Hardwood Flooring in Toronto: How To Prevent Floor Gaps and Separations?

A characteristic of expertly installed hardwood flooring in Toronto is a smooth, even surface with no gaps or irregularities between planks. Proper installation is an art form and a craft, as working with this traditional, natural product can be challenging. Wood is affected by variations in humidity and temperature, so depending on how it’s been pre-treated, and where you install it, seasonal temperature changes and moisture can create problems. Yearly movement of boards is normal, but we’ll tell you what you can do to help reduce gaps and separations between them.

Airflow

Ventilation

It sounds like a good thing, but excessive air ventilation in the winter can dry out your hardwood flooring in Toronto. Temperature, moisture and airflow affect wood because it is a natural material. When you allow the cold winter air indoors, the relative humidity can drop significantly. More ventilation when the air is dry means pulling moisture from your floorboards. They will shrink and shift slightly when this happens, leading to visible gaps. Modern building codes advise home ventilation rates near ⅓ ACH. The average home will have a ventilation rate between 1 or 2 ACH, but older buildings can have rates as high as 10 ACH, with windows being major sources of air leaks. Home weatherization around doors and windows will help prevent unwanted drafts.

Moisture

You can add moisture to your home’s air in the winter months to help keep your floorboards happy. After reducing the ventilation rates, add moisture with a humidifier. Typical devices can add up to 6 pints of water into your air every hour. Indoor temperatures year-round should be maintained in the range of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit when possible. The air humidity is ideal at 50-70%. Talk to your hardwood manufacturer or dealer for tips regarding your specific product. It’s normal to expect some seasonal shifting, and expert installers will account for a little wiggle room, rather than risk bowing of the boards when exposed to heat and moisture. Choosing professionals with experience helps ensure that just the right amount of expansion is accounted for and you won’t have unsightly gaps.

Indoor Temperatures

Acclimatization

Acclimatize your hardwood before installing

If you’re installing new Hardwood flooring in Toronto, allowing the materials to rest in the new space for a few days before install is ideal. When wood is shipped across province or country, the conditions it was packed in may be different than in your home. Whether your environment is warmer and more humid, or dry and cold, the planks should rest in open boxes or spread in the new space for at least a few days. This acclimatization allows them to contract or expand a little and your installation will be more predictable and consistent because of it. We’ll be happy to provide a tour and answer any questions you have when you visit Chestnut Flooring. Call and talk to our experts today.

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