How to Maintain the Right Humidity for Your Hardwood Floors

Noisy, squeaky hardwood floors can take the joy out of any room. Sure, they look beautiful, but sometimes that beautiful look comes with an irritating price – over-humidified floors. Hardwood floors need a specific amount of moisture to keep them looking good and functioning properly. But don’t stress! It’s easy to maintain the right humidity level and make sure they stay looking beautiful. Read on to learn how to keep your hardwood floors from squeaking and what you should do to make sure they function properly.

Quick Insight

The ideal humidity range for hardwood floors is between 40-50%. Keeping your hardwood floors in this range will help prevent warping or cracking.

“To increase the longevity and aesthetic appeal of your hardwood floors, maintaining a relative humidity around 45-55% is key. Deviations can lead to issues like warping or gaps. Pay attention to your home’s humidity level and adjust as necessary using humidifiers or dehumidifiers, for the sake of both your flooring and overall indoor air quality. Remember, your living space is an ecosystem unto itself.”

Ivan L. Zaffiro, Environmental Engineer, Indoor Quality Specialist

Why is Humidity Important for Hardwood Floors?

Humidity levels are incredibly important when it comes to hardwood floor maintenance. These floors require a balance of humidity to prevent warping, curling and gapping. If the humidity level is too high, wood can start to swell, creating cupping or buckling. Too low and the wood may start to shrink and gaps may appear between the planks. Keeping a consistent humidity level is therefore essential for ensuring that hardwood floors remain in their best condition for years to come.

That being said, there are certain benefits that come with low humidity levels as well. Especially in hotter climates, lower indoor humidity levels can signal an extra layer of protection against fungi, molds and mildews that might otherwise be able to thrive in high humidity conditions. Low humidity levels also reduce dust, pollen and other allergens that would otherwise be attracted to areas with high levels of moisture.

Overall, while it is important to consider both sides of the argument when it comes to choosing the right amount of humidity for hardwood floors, there’s no doubt that maintaining the right level should be a priority for homeowners who want their floors to remain structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing for years to come. In the next section we’ll look at how professionals measure and maintain these all-important humidity levels for ideal wood floor performance.

How to Measure and Maintain Humidity Levels

Measuring and maintaining the right humidity levels is essential to keeping your hardwood floors looking their best. The ideal level of relative humidity (RH) for a home’s interior should be between 30-50%. Anything lower can cause the wood to shrink and crack, while higher levels of RH can lead to warping, cupping and buckling of the wood. Accurately measuring and maintaining these levels helps prevent costly damage to the floor.

There are various options suitable for measuring humidity levels in your home. A simple hygrometer (a device that measures humidity) can be purchased at most hardware stores or online for a relatively small sum. There are also more sophisticated monitoring systems designed for tracking fluctuations in climate, such as sensing humidity, temperature and air pressure over a range of days or weeks at a time.

If the humidity level is too low, it may be necessary to take action to increase it. This may involve running a humidifier in the area where hardwood floors are located. It’s important not to overdo it, however—keeping relative humidity within the recommended range (between 30-50%) is key for successfully maintaining hardwood floors.

In the event that an area of the home has an excessively high level of RH, dehumidifiers can be used to reduce it. However, property owners should first consider if existing ventilation is sufficient before investing in additional equipment as this may help with regulating air moisture without any need for further intervention.

To ensure long-term maintenance of hardwood floors, you should regularly monitor indoor humidity levels. It’s especially advised when summer weather starts bringing higher outdoor temperatures and increased RH outdoors that could also lead to higher relative humidity indoors as well. Having accurate indoor readings can help homeowners better manage their environment and optimize their efforts towards properly maintaining their hardwood floors.

Maintaining proper humidity levels is an important part of protecting hardwood flooring from damage due to excessive dryness or moisture. In this section we discussed how to measure and maintain the right humidity level for optimal results. Now let’s move on to discuss how specific tools like humidity gauges and sensors enable more accurate readings and better regulation of one’s environment in order to keep hardwood floors looking good for years to come!

