All hardwood floors, due to their porous structure, absorb moisture. During the warm and humid months, you might notice that your hardwood floors change their appearance and that the boards start to warp.
These changes would not occur if the temperature and humidity levels in the area are held constant. If, however, there is no dehumidifier and central air conditioning in use, there could be permanent damage to your beautiful hardwood floors. Persistent exposure to excessive humidity will result in permanent distortion of the boards. The most vulnerable areas in the house are bathrooms, kitchens and basements, where the relative humidity is generally quite high. Vapour from cooking, and especially warm showers, saturate the air, and can be absorbed by hardwood floors.
Consequently, builders prefer not to take the risk, and instead substitute tiles, or concrete covered with epoxy, for hardwood. Kitchen hardwood floors are at a much lesser risk of moisture exposure with the use of good ventilation.
It is easier to control the air conditioning in a house, than in a condominium. Hardwood floors in condominiums are also at greater risk of being affected with moisture and temperature fluctuations. “Thirst” of the concrete subfloor adds to moisture accumulation.
This is the why solid hardwood floors are not recommended for “over concrete” installations. Engineered or solid sawn hardwood floors, as well as laminated floors, are ideal for a concrete subfloor. The recommended humidity range for hardwood floors is between 38% and 55%. For most exotic hardwood floors, humidity should not be lower than 40%. If this range is exceeded, the wood expands to the point where it will bend and buckle.
To preserve your investment, we recommend that you use a hygrometer to measure humidity in your home. If you live in a condominium or have a humid basement, a portable dehumidifier might be a solution for the summer.