Times of highest concern: May – August. In the same way that summer brings on different climatic conditions including higher humidity levels, (See Tech Bulletin #3 Cupping/Peaking floors) winter brings its own conditions, along with effects on your flooring.
WHAT IS GOING ON?
Around this time of the year, we receive phone calls from distressed floor owners that are wondering why their floor all of sudden has gaps in it? Is the floor going to fail?
As it gets colder, the humidity (airborne moisture) drastically reduces. This effectively dries everything out, just like how your lips go dry in the winter months.
As it gets colder, the humidity (airborne moisture) drastically reduces. This effectively dries everything out. This also removes the moisture in your timber, which then shrinks the boards, thus creating gaps.
To explain this better, when the overall relative humidity drops in the environment, and thus in the room, the overall moisture content of the timber also drops. For example an 80mm board would shrink approximately 0.25mm for every 1% change in its moisture content. This predominately occurs in solid timber and parquetry as well as some other products.
These types of gaps should appear quite evenly throughout the floor. If the gaps have only opened in a few boards, or gaps are appearing outside of colder or drier conditions, further investigations should be made as this may not be a climatic issue.
IS MY FLOOR RUINED?
Definitely not. The moisture that is leaving the timber will return once the season and climate changes, which almost always returns the floor back to normal.
IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO?
There are a couple of things you can do that will help. The first thing you could try is to place a bucket of water in the corner of the room. Not on the floor, still in the bucket. Yes just sit the bucket of water as is, in the corner See our online flooring showroom: out of the way You will be amazed how quickly the water level will go down in the bucket. This is the water in the bucket, directly changing the humidity levels in the room and hopefully your floor. You can also try wet mopping the floor, however this is recommended with a lot of caution. This DOES not mean putting too much excess water on your floor!
NOTE: If you want to be 100% sure your floor is not failing, you can have the moisture level of the timber checked and then compared to the original moisture content at the time of installation (or what the standard moisture content should be for that species).
WHAT NOT TO DO:
Most definitely don’t freak out and get your floor re-sanded, filled and coated again. This will just result in the filler being squeezed out come summer time and an even bigger problem.
For more information please contact us