Steam bath. Sauna. There are certain times of the year (like now) when our Wisconsin weather certainly fits these terms to a T. You know what we mean: when you just step out the door and start to sweat, and your clothes end up a sopping mess after a short walk. Your wood floors go through the same struggle, except a sopping floor can’t just be thrown in the dryer; actually the “soppiness” (moisture) from high humidity or spills can damage your wood floors.
While we can’t do anything about your sweating (except recommend air conditioning or a good fan), we can give you tips to keep your wood floors from damage from the high humidity:
Track your home’s humidity.
Just as the weather forecasters track the humidity outside, you can also track the amount of moisture in your home’s air with a humidistat. The ideal humidity for wood floors is between 35-55%. Higher levels of moisture in your air can cause your floors swell and warp. Low humidity can make your floors crack and splinter.
Keep your humidity at an ideal level.
Once you’ve started tracking your home’s moisture level, now is the time to control it for the good of your floors. Make sure you don’t go too far by drastically increasing or decreasing your home’s humidity. If your humidity level is too high, a dehumidifier or air conditioner can resolve your moisture problem. For a low air moisture reading, a humidifier can add the appropriate amount of water to the air; monitor your humidifier to make sure your moisture level is between 35-55%.
Minimize the amount of water on your floor.
In addition to monitoring your home’s humidity level, you can protect your floors from water damage by keeping your floors as dry as possible:
- Wipe up any spills as soon as possible.
- Never use a steam cleaner on your wood floors (it can also void your warranty).
- Use only a damp mop to clean wood floors (and approved cleaners, again for the sake of the warranty).
- Use rugs and mats (with protectors under) to keep water from getting tracked on to your wood floors.
- Request that your guests take off their shoes at the door.
- Ask local flooring experts for advice on how to keep your wood floors in peak condition.