Hardwood flooring has been popular since the 17th Century. But it has certain characteristics that many people are not aware of. For example, most of you would probably be surprised if their hardwood flooring distributor advised them to install the floor in winter. However, installing wood flooring during the winter months has numerous pros. Read on to learn why it is recommended and what will be the benefits for you.
Firstly, in winter the humidity level is low and thus less moisture will be left underneath your hardwood floor. Many manufacturers and retailers stress the importance of low moisture content in the air during the installation of wood floors and they do it for certain crucial reasons, i.e.:
• if moisture is left beneath the floors, the floor will most probably warp and buckle, which will make it look unsightly and uneven.
• damp subflooring creates perfect conditions for the development of mold and mildew
Usually, the moisture content in the winter air in your home is much lower than in the summer season, in some areas the air can be quite humid all around the year. That is why, you need to pay special attention to that factor when getting ready for the installation of your new floor. Carefully check the subfloor in the room where the floor is to be laid, then apply duct tape and a sheet of plastic around it. After several days remove it and check whether the plastic sheet is moist underneath. If it is the case, it’s better for you to put the installation process off for several days and let the floor dry out. In the case where the subfloor doesn’t dry out, you may need to use a dehumidifier to reduce the level of humidity in the air.
Moreover, remember about the need to let hardwood boards acclimate prior to the installation. In order to do so, bring the floorboards into the interior where you are planning to install them. You can either take them out from the boxes in which they were delivered, or leave them there (in which case, remember to open the boxes to allow the circulation of fresh air). Store them there for up to 10 days. In this way, the floorboards will adjust to the ambient temperature and humidity levels.
Another important thing that not all of you are aware of is that wood, just like most organic materials, tends to expand when the temperature level is high and contract if it’s low. It also changes depending on the humidity level – expanding when the air is damp and contracting in dry conditions. The reason for that is the fact that the vessels in tree trunks are vertically aligned tubes. They carry water and other nutrients vertically up the trunk, pulling it up from the ground and transporting it throughout the entire tree. The tubes are still there, even if the tree is cut. Therefore, in moist environment, water is absorbed by the wood, filling these tubes, which causes the expansion of the entire hardwood board.
Note that if you fail to take the above tips seriously, you can face problems and be dissatisfied with the final result. There may be a need to reinstall the floor or bear additional costs to repair it. So always remember to consider humidity and temperature levels in your home during the installation of a hardwood floor.
Professionals can confirm that fitting a floor in summer is more difficult, as it’s not an easy task to adequately space floorboards in the summer season, as they are “swollen” during those months. If you place the boards right next to each other in summer, then you may be surprised to see they shrunk during winter, leaving unsightly gaps.
There is, obviously, the other side of the coin as well. When laying a floor in winter and leaving no gaps which would allow the boards to expand, you can face a situation in which the floorboards crack after some time. That’s why a professional installer of hardwood flooring always leaves little gaps between the boards if they lay wood floors during winter.
An obvious reason for having a floor installed in winter is the fact that it’s frequently easier to get the installers to do the work during winter vacation than in the summer. And this is a good opportunity to get the whole installation process done, as many of us go on vacation in this period. All home renovations, and in particular painting walls and laying hardwood floors are troublesome. For this reason, if it is only possible you should get it done when you’re away, as this will spare you unnecessary trouble and nerves. If your hardwood flooring installer is reliable and you can trust them, simply ask them to lay the floor when you’re away.
Winter is a good period for making any home improvements, as in winter people tend to be more patient with renovation works. There will be much less rush and stress around the entire installation process, as during the holidays people are much more open when it comes to sharing their homes, so you can ask your friends or family to put you up at their place. Try to use that opportunity when getting your hardwood floor installed.
All in all, we would recommend all of you to have your wood floor installed in winter – the boards shrink during this period as the air is cold and dry. Moreover, your friends or family will be much more welcoming and open, letting you stay at their place for the time of installation works.