Don’t Let Fall Bring Your Hardwood Floors Down

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Oct 08, 2019


Well, it’s that time of the year again; the warm summer days are coming to a screeching halt, and the leaves are beginning to change. As cooler, outside air is heated for indoor use, the relative humidity level drops substantially. This, in turn, affects hardwood floors in several ways, particularly with respect to finish application, maintenance, and wood shrinkage.

Finish Application
Lower humidity can shorten the working time of finishes during application, so procedures might need to be adjusted.

As indicated on the technical data sheets and product labels for Basic Coatings® finishes, one trick that can help in lower humidity is to add a little water to our finishes (up to 12 oz. per gallon). This will extend the application and flow time and allow the finish to level properly in dry conditions.

Floor Maintenance
With cooler climates and drier air, dust migration also increases. Excessive dust makes floors slippery and can increase wear. Inclement weather radically increases tracked-in dirt, salt, sand, and grit, so cleaning schedules should be increased to compensate. Frequent dust mopping and cleaning with Basic Coating’s Squeaky™ Cleaner is an excellent method to remove dust, dirt, and other buildup. Also, we recommend using a matting system by the entrance of your door to avoid potential slip and fall accidents from dirt and contaminants brought in from the outdoors.

Wood Shrinkage
When moisture levels drop, wood shrinkage is an entirely natural process that opens up cracks between boards in wood floors. Unfortunately, opening cracks are most always noticeable and objectionable in newly installed or freshly resanded floors.

Inadequate building materials and subfloors, insufficient nailing or gluing of flooring, little or no acclimation of flooring before installation, or improper sealer/finish systems can all aggravate a shrinkage problem. The real and only cause of shrinkage, however, is loss of moisture in the wood, and the only reliable way to prevent cracks from opening up is to maintain constant relative humidity year-round. A simple investment in a humidifier and/or dehumidifier can do wonders in this regard.

The cooler months can be a hard time for your hardwood floors, but a few simple steps can dramatically decrease the risk of damage. Look to Basic Coatings for more tips and recommendations for your hardwood floors!