How to Prevent Hardwood Floor Gaps in the Winter

Nov 7, 2017

When the weather starts to cool down, the air typically gets cold and dry. This will have an effect on your hardwood floors. Your floors will shrink, crack and gap unless you take preventative measures to keep the moisture levels up. When the air dries, so does your hardwood floors, and if you don’t notice it in time, you will start feeling a draft coming up from between your floor boards.

Now this time in the fall, before the winter season starts officially rolling in, is when you have to pay attention to the air flow and moisture content in your home to help your wooden floors maintain their original shape. If you are someone who is planning on getting new hardwood floors, here are some things to think about in regards to the wood itself to prevent it from gaping in the winter:

Pick the Right Wood

When it comes to shrinkage, and the moisture drying out, a slimmer, more narrow board will shrink less than a wider board. Also, the type of wood that you choose will affect the way that wood behaves with different moisture contents. Some wood types, such as oak, will shrink less with changes in moisture because it is more stable. However, you can still choose your dream hardwood, as long as you are aware of how they will react with changes in the weather and how you can be proactive in preventing some of those changes.

Some preventative measures to prevent your wooden floors from gaping during the winter time are:

Keep the moisture content in your home consistent

There are multiple ways to keep the moisture content in your home consistent to prevent a lot of shrinking and gaping. The two ways you can help your floors are actually things you are likely doing anyways:

  1. Turning down the A/C: since it’s colder, you are probably cutting back on the A/C and not planning on have any windows open to air out your home. This will prevent any cold and dry air from breezing through your home and drying out your floors too quickly.
  2. Closing up your windows and add heat: doing this will allow any daily activities, such as taking hot showers, boiling kettles, cooking and more, to help build up the moisture content in your home. This will also help keep the moisture content even and consistent, thus preventing your floors from reacting too much to any changes in the weather. If you find that your daily activities do not produce as much moisture, adding a humidifier will help solve that problem.

These are the two main ways to help keep the moisture content in your home consistent, and luckily for you, they are ways that you probably already do without realizing it. To think a simple task, like boiling water for tea, can help maintain your wooden floors and prevent it from gaping or shrinking, is pretty hard to believe, but good thing it works!