Wood floors are the most popular and durable type of floor around. However, unlike laminate, vinyl, or tile, wood is a natural product with some water content. With changes in temperature and humidity, wood products will also change to balance the environment. With higher humidity, wood products will absorb moisture, while in lower humidity, wood products will lose moisture.
For wood floors, different problems may arise with the gaining or losing moisture. Buckling, cupping, warping, crowning, cracking, and other wood floor problems can directly result from losing or gaining moisture. In this post, we’ll look at why wood floors crack, how to prevent cracking, and how to go about fixing wood floor cracks. Enjoy.
Why do Wood Floors Crack?
Seasonal changes in wood are something normal and nothing to worry about. Wood is a natural product, and environmental changes, especially humidity, will affect it. Every winter, you will notice your wood floors start to crack slightly. Dry winter air is the cause, and you can test this by testing the humidity levels in your home.
If the air is too dry, run a humidifier to raise it. Not only will you keep your wood floors in good condition, but your skin and hair will thank you too. However, don’t raise the humidity too high, which can cause other problems like buckling, crowning, etc.
If you notice cracks on your wood floors, one of the causes is likely low humidity or low moisture in the room, causing the wood to dry. Wood is a hygroscopic material. This means it absorbs or losses moisture with changes in humidity. If the room where you installed a wood floor has lower moisture, the flooring will lose its moisture and contract, causing them to crack.
Several reasons could cause low humidity in a room. These include open fires, underfloor heating running too hot, log burners, cold winters, and using the air conditioner frequently.
How To Prevent Cracks in Wood Floors
Usually, seasonal changes and dry air will cause hairline cracks that will appear in the wood. These are nothing to worry about and will disappear as the wood reabsorbs moisture and swells. However, prolonged exposure to dry air can cause the cracks to get bigger, causing the wood to splinter. To prevent severe cracking or gapping, you will need to raise your home’s humidity level.
A humidifier offers a quick and easy way of increasing the humidity of a room. The ideal humidity for a wood floor is between 35 percent and 55 percent. A humidifier can help reach the ideal humidity level and also work to maintain it. For a good humidifier with an accurate humidity sensor, check out the Honeywell Designer Series HUL430B.
Apart from using a humidifier, there are other ways you can raise the humidity of a room. Boiling water, placing bowls of water on the floor, using a spray bottle, and using stove steamers can also help improve the humidity and prevent wood floors from cracking.
How To Fix Cracked Wood Floors
If the cracks in your wood floors are too severe and don’t disappear even after controlling the humidity, then it’s time to fix them. Depending on the size of the cracks, you can determine the best method to fix them.
- For smaller cracks, get wood putty with a matching color to fill them. Push the wood putty into the cracks using a putty knife until it’s filled. Scrape off the excess, let it dry, and sand it with a fine-grit sandpaper.
- You can also use an epoxy filler to fill up cracks on your wood floors. Epoxy creates a strong bond between the wood instead of just filling the space. However, you should select the correct color carefully because once you apply it, you can stain it or change it later. If you have mixed the right colors and they match, fill up the cracks and let it cure. You can sand it down as needed for a great finish.
Apart from wood and epoxy filler, there are other methods of repairing a wood crack. These include gluing rope, caulking, and applying a sawdust and glue mixture.