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The Behavior of Hardwood Flooring


Seasonal Cracks In Your Hardwood Floor?

As the outside temperature begins to drop, you may notice cracks in your hardwood floor begin to appear. This is a very common occurrence, especially in dry, arid climates and is perfectly normal.

Because wood flooring is a natural product, it has some moisture in it at all times. The content of this moisture will change as the moisture in the environment changes. As the ambient air dries out, the wood will also dry out and shrink. This shrinking is what causes the appearance of cracks between the boards.

How Weather Affects Your Floors

There are two ways that the cold weather will affect your hardwood floor. When the outside temperature begins to drop, homeowners will keep their windows and doors closed and turn on the heating systems.

The heat will cause the inside air to dry out, pulling moisture from the wood, causing the wood to shrink and crack. It is usually most noticeable around heat vents or baseboard heating units. This can be somewhat minimized by installing a humidifier to the heating system.

The second factor that affects wood flooring is when the outside temperature drops below freezing. Most of the moisture in the air will drop out as frost, snow, or ice so during long periods of below freezing cold, there is much less moisture in the air, and you will probably notice an increase in shrinking and cracking.

Again, by having a humidification system in you home, you can minimize the effects of the cold.

Is the Shrinking and Cracking Permanent?

This shrinking and cracking is only temporary. As the temperature and humidity levels begin to increase in the spring and summer and windows and doors are opened, the wood will begin to absorb this moisture and expand back to its original state.