SVB Wood Floors Blog

Monthly Archives: November 2018

Hardwood Floors and Humidity

Hardwood Floors & HumidityWater and wood floors is never a good combination. Wood floors are porous and absorb moisture. That’s why it’s important to watch the humidity level in your home. The humidity level, whether too high or too low, of your home can affect your wood floors. So how do you know if you have a humidity problem and what’s the magic humidity level?

The wood floor experts at SVB Wood Floors have a few tips about how to control the humidity in your home in order to maintain your beautiful wood floors.

 

Why Is Humidity Bad for Wood Floors?

Because wood is a porous material, it soaks up moisture which can damage it. Depending on how much moisture, and how long the hardwood floor is exposed to it, it can do irreparable damage.

The humidity levels in your home are extremely important for maintaining your wood floors because moisture loss causes wood to shrink and moisture absorption causes wood to swell. Here are some warning signs that suggest you may need some help with humidity.

 

Symptoms of Not Enough Humidity in Winter

In the wintertime, the most common symptom you see in hardwood floors is gapping between the planks.

What happens is that, when we turn our furnaces on, the humidity level inside our homes plummets.

This causes the wood to shrink. Hardwood floors do not shrink consistently in all directions. When humidity levels decrease, the boards will shrink more from side to side than end to end.

Thus, the distance between the planks grows larger causing gaps. This also means that wider boards will shrink more than narrower boards.

Related Read: How to Keep Winter Weather From Destroying Your Hardwood Floors

 

Symptoms of Too Much Humidity in Summer

Excess humidity in the summer can cause the wood planks to expand and press against each other. This increase in pressure can cause the boards to cup or become higher on the edges than in the center.

Just as in low humidity cases, the boards swell more from side to side than end to end. In extreme cases, the pressure can cause the boards to crack.

Related Read: 8 Ways You’re Destroying Your Hardwood Floors

 

What Should My Humidity Levels Be in My Home?

So what’s a safe humidity range for your wood floors?  Most experts agree that an ideal level of indoor humidity is around 45%, although anything between 35% and 55% is acceptable.

Summer is usually not as big of a problem as winter. As long as you run your air conditioner, it will remove excess humidity from the air. Winter is when we see the worst problems with a lack of humidity. The relative humidity of indoor air during heating season can be as low as 10%-15%. To put that into context, consider that the average relative humidity in the Sahara Desert is 25%!

Think about that. Your home can be drier than the desert during the cold winter months! That’s not good for you and it’s definitely not good for your wood floors!

 

Humidifiers Put Moisture Back in the Air

Your home needs extra humidity in the winter, but how do you add it and control it to maintain an optimal level. Here are a few humidifier tips to help you do just that:

Purchase a Hygrometer

This device measures relative humidity so that you can easily monitor humidity levels in your home. It will tell you when your humidity is too low so you know you need more moisture to keep your wood floors (and furniture and woodwork) healthy. It is inexpensive and you can pick one up at your local hardware store.

Have a Humidifier Installed on Your HVAC System

A humidistat that’s built into the unit will let you set humidity levels rather than leave it to chance. This is an ideal solution because it allows you to control humidity levels year-round so you can avoid damaging your wood floors with humidity levels that are too high in the summer or too low in the winter.

Portable Humidifiers

While portable humidifiers aren’t as convenient as a whole-house system that’s integrated into your HVAC system, they’re better than nothing. You’ll have to clean the moisture that may gather around them and refill them every few days. Most manufacturers recommend using distilled water rather than tap water which can cause mineral deposits that affect the humidifier’s efficiency.

 

If you’ve experienced a humidity-related problem with your wood floors and need advice on how to repair them, give us a call at (816) 965-8655 or contact us online to get your free quote.

