Does Heat & Light Affect Hardwood Flooring?

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The short answer is YES! Regardless of the type of wood used in flooring, a shift in both indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity alters the condition of your hardwood flooring. 

While natural hardwood flooring comes with heaps of benefits including, strength, durability, jaw-dropping aesthetics, and natural appeal, it also requires regular maintenance and interior and exterior design alterations. 

The new and modern homes come with larger open spaces accompanied by floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors. These can connect the home to great outdoor views and allow an abundance of natural light to enter. While this sounds like an advantage for you, it is not advantageous for your floors. Flooring exposed to prolonged sunlight will oxidise; this is a natural discolouration. The UV light alters the flooring appearance, either darkening or lightening it depending on the flooring finish. You can spot it when floor mats or furniture are moved around after long periods.

In addition, hardwood floorboards can expand and shrink with the shift in humidity levels. When humidity is high, hardwood will expand and if the humidity is low, it’ll shrink. The amount of heat in a particular area directly impacts humidity in the atmosphere of that area. Therefore, it comes as no surprise when floorboards contract due to constant heat exposure.

If you are concerned about the constant movement of your floor and are looking to minimize it, then take the following measures. 

  • Consider shading the floor with good-quality blinds and curtains. You can also plant deciduous trees in your home exterior to provide shade in the summer months and light in the winter months.
  • Do not install floor mats immediately after polishing new floors. It should be used after 6 months once the flooring is adjusted to the light exposure. 
  • During installation, ensure the flooring substrate is dry and of similar moisture content to the flooring. Moisture barriers over concrete and subfloor ventilation are very important
  • Double glazing your windows will minimise the heat that comes into the home.
  • A hot enclosed home will reduce the moisture content of the flooring. A hygrometer can be used to check and monitor the humidity in the home. Alternatively, climate control measures in the home can be installed.

In general, the amount of moisture that your floor is subject to and the humidity in your home play an important role in keeping your hardwood floors looking their best. It is best to go through the installation guideline before floor installation. Doing this will maximize the performance of your floorboards. However, if you’re renovating an old floor, get an expert’s advice on the best flooring material for your home and caring instructions.