwood flooring or laminate flooring?

how humidity affects hardwood and laminate flooring

Depending on where you live, summertime might mean more than backyard BBQs, pool parties and fun in the sun. Summer can also bring high humidity. And, with summer, there are a few things you might need to know about how humidity can affect hardwood and laminate flooring. Here are some tips on how to keep your floors in tip-top shape this summer.


Hardwood Floors and Humidity

If humidity hits above 55%, you might be opening up a chance for moisture to seep into the wood. Too much moisture in your home, and the floorboards might begin to swell. This swelling can create pressure between the boards, which can cause the boards to warp or cup. This is true for both solid hardwoods and engineered hardwoods. Remember, while engineered hardwoods may tend to be more stable than solid hardwoods, they are still susceptible to moisture.


Laminate Floors and Humidity

Laminate flooring is held together by a mechanical click system made out of wood products. If this wood dries out excessively, the clicking system may fail. Humidity levels in your home are often affected by seasonal changes, and laminate Flooring responds by expanding and contracting. During warm, humid weather, Laminate might expand to give the floor a crowned look. During dry, cold weather, laminate might shrink causing cracks to appear between each plank. While this seasonal movement is a normal characteristic of laminate flooring, these effects can potentially be reduced by following a few guidelines.


Protecting Your Floors

To help protect your floors from cracks, cupping, crowning, and buckling, try to follow these guidelines:

  • Clean your hardwood or laminate floor with a cloth lightly dampened by a recommended cleaning product. We recommend using the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Do not clean your floors with water or water-based products on a daily basis—only clean when necessary and clean only the soiled areas.
  • Never use a damp mop on a Hardwood floor, as the water may deteriorate the wood and finish.
  • Don’t let a water spill dry on the floor—this can cause more damage to your flooring. Instead, try to clean up the spill immediately.

Try to keep the relative humidity in your home between 35% and 55%–you can measure humidity levels with a humidistat or a hydrometer. If the humidity levels go beyond this range, make adjustments, such as the use of a dehumidifier or turn your air conditioning colder. And, if you need to raise your humidity level, try using a humidifier to boost the overall moisture in the room.

By maintaining humidity levels in your home, you can help ensure your hardwood or laminate flooring remains covered by warranties, while also helping to keep your floors in shape to perform their best. A consistent, stable environment can result in a more stable, dependable hardwood and laminate floor.

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