A majority of people in the construction industry will tell you that moisture is a huge problem for wood flooring and they are right. Excessive moisture is certainly an issue. The hidden factor most people often do not realize is massive temperature swings in a floor. This is most prevalent in remodeling projects. Here’s a sequential scenario of how a problem may arise:
- Flooring is installed at appropriate moisture content in relation to subfloor
- Remodeler and homeowner both agree to cut costs and maintain heat at 55 degrees F during that time the flooring is installed.
- Hardwood flooring is sanded and finished.
- Remodel is completed and homeowner moves in and turns up heat in the house to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Newly finished floor cups from excessive moisture
Warmer air has a much greater potential for holding moisture (relative humidity). I won’t go into extreme detail other than to point to this article by Craig DeWitt Ph.D in Hardwood Floors magazine. I have observed this phenomenon personally on a couple of remodel projects done by other flooring contractors. Both installations were done in the middle of winter also.
If you are remodeling, please don’t skimp on the heating bill or you will have more costly issues later.