Thursday, May 24, 2012

Water and Wood Flooring: Understanding Moisture-Related Problems

Wholesale hardwood flooring, because it is a natural product, interacts with whatever environment it’s placed in. If the environment is moist, the flooring will absorb some of that moisture. If the environment is dry, the hardwood flooring will become drier, too. These moisture-related variations are responsible for many hardwood flooring problems. Here are a few principles that will help you understand these issues.

The first thing you need to know is that the drying of wood is an equilibrium process that is ongoing for the life of the wood. Many people assume that once the wood is harvested and dried, it stays that dry for the rest of its life, but this isn’t so.

hardwood flooring moisture problems

As the drying process unfolds, the wood will eventually reach what is called equilibrium moisture content (EMC), which simply means that it’s reached a point where its moisture content is in sync with the surrounding air — it’s neither drying out further nor absorbing moisture from the environment.

The reason this is important is because wood changes shape when its moisture content changes. Thus, if the wood is not at EMC when it’s installed, it will deform as it reaches its equilibrium point, which can lead to cupping, checking, or both.

Cupping occurs when the surface layer of the wood dries faster than the underlying strata. The surface layer shrinks and drags the whole piece into a bowed or cupped shape. Checking occurs when the mismatch between the shrinking surface and the lower layers is so extreme that the surface wood actually cracks.

Your Wood Monsters wholesale hardwood flooring representative can tell you more about how to avoid these problems in your installation. Contact your Wood Monsters representative today to get your project off on the right foot so these moisture-related problems don’t affect you!

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