What Is the Perfect Floor for Your Climate? news | By Real Wood Floors


What Is the Perfect Floor for Your Climate?

Photo by the Revolt Agency

We enjoy being able to provide flooring to all fifty states.

That availability for a product like wood flooring comes with some considerations though such as, “What flooring type best fits the climate I live in?”

We enjoy being able to say that we have the floor to fit any climate. Given your region and your interior home’s climate, then you can acclimate your wood flooring product (which we will discuss more in depth shortly) to get its best performance and livelihood.

At Real Wood Floors we meet your climate needs by providing three different flooring options: solid wood, engineered wood, and a non-wood option known as Stone Polymer Composite (SPC).

Do you live in a climate with a low variation in moisture?

Photos by Russell Smith and JP Valery

If you dwell in a mountainous area or in a swampy region, then you will experience a low variation in moisture—because a low variation in moisture does not necessarily mean low humidity or little moisture. It only means that low variation exists.

If you live in the mountains of Colorado or in the desert of Nevada, then you are in a low-humidity environment, which also has little variation in its moisture levels. If you live in southern Florida, which has fairly high humidity year-round, you also dwell in a place with low variation in its moisture content.

So if you reside in a dry region of the West or in a wet region of the South, then you are in an excellent climate for solid wood flooring.

A solid wood floor: Crate, from the Storehouse Plank collection.

A solid wood floor can be easily installed in any climate, but it is the perfect product for a low-moisture-variant region.

You can take your home down to essentially a very arid environment, if you wish. You can also acclimate the floor to a very high humidity environment, if you wish. As long as that variation in the humidity is not changing drastically, then your floor won’t move drastically. The wood floor is not going to grow or shrink, and you won’t see a lot of seasonal gapping.

Once acclimated to your home environment, your floor will just sit there in stasis, perhaps like a bump on a log (we couldn’t resist), and be happy for the entirety of its life.

You can successfully achieve the proper acclimation by measuring the moisture content in the wood and referring to the equilibrium moisture content table above. This table serves as guide, and you will want to raise or lower the moisture in the flooring prior to installation. Then you can acclimate that wood to a moisture content at the midpoint of the range it should experience throughout the season.

Do you live in a climate with a medium to high variation in moisture?

Photo by Ant Rozetsky

Medium to high variation climates include states in the Midwest and in the Northeast as well as any other region where humid summers and cold winters abound. If you live in Minnesota or Maine, then your region will see a lot of moisture variation over the year.

A perfect flooring option for you is an engineered floor.

An engineered floor: Grace, from the Steadfast collection

Let’s look at an example showing why. If you put a wood floor in a space in Minneapolis (with high-moisture variation), you can acclimate the product to the midpoint, but in the humid summer the floor will push tightly together, and in the winter it will shrink a bit, and you’ll see some seasonal gapping. This is why traditional installers don’t put filler between any of the boards because weather changes will cause the flooring to move and thus push the filler out. So if you live in the Midwest, then you definitely want to consider an engineered flooring option.

Engineered floors have many advantages. They grow slower and shrink lesser overall than a solid. In medium to high moisture environments, you get a lot of forgiveness with an engineered floor especially when summer humidity spikes.

If you are in a low-moisture area, then you need to plan for adding some humidity into your home. This can be done in various ways, including using a humidifier (or adjusting one if it’s built into your HVAC system). Manufacturers of engineered flooring provide strict guidelines regarding the humidity levels for the environment of their floors, so please consult those to insure the best results.

All engineered floors are acclimated at the point of manufacture and therefore any home can be acclimated to the flooring. At Real Wood Floors we manufacture our flooring to be acclimated at a relative humidity (RH) range of 35 to 55%. We consider this the sweet spot. The other wood in your home performs best within this range. To measure this, you buy an inexpensive hygrometer online at our sister site, Real Clean Floors, or at your local box store. If you need to learn how to make the best use a hygrometer, then read our previous blog about it.

If your home’s humidity levels are very low or very high, then you can experience some detrimental issues to your health. High-humidity and even low-humidity environments can be friendly to bacteria and viruses. However, in the mid-range of 35 to 55 % relative humidity, bacteria and viruses perform the weakest, providing yet another incentive to keep your RH level in the sweet spot.

What is the internal climate of your home?

Photo from Pexels.com

We consider the internal climate of your home the third climate when picking out the right flooring.

Some environments in your home won’t be great for wood flooring whether real wood or engineered. Wood does well when humidity is known and accounted for, but wood and liquid water aren’t particularly fond of one another.

Think about where your home has the best chance to accumulate moisture. Avoid using actual wood in typical places such as bathrooms, utility rooms, mudrooms, and unfinished basements.

In these areas, you will want to go with SPC, stone polymer composite, which is a rigid-core product that create a wood look on a stone-composite plank. As well, SPC is a good solution if you have a concrete slab with high hydrostatic pressure.

An SPC floor: Toasted Almond, from the Reminiscent collection

But you might also want to consider using SPC in your kitchen, especially around the sink and dishwasher, where moisture forms and can be detrimental to a wood floor.

Let’s talk about your project.

Honest from the Steadfast Collection

The solution for your floor’s great performance over the long term is taking into account your environment and matching the right product to your environment.

We are more than happy to talk you through your project and help you pick out the right product for your climate and home. Please get in touch today via our website or by phone, 877.215.1831.

Posted on December 08, 2020