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What Should the Moisture Content of my Floor be Before Installing it in an Existing House?

Humidity and moisture play a significant role in both wood floor installation and upkeep. Buckling, cupping or gapping can occur in floors which are not properly acclimated. Goodwin’s resident expert and COO, Andrew St. James, Ph.D, is happy to discuss moisture content and installation:

“The general aim with any solid wood floor installation is to ensure the moisture content of the wood is at the same level as it will be during use of the floor. How do you determine the proper moisture level? Existing homes often have some wood that has remained over time. Simply measure the moisture content of the existing wood with a moisture meter to gauge the target moisture level of a new wood floor.

Following good thermal, air, and moisture control (especially if the building envelope or HVAC system has been changed) can help prevent future problems with your new floor. This is especially important if you are installing floors as part of a larger renovation. Certain renovations can cause new problems, even if the home has had wood floors in the past. Changes such as installing new insulation without proper air or moisture control can lead to significant wood flooring issues.

Post-installation care is just as important. Try to keep the temperature inside between 60° to 80° F and relative humidity somewhere between 30% – 50%. Please note that in some climates, the consummate humidity range may be higher or lower, so it is always best to consult with Goodwin or your rep on what relative humidity levels are ideal for your specific area– Andrew St. James, Ph.D

A device called a hygrometer can measure relative humidity inside your home. Signs of high humidity can include a musty odor, a “muggy” feeling, condensation, blistering paint and visible mold. If you find it difficult to control the humidity of your home on your own, a dehumidifier may help.

Have additional questions? Feel free to contact Goodwin. Our friendly team of experts are always ready and willing to help!