Do you find your hardwood shrinking or expanding depending on the season? This is a common issue experienced by many homeowners nationwide, but the problem is more widespread in places like Waukesha that have cold, dry winters and hot, humid summers. Learning how temperatures and humidity affect your floors is essential for proper hardwood maintenance. Luckily, at Floor Coverings International Waukesha, we know a thing or two about hardwood. Read on for more information about hardwood flooring and humidity.

Hardwood Shrinking

maple hardwood flooring waukesha

We refinished this gorgeous maple hardwood flooring in a Waukesha home.

This is one of the most common questions we encounter—especially this time of the year. Your hardwood shrinks in the wintertime because there is less humidity in the air. This is natural and not detrimental, but it is not something people like to see in their new flooring.

You can keep your hardwood consistent by making sure the air in your house is adequately humid. According to our owner, Matt Werner: “The recommended relative humidity levels in your home should be between about 40%-60%, which can be gauged using a cheap hydrometer from Home Depot or Lowe’s.”

Depending on the age of your home and where it is located, some have more trouble maintaining the recommended levels of humidity than others. “Use of a humidifier or potentially a whole house humidifier like an Aprilaire system added to your furnace can help achieve these recommended levels of humidity.  Once winter comes to a close and the furnace isn’t running nonstop, the planks should regain most of their original size,” says Matt.

Hardwood Expansion

Your hardwood floors expand in the summer because of the high levels of humidity in the air. This is generally less noticeable than shrinking unless your hardwood “cups”, or starts to warp as a result. Most air conditioners dehumidify air, but if you don’t use an air conditioner in the summer, it may be wise to invest in a dedicated dehumidifier to keep the humidity consistent year round.

Learn More

For more information about the best conditions for hardwood, reach out to the local flooring experts at Floor Coverings International Waukesha. We proudly provide the greater Waukesha, Brookfield, Milwaukee area with quality products and friendly service. Call today for a free, in-home consultation.