How does an indoor environment affect the performance of wood floors?
Wood floors react to temperature and humidity changes inside a home as if they were “alive”. What you would consider comfortable for your own skin would also be ideal for a wood floor. Regardless of installation method, all wood flooring absorbs or loses moisture as conditions change slowly or rapidly inside your home. In order for the wood flooring to perform as designed, the temperature and humidity conditions inside a home must continuously be kept within a certain range, which varies slightly depending on the manufacturer and type of wood flooring. Wood floors don’t respond well to sudden indoor changes. As such, they need to be installed with gaps around the edges (covered with skirting boards) to allow for expansion and accommodate climatic changes. However, if high humidity swells the boards beyond these expansion gaps, the extra wood goes up, resulting in a buckled floor. Once the humidity drops, the floor should shrink back to its original size but now the edges of the boards have been crushed and permanently damaged and when the floor shrinks gaps between the boards may appear. Does every wood floor fail because the inside temperature/humidity levels greatly fluctuate? No. Do wide temperature/humidity swings greatly increase the odds of flooring failure? Yes.