Shockingly enough, Michigan has reached it's first winter weather worthy of a storm advisory! It has come much later than we would have expected, but this inevitable event has finally caught up to us in the middle of January. We've been pretty lucky up to this point.
Now that we're getting into the real winter weather we've all come to expect of our dear state, we're having to think about all the things the change in temperature affects. Our skin, our hair, our lips; everything begins to dry up and crack. Our exterior becomes an unrecognizable and uncomfortable representation of our more hydrated, more sun-kissed summer selves. It's a reality that I think many of us would rather not have to face each winter.
Like our bodies, floors made of real wood are affected by the season. Like most everything that comes from nature, hardwood planks have a bit of life in them. They absorb moisture from the air, which causes them to expand the way a balloon would if you filled it with water. In the spring and summer months you may notice that your hardwood floors start to bubble or warp a bit. This is caused by the floor taking on extra moisture. The result can take the form of cupping (the edge of your boards being higher than the center), crowning, (the edge of your boards being lower than the center), or buckling (when your flooring starts to pull away from the subfloor) in your floors. Any of these can lead to bigger issues in your floor.
So, what happens in the winter when the humidity levels in the air take a plunge? Your boards start to shrink up and leave spaces between them. This isn't necessarily a terminal issue for your floor, but it certainly isn't good for it. You shouldn't have to worry if you notice your floor going back to normal as the humidity levels rise. There are cases, however, where allowing these drastic changes in humidity has caused permanent damage in a hardwood floor that later cost a significant amount of money to fix or replace. Nobody wants that.
You may be asking, "How am I supposed to know if the floorboards are going to change?". The truth of it is, you just have to ask. Go out and get a moisture meter from the store and see how much moisture needs to be in the air. If it's a significant amount, then you simply have to turn a humidifier on and take a quick reading every now and then to monitor your humidity levels. You can also add draft blockers around your windows and doors to help keep the dry air outside. If you are going to be installing a new floor, be sure to ask you contractor about acclimating it.
Well, that's all we have for you today. Be safe on the roads today. It's getting slippery.