Seasonal Issues Concerning Real Wood Flooring
Seasonal failures or issues with wooden floors happen and there is no way to hide this fact. Fortunately, issues with wood flooring caused by the seasonal changes are absolutely preventable. However, the bad thing is that wood floor specialists and sellers, who know about the risks for a wooden floor that come with the change of seasons and how to easily avoid and prevent them, usually presume that clients know all the information too and that customers already realise how wood flooring would react to seasonal changes, so they know how to prevent that.
Unfortunately, this is not quite the case and there is nothing wrong if you, as a client, don't know what to expect from your wooden floor and its response to the changing temperatures, humidity and moisture levels. The main thing that should be done in this situation is reminding wood specialists of the importance of good and in-depth conversation with each and every client in order to guide them in this world of choosing and owning the perfect wooden floor.
There is no doubt that consumers, nowadays, usually do in-depth research of the products and goods they are planning to buy or the services they are planning to pay for. Wood flooring definitely does not make an exception from the rule. In fact, when it comes to something as big of an investment as a real wood floor, consumers are even more interested in learning as much about what they are buying as possible. However, in most cases, clients would mainly focus on the aesthetic and appearance of the wooden floor when shopping for one rather than anything else, often considering that high quality and high price often mean that they won't experience issues with the wooden floor.
Unfortunately, the price and even the quality of the floor often have nothing to do with guaranteeing you won't experience issues with the floor. In fact, seasonal changes can impact and cause issues even with highest premium quality, very expensive floors and this has to do with the way wood naturally responds to changes in its environment, not with the quality of the floorboards. Therefore, when investing into a pricey wooden floor, you want to make sure you will be able to enjoy it in perfect condition as long as possible. Partially, this can be guaranteed by having a proper and regular maintenance routine, especially during a time of transition from season to season.
So next time you are visiting the wood flooring showroom, getting samples and shopping for the wooden floor of your dreams, make sure you are not focusing on appearance mainly and don't hesitate to ask all the questions that come to your mind and that can strongly affect and determine your final choice.
Here are some pretty common issues your beautiful wooden floor can experience with the change of seasons and with the temperatures and humidity levels dropping down or rising:
Even when cut into floorboards, wood has a porous structure, which pretty much means it will still respond to changes in its environment, often in the form of expanding once it starts absorbing moisture. Shrinking will then happen once the wooden floorboards start losing the moisture. Gapping or cupping occurs in the result of increased indoor moisture levels and the image of wooden floorboards experiencing cupping is definitely shocking to many homeowners.
Gapping or cupping can be less noticeable with different and denser wood species or with narrower floors, however, it can still happen with all types of real wood flooring and you should be aware of it. So if you prefer to get wider wood flooring planks, be aware that cupping and gapping will eventually happen and this does not have to shock you as it is expected. The best way to minimise cupping and gapping is by having an HVAC system that can help you maintain a stable environment all throughout the year. Such HVAC systems usually have a humidification and dehumidification sub-systems.
To a certain extent, checks or splits are acceptable. However, you, as an owner of a real wood floor, should be aware of the extent to which splits are acceptable. In general, checks or splits are a result of stresses experienced by the wooden floorboards during the drying process. More often or not, splits are not visible during the manufacturing and installation processes, so more likely you won't notice them once the floor is installed.
However, once the relative humidity in your home drops, you may start noticing the splits and they can really stand out. Remember, you don't have to replace your entire floor just because of splits. Remember, every wooden floor, no matter how pricey or high-quality it is, will have some amount of checking, so be aware of that in order to have realistic expectations when buying your floor.
Some of the most popular styles and designs of wood flooring that attract a lot of attention and love in recent years are the textures, wire brushed, hand scrapped wooden floorboards that are generally called distressed wood. As the name suggests, the distressed look of a wooden floor is achieved by purposefully damaging and weakening the surface of the wooden floor.
However, these weakened and damaged areas can develop splinters over time, additionally affected by the seasonal changes of the humidity levels in the house. Therefore, if you like running barefoot around the house, you have small children crawling, or pets in the house, you better opt for another option of beautiful flooring and don't choose a distressed wooden floor.