  • The optimal relative humidity level for hardwood floors is between 30 – 50%.
  • Research has shown that hardwood floors exposed to environments outside of this range can potentially suffer from warping and rot.
  • An increase in humidity of more than 4% can result in an accumulation of moisture in the hardwood flooring, which can cause swelling and discoloration.

Humidity Gauges and Sensors

Humidity gauges and sensors are an important tool for maintaining the right humidity for hardwood floors. The most common type of humidity measuring device is the hygrometer, which is a basic device that reads relative humidity in the air. These devices range from simple digital models to more advanced analog or radio frequency (RF) gauges.

For those seeking more accuracy or convenience, advanced humidity sensors can be connected to Wi-Fi hubs to provide real-time updates on the air moisture levels in a particular space. Such advanced systems can also monitor other environmental factors such as temperature and even the level of light coming into the room. However, they require a more significant investment and may not be suitable in all settings.

On one side of the argument, individual hygrometers have limited accuracy and the readings may not be precise enough for demanding applications. On the other hand, advancing technology in these devices has made them increasingly precise and reliable over time, so making an investment today may pay off long-term if careful attention is paid to recommended settings.

Ultimately, choosing the right humidity gauge or sensor depends on the needs of each individual homeowner or business. After selecting a device that meets their requirements, it is essential to regularly check its readings and take steps to adjust humidity levels when needed.

Now that you know how to select and use humidty meters and sensors, let’s take a look at seasonal and environmental factors that impact hardwood flooring in the next section.

Seasonal and Environmental Factors

Seasonal and environmental factors are key in determining the right humidity level for your hardwood floors. The warmer months tend to bring higher humidity levels and the cooler periods often result in less overall moisture in the air. Investing in a humidifier during the dry winter months is essential to maintain the ideal balance of humidity on your hardwood flooring. Doing so will prevent warping, buckling, and cracking, as well as other issues related to low humidity levels, such as splitting or shrinkage.

On the other hand, too much moisture in the air can be just as damaging over time—too much humidity can create an environment hospitable for mold and mildew growth. To make sure that excessive humidity does not become an issue, monitor your home’s relative humidity using a hygrometer throughout all four seasons and adjust accordingly when needed. It is also important to maintain good indoor air quality in order to keep from dealing with these same issues.

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to maintaining proper relative humidity levels on your hardwood floor depending on seasonal fluctuations and environmental changes. However, ensuring that you invest in a reliable humidifier during dry winter months and actively monitor your home’s relative humidity levels through all four seasons of the year will help maintain its condition and extend its lifespan.

Yearly climate and weather conditions can have an equally significant effect on your hardwood floors’ health, especially if certain weather elements are more consistent or persistent throughout the year. This makes it important to understand what effects climate and weather may have on hardwood flooring so that homeowners can make informed decisions about their flooring maintenance routine – That will be discussed in the following section.

Main Takeaways

Seasonal and environmental conditions can affect the humidity of hardwood floors, leading to warping, cracking and other issues if it is too low, or mold and mildew growth if it is too high. It is important to invest in a reliable humidifier during dry winter months, monitor relative humidity levels throughout the year and understand how climate and weather can affect hardwood flooring in order to maintain its condition and extend its lifespan.

Yearly Climate and Weather Effects

Yearly climate and weather patterns can have a significant impact on the humidity levels within any home. Warmer air generally contains more moisture than cooler air, so in summer months the level of humidity in a home is likely to be much higher than during winter months. This means that as homeowners we must give close attention to the relative humidity levels in our homes throughout the year.

On one hand managing your home’s temperature may help to reduce moisture levels inside. Keeping your home well-insulated helps you to conserve energy and eliminate hot and cold spots, which can result in reduced condensation from humid air attacking cold surfaces within your home. Also if it is possible you could lower indoor temperatures by using insulation and other methods such as fans and shades.

On the other hand keeping your cooling and heating systems running adequately means keeping a steady flow of dry filtered air moving in your house whole year round. This is especially important for hardwood floors as constantly changing temperature and humidity levels can cause their dimension to change with the possibility of challenges such as cupping, cracking, or finish peeling up.

