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Old 01-20-2009, 08:51 PM   #1
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Q about Humidity Level... Okay for Wood Floor?


I'm going to be purchasing and installing wood floor on the 2nd floor of our home. Roughly 360 square feet. I am considering 3/4 prefinished, 3/8 prefinished, and engineered.

I have been taking RH level readings throughout the room. It's winter, the furnace is on a LOT, and I am getting levels of around 26% most of the time, temp at 70 degrees.

What do the pros think? Is this an okay level to proceed with install? In the summer time we run central air year round, but I'm guessing the RH level will get pretty high, probably 50, 60, heck might even go higher than that.

Suggestions on my floor options? Should I go the engineered route or will I be okay with the 3/4 or 3/8?

Appreciate your thoughts! Cheers!

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Old 01-21-2009, 12:00 PM   #2
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Q about Humidity Level... Okay for Wood Floor?


35-40 is probably more preferred.
I would like to know what others think too.

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Old 01-21-2009, 05:39 PM   #3
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Q about Humidity Level... Okay for Wood Floor?


I too would like to hear from the experts as we are in the same situation.
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Old 01-22-2009, 12:20 AM   #4
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Q about Humidity Level... Okay for Wood Floor?


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Originally Posted by Ininkus View Post
What do the pros think? Is this an okay level to proceed with install?
Well, I'm not a professional hardwood flooring contractor, but I do know a thing or two about wood and how it swells and shrinks and why and stuff, and I can at least tell you that based on what you've said, if you allow your wood to aclimate to the conditions you have in your house before installing it, you're more likely to have your wood swell a bit in service so as to retain tight joints between your boards rather than have the joints open up any.

Read over this page by a guy named Daniel Cassens, Professor and Wood Products Specialist in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University:

http://www.extension.purdue.edu/extm.../FNR_403_W.pdf

What he'e saying is that hardwoods meant for furniture manufacture are carefully kiln dried to a moisture content of 6 to 8 percent. That's because this moisture content represents the approximate average Equilibrium Moisture Content the wood will achieve in service in typical indoor conditions. That is, it's moisture content will go down in winter because of the lower indoor relative humidity, and up in summer, but 6 to 8 percent is a good average, and some wood movement is acceptable.

Now, look at Table 1 on the last page of that PDF file. You're indoor temperature and relative humidity have been averaging 26% RH at 70 deg. F. According to that chart, your hardwood floor would reach an equilibrium moisture content of 5.5 to 5.6 percent (interpolating between 25 and 30 percent RH).

So, (and I'm assuming you are taking your temperature and RH readings in the area you will be installing this flooring) if you were to bring that lumber home and leave it in the place you'll be installing it for a few weeks to a month, it's moisture content should decrease to 5.5 or 5.6 percent. If you then install it, you should retain tight joints as it's moisture content increases to average 6 to 8 percent on average year-round.

If you install it as it is, without allowing it to aclimate to your conditions, some gaps will open up over the next few weeks to month as it's moisture content drops from (potentially 8 percent) to the 5.5 or 5.6 percent it's running at this time of year in your house. So, you'd be better to aclimate the boards to dry them out before installing them. I'm thinking it mighta been best if you'd have already been aclimating those boards for the past month.

The thinner the hardwood, the faster it will reach it's equilibrium moisture content in your house.

Truthfully, I don't know that most hardwood flooring contractors would concern themselves with these matters. After all, and let's face it, they get paid according to the amount of hardwood they install, so they can't be waiting weeks to months for wood to dry.

Also, I can't tell you if a rise in the moisture content from 5.5 percent to 8 percent, (say, later on in the summer) would be sufficient to cause your flooring boards to buckle. Kinda doubt it since you don't often hear of that happening, and the conditions under which it's being installed wouldn't be considered "extreme" or abnormal. Besides, even hardwoods are relatively soft compared to other materials like metals, and will compress a fair bit under pressure.

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Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 01-22-2009 at 01:48 AM.
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:36 AM   #5
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Q about Humidity Level... Okay for Wood Floor?


Cheque is in the mail.

Thanks for that link Nestor.
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Old 01-22-2009, 04:55 PM   #6
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Hey! You spelled Check wrong!
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Old 01-22-2009, 06:08 PM   #7
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Canada eh?


your living up to your name D.E.
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:27 PM   #8
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Q about Humidity Level... Okay for Wood Floor?




Dirt Bike Rider:
Just admit we Canadians can't spell. It's easier.
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Old 01-23-2009, 10:58 AM   #9
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Dirt Bike Rider:
Just admit we Canadians can't spell. It's easier.
What due ewe mean oui can't spell? We just spell different.

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