Hardwood floors are a thing of beauty, but these natural floors have the ability to be negatively affected by drastic changes in moisture content. It is important to be knowledable about the moisture content of the room where the wood is being installed in order to make sure there won’t be some headaches down the road.
There are several things that can happen to hardwood floors due to changes in moisture content.
Cupping occurs when there is an increase in moisture content, causing the wood to swell up with moisture. In this case the size of the wood expands. Too much expansion causes the wood to cup as the sides of the wood bump against each other and bend up since it has nowhere else to go. The higher sides and lower middle, creates a cup-like look for each plank.
Another issue that can come up is crowning. Crowning refers to when the edges of the plank are lower than the middle, causing it to look like a crown. This can occur for a couple different reason. One, there could be excess moisture content that was left on the floor prior to the wood being installed. As a result, the excess moisture underneath the hardwoods can cause the edges to expand and a bulging to happen in the middle of the plank. Another way crowning can happen is when hardwood floors are sanded prior to them reaching the ideal moisture content for the room. In this case the edges have been sanded down so that when it reaches the correct moisture content it causes the middle to be higher than the center of the plank.
If the moisture content becomes drastically lower, moisture is pulled from the wood causing it to shrink. This can cause cracks in the wood and separation between boards.
The moisture content of the wood and of the room should always be checked prior to installing the wood floors. This will ensure that the wood is at the proper level. If the wood is coming from a dryer region, it may need some time to adjust to the moisture content of the new environment. If the wood is coming from a more humid region then it also may need time to adjust to the proper moisture content of where it will be installed.
Once the wood is at its optimal moisture content for the environment for which it will be installed, then there should not be any issues with moisture content. However, drastic changes to the environment will cause the problems mentioned above, such as cupping and cracking. It is important to watch for leaks and spills because they can cause changes in the moisture content in a room. An introduction of excess moisture into the room can cause cupping to happen.
Prior to fixing the floors it is best to fix the leak and regain the normal moisture content of the room. It is best to wait until the wood has re-acclimated to the proper moisture content before fixing any damages that may have occurred due to cupping or crowning.
When in doubt call your hardwood flooring Atlanta company to make sure you are taking the best care of your hardwood floors.