In short, yearly climate changes bring variable weather patterns that could increase humidity levels inside a home if not properly managed and monitored throughout the year resulting in the damage of hardwood floors. Solutions for controlling these humidity levels are needed in order to ensure we keep our hardwood floors safe all year long – this will be discussed in the following section.

Solutions for Controlling Humidity Levels

Having the right humidity levels in your home is essential to preserving the longevity of your hardwood floors. But with constantly changing weather, controlling the levels of humidity can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are several solutions that can help you maintain the correct balance of moisture in order to keep your hardwood floors looking their best for years to come.

The most common and cost-effective solution is installing a whole-house humidifier, which works by adding moisture back into the air in your home no matter what time of year it is. However, this type of system does require regular maintenance—including filter changes and occasional checks for mold or mildew—so it’s important to understand what kind of upkeep and costs are associated with this if you decide to install one in your home.

Another option is using a dehumidifier, which helps reduce air moisture levels during times of high humidity. While these systems may cost more upfront then a whole-house humidifier, they require significantly less maintenance and often have energy-saving options that can lower electric bills over time.

Furthermore, large clay pots filled with water can also be used effectively to control air moisture levels without the need for an expensive set-up or installation. Simply place these pots around your home — preferably near any drafty spots — and refill as needed. This method can be especially helpful for maintaining indoor moisture levels during months when outdoor conditions are prone to change quickly.

Finally, manual monitoring and adjustments can also go a long way towards creating a balanced environment for your hardwood floors. Investing in both a digital hygrometer device and temperature gauge is highly recommended, allowing you to record readings from different spots throughout your home on a daily basis so that you can make sure your indoor climate stays within healthy ranges all year round.

Although there are many ways to maintain the proper humidity for your hardwood floors, it’s important to note that each approach will involve some level of trial and error before you find the right balance that works best for your household’s unique needs.

Now that we have discussed solutions for controlling humidity levels, let’s move on to discuss the consequences of leaving too low or too high humidity levels unchecked; an issue we will address next in this article.

Impact of Too Low or Too High Humidity

The impact of humidity levels that are too low or too high on hardwood floors can be quite detrimental, especially to antique or rare hardwood varieties. Low humidity is especially damaging as wood can shrink and become dried out, leaving gaps between the boards. Over time, this can cause the floorboards to warp and even to crack in extreme cases. On the other hand, high humidity can cause warping and buckling as well as an environment that is conducive to mold growth. The presence of mold is not only unhealthy for residents but must also be removed immediately before it permanently damages the flooring.

Climate-controlled environments have the most consistent levels of humidity, helping to keep hardwood floors looking their best. But in areas where this isn’t possible, such as basements and unheated attics, maintaining the right level of humidity is essential if you hope to preserve your hardwood floors. To ensure proper humidity levels, homeowners should invest in a hygrometer and take a reading several times each week. Long-term awareness of the levels helps you make adjustments when necessary. Regular cleaning and refinishing are also a good way to keep floors in great condition despite everchanging humidity levels indoors.

Conclusion: It’s important to be aware of long-term changes in indoor humidity as they can have lasting effects on hardwood flooring. In order to protect these surfaces from damage due to excessively high or low levels of moisture, homeowners should invest in a hygrometer and regularly clean and refinish their floors. In this article we’ve discussed how to maintain the right humidity for your hardwood floors with tools and techniques for protecting them from environmental damage. Now we will move onto the conclusion of this piece where we go over some important final points about prevention and maintenance steps for preserving hardwood surfaces in your home over time.


Maintaining the right humidity is essential to ensuring a hardwood floor that lasts for generations. Hardwood floors need a certain level of humidity to remain in good condition and keep their structural integrity intact. If the humidity levels are too low, the wood can dry out, become brittle, and buckle or shrink, while if they’re too high the boards may swell and warp. The ideal range for preserving a hardwood floor is between 30-50 percent RH (relative humidity), depending on the species and conditions within your home.

As such, it’s important to invest in a good quality hygrometer to monitor moisture levels in order to keep your floor in its best condition for as long as possible. Proper maintenance of your hardwood floors will also help preserve their longevity; routine vacuuming, sweeping, mopping and spot cleaning ensure dirt particles don’t become embedded deep into the wood grain where they could cause permanent damage.

Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to maintaining humidity for hardwood floors — it depends on where you live and the specific characteristics of your property (i.e., ventilation, insulation). Taking proactive steps now to prevent long-term problems related to excessive moisture will pay off down the line if you want to protect your floors from potential damage caused by inaccurate humidity levels.

Answers to Common Questions

How can humidity levels for hardwood floors be monitored and controlled?

Monitoring and controlling the humidity levels of your hardwood floors is essential to preserving the integrity of your floor and keeping it looking its best. The first step in controlling humidity levels is to invest in a humidity monitor, as this can help you keep track of the humidity levels over time and notify you when certain metrics are reached. Additionally, you can take steps to maintain ideal humidity levels for your home such as investing in a whole-house humidifier or dehumidifier and utilizing exhaust fans where needed to ventilate areas prone to high humidity. Finally, taking preventive measures such as winterizing your home, using low-VOC paints and finishes, sealing doors and windows, and using energy efficient appliances can also help maintain comfortable humidity levels and prevent environmental moisture accumulation.

What are the effects of high or low humidity on hardwood floors?

High humidity can cause wood floors to swell and warp, which can result in cupping, bowing or cracking. This can cause the floorboards to lift and create gaps between boards, making the floor unstable and potentially dangerous to walk on. Low humidity causes wood to shrink, leading to cracks and joint separations between each board and along the edges of the flooring. Wood flooring may also become brittle from a lack of moisture, causing the surface layers of the wood to break away easily. In both cases, excessive humidity or low humidity, the surface finish of hardwood floors can become damaged and will require costly repairs or replacement.

Are there any maintenance tips to ensure hardwood floors are not affected by high or low humidity?

Yes! Maintaining the right level of humidity for your hardwood floors is key to extending the life and beauty of the wood. Here are a few tips to help maintain the proper humidity levels:

1. Invest in a humidifier: Humidifiers can help to regulate humidity levels in your home, depending on where they’re installed and how they’re used. This can be especially helpful during the winter months when homes tend to be drier due to low outdoor temperatures.

2. Check your windows and doors: Make sure all windows and doors are sealed properly and that there is no air leakage. You don’t want too much moisture or air entering into your home which could affect the moisture inside and cause fluctuations in your hardwood flooring’s humidity levels.

3. Place area rugs in high-traffic areas: Floor coverings like area rugs can also be helpful in maintaining consistent humidity levels for hardwood floors by keeping moisture from accumulation.

4. Monitor indoor climate temperature and ventilation: Check the temperature of your home regularly as it should remain between 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit and adjust as necessary, allowing for proper air flow throughout all areas of the house, including hardwood flooring, with the use of fans if needed.

Following these suggestions should help you maintain the right humidity for your hardwood floors and keep them looking great for years to come!


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7 thoughts on “How to Maintain the Right Humidity for Your Hardwood Floors”

  1. When it comes to halting that annoying squeak in your hardwood floors, I’ve found adding a few strategically placed shims between the floor and joist can make a world of difference without going overboard with the humidity controls.

  2. As an interior designer working with period homes, I have learned that in addition to controlling humidity, shims can also help to iron out slight discrepancies in the fitting of the planks, which could reduce noise.

  3. Qadira, you bring up a good point about shims! They can indeed take care of minor flooring discrepancies. However, it’s important to remember that if the problem lies with over-humidity, dehumidifiers can provide a more permanent solution by regulating moisture, thereby reducing the overall squeaking.

  4. While dehumidifiers do work well, I’ve found using natural materials like cedar chips placed strategically around the room can help maintain the optimal level of humidity without excessive machine use.

  5. Absolutely agree with you, Nemo. And adding on that, not only cedar chips help in maintaining the ideal humidity level for hardwood floors, but they also provide a natural fresh scent which can be quite refreshing.

  6. It’s like tending to a bonsai tree; just as careful pruning and feeding lets the tree flourish, so too does carefully monitoring humidity levels enable your hardwood floors to shine.

  7. “I’d argue that popping a dehumidifier between 40-50% humidity range does more benefits to your hardwood than most other measures, speaking from 35 years of experience.”

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