Whether your hardwood floors were just installed, or you've lived in a home with hardwoods for years, you know what it takes to keep your floors looking worthy of a double-page spread in Southern Living. Special cleaning products and polishes, along with microfiber duster and mops are all heralded as "must-haves" for all types of hardwood floor owners. And while I am certainly not trying to take away your excuse to mop yourself onto the couch and binge watch your favorite TV show as your floor dries, there's a much easier step to take to ensure the longevity of your floors: humidity control.
Controlling the level of humidity in your home to preserve your hardwood floors is a much easier task than it sounds. The sweet spot for hardwood floors is right in between 35% and 55% humidity, and in between 60 degrees and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
what is comfortable for you is generally comfortable for the floors.
Too humid, and you get a damp, clammy feeling on your skin, right? It's the same for the floors. The wood retains that moisture in the air and swells equally in every direction, causing cracks and warping.
Too dry, and your skin gets tight and cracked. Again, so does the wood in your floors. The floors dry out and shrink, causing cracks and gaps along your gorgeous oak floors that aren't a cheap fix.
The best thing you can do is invest in a good humidifier and dehumidifier to maintain a homeostasis in your home. Your floors aren't going to shrink every time you turn the heat on, but wide and frequent fluctuations in temperature will have an effect on your floors. The key is consistency.
So while having hardwood floors can sometimes seem like having a high maintenance roommate, humidity control is a small price to pay for the value of the hardwood floors that makes your house a home.