It's no secret that Colorado Springs has two humidity levels - dry and drier. But it might not be commom knowledge that low humidity is no friend to hardwood floors.
What happens when hardwood floors lose too much of their moisture content? Since this post is not for a scientific journal, suffice it to say that hardwood floors do not like to get all dried out. Low humidity in the winter and not-as-low humidity during spring and summer months means that hardwood floors are expanding - when humidity is higher - and contracting - when humidity levels are lower. This excessive "movement" is not healthy for the floor and will cause gaps to appear between boards.
It is not uncommon for me to receive calls from homeowners complaining about gaps in their floor. My first question is: "Do you have a humidifier?" About 90% of the time, the answer is no. I then proceed to explain the importance of maintaining proper humidity levels. The proper level on the low side is 30 - 35%. On the high side you need not worry. 10 - 15% humidity levels are not unusual in Colorado Springs during winter months. So the job of the humidifier is to bring those levels up an additional 15% or so.
There are two kinds of humidifiers that you might consider: whole-house humidifiers and area humidifiers. There are pluses and minuses to both. The advantage to a whole-house humidifier is that there is little to no care involved. And, as the name suggests, it will do the whole house. These humidifiers generally mount to the furnace. When the furnace is on, the humidifier is on. However, there may be times when the humidifier needs to be on to maintain proper humidity levels but the furnace is not on. The best setup is one in which the humidifier can be on whenever it needs to be on, independent of the furnace cycles. Most of these humidifiers allow you to set the humidity level you want to achieve. Even so, it's always good to have a hygrometer (the device that measures humidity) or two in the areas where there are hardwood floors. Setting the humidifier at 30% doesn't necessarily mean that a 30% level will be achieved. If the actual levels are lower, you can change the setting to 35% or whatever it needs to be in order to achieve the desired humidity level.
Area humidifiers are generally cheaper and can be used to regulate humidity levels in a single room or area of the house. The main problem with these humidifiers is that they have to be filled with water on a regular basis. Also, if water is spilled on the floor anytime or every time the humidifier is being filled the boards will warp and then your solution becomes the problem.
All that to say "Yes" you need a humidifier if you have hardwood floors and you want to protect them and properly maintain them.
Written by Jennifer Karami on June 13, 2019
Installing new floors is a great way to update the look of your home while adding fresh appeal. While style and design are key components of the decision-making process, homeowners often neglect other areas that should be taken into consideration. Whether you choose hardwood, vinyl, or laminate flooring, be sure to do your research, especially if you’re planning to do it yourself. Otherwise, the cheapest flooring options can become more costly in the long run.
Here are 9 tips to help you avoid common flooring mistakes.
If you have hardwood floors in your home, chances are you may have had to deal with water damage or perhaps you will in the future. Water damage can range from very minor - where you may not see the signs of it at all - to very serious, like when the floor is flooded with water from a broken pipe or an ice-maker hose.
Very often, the extent of the damage is determined by how long the water is on the floor before it is discovered and dealt with. Sometimes the water travels underneath the hardwood and is not at all visible from above. It becomes visible when warped boards begin to appear.
If you're considering many different types of wood for your hardwood floor, one thing to take into account is the hardness of a particular species. Below is a chart to help you make your decision.
The above results are based on the Janka Hardness Test. All hardnesses are approximate, and based on the specific species used for flooring (For instance, Bamboo normally ranges from 1400 to 1700, but the way it is used in flooring can yeild an actual hardness of around 1160).
Douglas Fir is typically used for construction grade products (such as 2X4's), and not for flooring. It is included simply as a frame of reference (ie. Brazilian Teak is over 5 times as hard as Douglas fir).
The most common hardwood floor in Colorado Springs is red oak. This is a very stable wood (meaning that it expands and contracts very little), is of medium hardness, and more affordable than most other woods. As with all the woods we install, red oak is available in pre-finished or site-finished. Other woods we have installed include: maple, hickory, walnut, ash, white oak, american cherry and brazilian cherry. All of these hardwoods have their own distinctive looks and characteristics. We install engineered and laminate flooring as well.