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Moisture and Hardwood Flooring

Moisture or humidity in your home can cause big problems for hardwood floors. Since wood is a natural material, it continues to react to environmental changes, even after it is installed in your home as flooring. If a home has excessive moisture, hardwood floors will expand. Likewise, too little moisutre can cause wood to shrink. Solid wood floors can expand or contract as much as 3 inches over 10 feet – causing unsightly issues like cupping or gapping. So what can a homeowner do to prevent moisture problems? This article will highlight a few tips for doing just that. Also, be sure to watch the video tutorial mentioned below.

Tips for Homeowners

  • Before installation, always use a moisture meter to measure the moisture content of the sub-flooring.
  • Test several areas of the sub-flooring; the average moisture content should be somewhere between 10-14%.
  • Prefinished solid wood floors are greatly impacted by moisture. Therefore, they must be installed on or above grade.
  • Solid wood floors must be installed over a plywood, wood, or OSB subfloor and should be nailed or stapled.
  • Prefinished engineered wood floors (multi-ply layers laminated together) are less impacted by moisture since they expand and contract in all directions. Therefore, engineered floors can be used on all grade levels and over most subfloors (including concrete).
  • Floating wood floors (engineered floors manufactured into panels) can also be installed at all grade levels and over any flat subfloor.

Video Tutorial


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Have a question about how the humidity in your home could be impacting your hardwood floors? Contact a Universal Hardwood representative today. We’re here to help you!

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