Tag Archives: Relative Humidity and Flooring

Why Humidity control is SOOO important for Flooring

The winter replica cartier ring is upon us – at least in the Northern hemisphere – and the heating season is in full swing.  That same season also means it is the time of the year when the air in our homes dries out.  In some situations the reduction in humidity is so severe it causes our finishings and our furnishings to change shape.  This is the case for almost all interior grade home products.  Our floors are no exception.

Cork flooring, which is wood, is just as susceptible to changes (perhaps more so) as traditional hardwood and softwood products.  In fact, a cork floating floor is one of the most dynamic floors on the market.  Over 25 linear feet, it can expand and contract as much as 1 full inch.  The expansion occurs in summer (higher humidity – no heat sources turned on) and the contraction occurs in winter (reduced Relative Humidity together with heated spaces).  Winter is the “shrinkage” time of the year.  And if the air in the home becomes TOO dry, your finishings will let you know – and some of them are none-too subtle about it.

A case in point.  I recently had (today in fact) a client reach out to me to inform me her 1 year old cork floating floor had seam cartier love bracelet knock off
separation.  Right in the middle of the living room.  This occurred over a few days…maybe the weekend.  Not the point.  The change was sudden and upsetting.

Usually there are several issues at play – but the biggest factor can and will be humidity.  Relative Humidity (RH) is THE defining requirement for warranty.  As soon as RH is OUTSIDE the warranty requirements, all bets are off!  No one will offer warranty replacement once the RH drops to low or pops too high.

What are the interior requirements for RH?  The Best Building Practices (which helps set all guidelines for all products) recommends a consistent RH be maintained between 40%-60%.  Some products, such as bamboo or certain species of hardwoods, require a slightly different, narrower range.  Whereas other products, such as cork, have a slightly wider range.  In fact, cork can “handle” a rather wide range of RH.  We require an RH range between 35% – 65%.  This is one of the widest humidity ranges for flooring. 

But for many homes, in the winter time, even the lowest possible RH of 35% is impossible to maintain.  In fact, most homes cannot meet this basic requirement.  What happens if your home falls outside the requirement?  What could happen?  Well, a very dry home (as seen in my example above) will cause excessive shrinkage.  The cork floor will contract so hard and so fast, it can cause the click edge to disengage – essentially unlocking the lock system and allowing the floor to walk itself apart.  This can be compounded by a less than stellar installation (perhaps that seam happened to be less than fully engaged and therefore easier for the floor to make the split).

If humidity is too high, then replica cartier love bracelets the opposite occurs.  The floors will expand beyond the required expansion gap at the wall.  The 1″ gap will be used up, the floor will jam itself against the wall and then the floor will buckle and heave.  It will look like an amusement park ride.

And to add insult to injury, the swings in humidity between the highest of the high and the lowest of the low, can cause the most upset.  A home that pops to 70% humidity in summer time and then drops to 25% humidity in the winter (a change of 45%) will cause the most amount of damage over the long term.  Even though cork can “handle” a range of 35% – 65%, it doesn’t mean it should experience the full range inside of 3 months. 

Consistent humidity is the key.  Consistent means control.  Humidity control comes with a Humidistat that is programmed cartier bracelets into the Heat and Cooling system of the house – and is fully functional.  That is an addition that most people do not own.  A hygrometer (or several) used in the home will help regular homeowners adjust their humidity through less complicated means (humidifier or dehumidifier).

No matter the situation, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain their home to manufacturer’s guidelines.  It is the crux of all warranties.  And all materials have this requirement.  All of them.  Doors, windows, carpets, paint, drywall, flooring, cabinets, and furniture.  Everything hinges on those two little letters:  RH.