The summer may not be quite over yet, but we will be thinking about turning the heating on sooner rather than later. Many of us haven’t given much thought to how that may affect our flooring – after all, we just want to be warm and dry when it is cold and miserable outside, don’t we? But there is a way to do both and this month we take a look at how to protect your wood flooring when the central heating is on.
What’s the problem?
Wood is a natural product and even when treated will still behave as it would in nature, it will just do it to a smaller degree. Wood will naturally expand and contract with changes to ambient temperature and humidity. When humidity levels are high wood will expand and when they are low it will contract. The same applies to large temperature fluctuations. Assuming that it has been installed correctly and that those changes are not large and frequent, you shouldn’t notice any effect. However, for rooms such as kitchens and conservatories, or any room with a large amount of window glazing, which will experience greater changes to both temperature and moisture levels, those changes could be greater.
What can you do?
There are a few things you can do, and we have put our top tips together for you for all eventualities:
- If you are having new wood flooring laid down and you know a particular room undergoes such larger fluctuations, then let the fitters know so that they can allow for a greater expansion gap. This will allow for those expansions and contractions without leading to buckling or warping as the wood expands.
- If you are choosing your wood flooring now, then talk to your fitter for advice on the most suitable type of wood. All wood types have their own properties, with some being more or less moisture and heat resistant than others, but they will all to some extent undergo this expansion and contraction as the ambient temperature and moisture levels change.
- Keep your indoor temperature and humidity levels as constant as possible. Wood dislikes sudden changes, and that is when it is most likely to react. Keeping your thermostat at a constant temperature will ensure that those sudden changes don’t happen. Temperature will also affect humidity so make sure that you find the right balance for your comfort and type of wood flooring.
- Invest in a dehumidifier if necessary. For those rooms that have higher moisture levels, such as the kitchen or conservatory, you may need to install a dehumidifier in a corner to help maintain a more constant ambient moisture level. This will also help deal with any sudden changes whether internal or external.
- Don’t turn the heat right down if you are away over the winter. If you are taking a holiday to the sun to escape the cold in the middle of winter, while you should turn the thermostat down, don’t turn it down to the minimum level. You want to avoid those sudden changes and you have no idea what the weather is going to do while you’re away!
For more advice on how to look after your wood flooring, or if you are considering installing new floors, talk to us at Cherry Carpets. You can either call us on 020 8249 9726 or email us at and we’d be happy to help.