Hardwood Floors Are Coming Apart at the Seams Why?

February 27th 2007
Hardwood Floors Are Coming Apart at the Seams Why?

Q: I have a beautiful hardwood floor in my home that was installed a few years ago. What I have noticed is in the winter months the wood boards appear to open up a bit, yet in the summer months they look nice and tight.  We are aware it is important for the wood to acclimatize to the room before it's installed so we had the flooring in the home for seven days before it was installed. Have you any suggestions as to what is causing this and what can I do to stop it from happening in the future?

Please help me,

A: Good installers will never lay any hardwood flooring until the moisture level in the home gets down to 35-40% relative humidity and 5-8% moisture in the sub straight plywood. As these conditions are met flooring is moved into the home and sits for 2-3 days in order to become accustomed to the surroundings, which is called seasoning. If the flooring is properly seasoned you will not get shrinking which is what causes the seams to open unless the home is allowed to dry out by allowing the relative humidity to fall below 40% level.

When and if hardwood floors open at the seams, this is a sign that moisture must be added by humidification either through your furnace or a portable humidifier source.