Hardwood Flooring & the Environment
Wood is an organic material that reacts to its environment. It is hygroscopic, meaning that it absorbs and loses moisture in reaction to its surrounding environment. In humid environments, wood gains moisture and swells. In dry environments, wood loses moisture and shrinks. This is completely normal and happens at all stages of the wood life cycle, even as the tree is growing in the forest. If wood gains or loses too much moisture, problems can occur.
Wood that gains too much moisture can cup. Cupping occurs across the width of a floor board with edges that are raised on each board and centers that are lower than the edges.
Cupping always happens due to a moisture imbalance through the thickness of the board.
Wood that loses too much moisture can gap. Gapping occurs between floor boards. Gaps can vary in size and are considered normal if they appear and disappear during seasonal changes in humidity.
Gaps are not considered normal if they are large or do not close during more humid months.
One of the best ways to eliminate problems with your wood flooring is to choose the right flooring.
If a solid hardwood floor is the right floor for you, choosing the right species with the right board width can save you a lot of problems down the road. Domestic species such as oak, maple, hickory, ash, fir, pine, cherry, and walnut make for beautiful floors and serve well in the dry Colorado environment.
Board widths of 5“ inches or less are also recommended by the Flooring Professionals at Creations Hardwoods. The larger the boards are, the more wood there is to expand and contract.
Creations Hardwoods will install wood up to 7” in width, however there is an additional charge and special liability waivers required due to the risks associated with wood greater than 5 inches.
For more exotic species, an in-home humidification species will need to be considered, but this will need to be discussed with your hardwood installation professional.
We recommend a more stable engineered hardwood for an exotic look without the risk.
For these and other recommendations, please talk to your flooring professional at Creations Hardwoods.