You’ve heard that laminate flooring is super resilient, and you can install it anywhere, right?
Well, that’s not entirely true. When it comes to the water-resistant, dent and scratch-resistant nature of this popular product, the performance is impressive. However, laminate does contain wood, and as such, there are some limitations you need to know about. Have you ever considered how temperature and moisture levels in your home might affect your laminate flooring? Here, we’ll outline need-to-know info about humidity as it relates to your laminate floors.
The problem with laminate flooring and humidity
Summers can be hot and humid in southern Ontario. If your home’s air moisture levels increase over 55%, you might be exposing the wood elements in your floors to expansion with moisture. Too much humidity can cause floorboards to swell. Laminate is less affected by these changes than solid hardwood floors, but it’s still a consideration. When planks expand, the pressure between them increases, and they can buckle or warp.
Laminate contains resin and compressed layers of wood material, so it does resist damage or buckling better than solid hardwood. But over time, these continual shifts may cause your floor to appear weathered or not fit together like it once did.
How can you help fight the effects of humidity on your laminate floors?
Large amounts of water from a wet mop are not helpful for laminate floors. The water seeps into cracks and crevices where it can be slowly absorbed and warp the wood. Don’t worry, one of the conveniences of laminate flooring is that upkeep is not complicated. You don’t need special cleaners, oils or sealers to keep them shiny and bright. Simply use a damp cloth with mild soap or floor cleaner recommended by your manufacturer. Even plain water works fine for every day messes and spills, but the key is using the least amount of moisture you can to get the job done. On a daily basis, sweeping and vacuuming is sufficient.
Keep your home’s air humidity level between 35% and 55%
Modern thermostats measure this factor, or you can purchase a hydrometer. You might need to cool your space or invest in a dehumidifier if you note the number consistently higher than 55%. Likewise, in the winter months when air becomes dry, you may need to boost air moisture with a humidifier.
Monitoring and maintaining humidity levels in the home can be easy but many people don’t think of it. If you maintain consistent levels your floor’s warranty is protected, and your floors will always look their best. While some laminate flooring in Toronto is 100% waterproof, others are only water resistant. A product which is resistant to scratches and scuffs may not necessarily resist the humidity in your air effectively as you hope.
Lock and click system
Laminate flooring is fitted together like a puzzle with a mechanical click system. The small tongue and groove pieces may not fit together as designed if the wood dehydrates or swells with humidity. During the hot, summer months, laminate may appear crowned or raised in some areas. During dry, winter months, the wood elements can shrink and reveal cracks between the boards. When you order a shipment of flooring planks, it’s recommended that you leave the boxes open in the room where you plan to install for a few days before beginning your project.
Protect your floors
Some expansion and contraction is reasonable and not cause for alarm. There are a few things you can do to protect the life of your floor and reduce those changes. Don’t clean your laminate floors with excessive water. Wetting the floor regularly or allowing water to stand on the floor can allow moisture to seep between the planks and warp the wood. You only need a damp mop and spot cleaning for spills. Aim to keep the humidity in your home between 35% and 55%. Purchase a humidistat or a hydrometer to monitor and if necessary, acquire a humidifier or dehumidifier to stabilize the air moisture.
Laminate Flooring Alternative
Lastly, don’t install laminate in bathrooms if you can help it. The material resists moisture well and holds up better than solid wood in those environments, but it’s still not recommended as the chance of exposure to excess water regularly will be higher. Instead, for bathrooms and laundry rooms, we recommend considering the expansive and high-performance collection of vinyl at Chestnut Flooring. We carry luxury vinyl which resembles nearly any preferred design material you can imagine. The installation is a breeze and adaptability to any space makes it a hot product. Contact us today to learn more about the laminate floor or to take a tour of our showroom and see all your options.