When replacing your floor, or building a floor from scratch, there are a lot of decisions that have to be made. Most of the decisions that are made are based on style, budget, and one huge factor where you live: humidity. Humidity, or lack thereof, plays a very important role in how your floors will look and feel as well as how long they will last. For those of us in a humid area, we have to be very careful about not only what type of floor we choose but also how it is installed. We at Carolina Flooring have put together some tips on how to choose the best flooring for a humid climate.
First, lets go over the two major problems that can be caused by humidity in regards to wood flooring: cupping and crowning. Cupping is caused when the edges of the board are slightly higher than the center, causing it to look like a cup in the middle. Crowning is the opposite, which is where the center of the board is higher than the ends.
Now that you are aware of what could happen, let’s look into ways to avoid it. The best option would be not to choose wood flooring. The best flooring for a humid climate would either be concrete or carpet. If that isn’t your idea of a dream home, there are some wood flooring options available.
If hard wood floors are the only thing that you would like in your home, here is a list for you ranking from the best to use through ones that would not be recommended. The best for hard wood would be bamboo. There are a multitude of reasons why bamboo is the best flooring for humid climates. The first one is that the trees themselves are usually found in a humid climate and know how to keep moisture at bay. It’s also green, meaning good for the environment, beautiful, easy to install, termite resistant, and lastly moisture and stain resistant. If those weren’t enough to convince you, bamboo is a cheap option.
If bamboo doesn’t seem like a good fit for you, there are other hard wood options, the first being an engineered wood. Engineered wood is real wood on the top, and is built board by board as opposed to cutting boards from a natural hunk of a tree. This is considered the best flooring for a humid climate because it is less vulnerable than solid wood and it can be used in any region. If solid wood is the only floor for you, there are a few sizes that can be considered. These are 5/16″, 3/8″, and 1/2″ in thickness. While these floors can be used in a humid climate, you need to make sure they are properly installed and maintained to keep them not only looking good but make them last for the life of your home. The last solid wood option for flooring is not a good one for a humid climate: it is any board that is 3/4″ or more thick. This thickness would have a very hard time keeping moisture out which would cause numerous problems for you.
The proper way to install any hard wood flooring when you live in a humid region is first to check the moisture content of your concrete subfloor. If your moisture content is high don’t worry! Just put in some heaters, either propane or electric, and let the subfloor dry and check the moisture content in a few days. Also, remember to let your floors sit in their box in the room you plan on installing it for at least 2 to 3 days to let it acclimate to it’s new surroundings.
Please contact us at Carolina Flooring today to talk about all of your new floor options!