Keep Your Hardwood Floors Scratch Free with These 10 Moving Tips

Keep Floors Scratch FreeNo one likes to move heavy objects like furniture and refrigerators, but sometimes, it just has to be done. Unfortunately, many times moving heavy items results in terrible scratches on hardwood floors. At SVB Wood Floors, we get hardwood floor repair calls all the time when homeowners scratch their floors while moving furniture. Next time you’re in a pinch and need to move something heavy, use these tips:

1. Clean It Up

One of the most common mistakes homeowners make is moving furniture before cleaning their floors. Sure it’s a pain, but it will save you some grief later. Small pieces of gravel and even general dust buildup under your furniture can wreak havoc if caught between a heavy piece of furniture and the floor. Always sweep your floors and make sure there is no grit especially in the pathway you will be using.

2. Move Furniture Slowly

It may sound silly, but don’t be in a hurry when moving heavy objects. If it slides off of its padding, damage can happen fast. It’s best to keep a close eye on the part that is on the floor to avoid damage. If something feels or sounds off, you can stop easily and reduce any scratches that may have started.

3. Never Drag Furniture

First things first, if you can avoid dragging furniture, do. If it can be lifted and moved, it is always safer for your hardwood floor. But sometimes you don’t have the luxury of a burly friend or the time to find additional help. If lifting is out of the question, be very careful when dragging or sliding. Always make sure there is a cushion of some sort between the furniture and the floor.

4. Lighten the Load

First things first: shed the weight. If you have a heavy object, you’ll want to make it as light as possible before making the move. For instance, remove the drawers from dressers or the contents from your refrigerator or the books and knickknacks from your bookshelves.

Additionally, if you have a piece with a mirror attached, take the time to unscrew a few screws and set the mirror aside to avoid potential damage and some seriously bad luck. Not only will removing drawers and other objects make the piece lighter, but it will also prevent them from sliding out and hurting your hardwood floors and toes.

5. Soften the Surface When Sliding

Once again, this should be a no-brainer, but always put something soft between the floor and the object. Choose something that will easily move across the floor like folded towels, thick moving blankets, small area rugs or carpet remnants with the fuzzy side toward the wood floor.

One thing to remember, if you do choose to use rugs or carpet leftovers, make sure to shake them out to avoid any grit or debris. Also, avoid using cardboard as it can be abrasive and leave dull spots.

Related Read: How to Protect Wood Floors from Paws, Claws, and In-Laws

6. Try It on Its Side

If it’s not too big or heavy, consider laying the object on its side or back to slide it. Make sure it is on something soft and easily slidable, but extra thick and durable for the added surface area that’s needing to be covered.

Distributing the weight over a larger area will reduce the chance of scratching. This will also put less stress on the object’s legs if it has them. Just be careful to watch the corners and legs when you lift it back up to its upright position. (We suggest having help for this option.)

7. Get Some Gliders

If you haven’t used these yet, you’re gonna love ‘em. These special pads, called gliders, fit under your furniture and make moving heavy objects a breeze. There are tons of nifty options online that come in different sizes and variety packs, and all at great prices! These are reusable and super convenient if you’ve been known to do a little feng shui rearranging from time to time.

8. Refrigerator Trick

Refrigerators are notorious for scratching hardwood floors. When installing a refrigerator, we suggest laying two pieces of hardboard just in front of where the back wheels will be when it is in its final position, slide it back into place on the boards, and then carefully lean it backward to remove the boards.

9. Don’t Trust the Wheels

Always be careful of wheels. They tend to give us a bit too much confidence. Just because a piece is on wheels, doesn’t mean that those wheels won’t scratch or dent your wood floors. Wheels can also get stuck in a sideways position and not roll at all, but rather scrape the floor. Place a piece of 1/4” thick hardboard on your floor and roll the wheels over it.

10. Don’t Use Dollies with Hard Rubber Wheels

Dollies are great for moving heavy objects, but certain kinds can be a nightmare for your hardwood floors. If you use a dolly, make sure it has inflatable rubber wheels, not hard rubber. Hard rubber wheels, plus the weight of the object, can create the perfect storm for dents and damage.

We hope these tips help keep your hardwood floors looking great. If you accidentally damage your wood floors, give us a call and our experts can make them look new again.

 

Call us at (816) 965-8655 for wood floor repairs. If you’d like to learn more ways to keep your hardwood looking great, download our free guide below:

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