Humidity

Simply put, humidity refers to the amount of moisture or water vapor present in the air. 

When choosing a flooring type, it is vital to keep in mind how much humidity a certain space will endure, because high humidity levels can lead to moisture-related issues like warping, swelling, and mold growth in certain flooring materials.

Flooring that is not suitable for humid conditions may require frequent repairs or replacement.

Read on for a deep dive on each of the main types of flooring, and how they do in relation to humidity.

Solid Hardwood

Solid hardwood is made from a single piece of wood and is susceptible to changes in humidity. In high humidity environments, solid hardwood can absorb moisture and expand, potentially leading to warping or buckling. In dry conditions, it may lose moisture and contract, causing gaps between the boards.

To minimize the effects of humidity, it’s crucial to acclimate the hardwood to the installation environment before laying it and maintaining a stable indoor humidity level. Solid hardwood is generally less suitable for areas with high humidity, such as bathrooms and basements.

Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood is constructed from multiple layers of wood and a top layer of real hardwood. Its layered structure provides better resistance to humidity compared to solid hardwood.

The core layers are often designed to counteract expansion and contraction, making engineered hardwood more stable in fluctuating humidity levels. Engineered hardwood is a more suitable choice for environments with moderate humidity, including areas prone to seasonal changes, like living rooms and bedrooms.

Laminate

Laminate flooring consists of a high-density fiberboard core topped with a printed image of wood, stone, or other designs, protected by a wear layer.

Laminate is less prone to humidity-related issues than hardwood because its core material is less susceptible to moisture absorption. However, it is still important to maintain proper moisture barriers and acclimatize the laminate before installation. Laminate is a reasonable choice for moderate humidity areas, but it may not be ideal for spaces with excessive moisture, like bathrooms or laundry rooms.

Carpet

Carpeting is a fabric-based flooring option, and its susceptibility to humidity depends on the type of fiber and backing. Natural fibers like wool may absorb moisture and become prone to mold or mildew growth in high humidity areas.

Synthetic carpets, like nylon or polyester, are more resistant to moisture but still require proper ventilation and cleaning to prevent issues. In general, carpeting may not be the best choice for areas with high humidity, but regular maintenance and humidity control can help manage its performance.

Luxury Vinyl

Luxury vinyl flooring is a synthetic material that replicates the appearance of wood, stone, or other surfaces.

LVT is highly resistant to moisture and water, making it an excellent choice for humid environments and areas prone to spills, such as kitchens and bathrooms. Its water-resistant properties make it less susceptible to warping or damage caused by humidity.

LVT is also a versatile option since it can be installed over various subfloors, including concrete, making it suitable for basements.

Tile

Ceramic, porcelain, and natural stone tiles are highly resistant to humidity and water, making them ideal for bathrooms, kitchens, and other areas exposed to moisture. Tiles do not absorb water and are easy to clean, making them suitable for high humidity environments.

Additionally, tiles have high thermal mass, which can help keep spaces cooler in hot weather. They are a top choice for humid regions due to their durability, low maintenance, and resistance to moisture-related problems.

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