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Climate–Friendly Flooring – Care & Maintenance

Extreme climate conditions can be hard on your flooring. Severe cold or hot weather can crack and warp flooring, creating damage that can be inconvenient to repair. There are steps you can take to protect your floor (and ultimately your home) from damage. Before you go floor shopping, take a look at the tips below to see how you can safeguard your living space and keep the elements outside where they belong.

How to Make Flooring Flood Resistant

Flooded Neighborhood

Every year more homes are threatened by flooding. This is broadly believed to be a result of increased global warming. If you live in a flood–susceptible area, it's in your best interest to take all necessary safety measures to protect your floors. Even if floodwater doesn't enter your home, flooding underneath your floors can create pressure that can cause erosion in the foundation and lead to surface cracks.

Begin by sizing up the possible sources (runoff, rivers etc.) and pathways of flooding. Next, determine the frequency with which flooding occurs in your area. Water can enter your home through brickwork, door thresholds, floor slabs, basements and masonry gaps. Examine your home carefully to determine all of the possible flood entry points.

Tile and Concrete

One of the best ways to minimize damage in the event of a flood is to use water–resistant flooring, such as concrete and tile. For extra protection, consider raising your floor above the determined flood level for your home. Ideally, the space between the subfloor and floor should be wide enough to allow water to safely pass underneath without causing any damage. If the space isn't wide enough, water pressure could build up and result in structural damage and even cause your walls to cave in.

It's always recommended you consult a flooring professional when flood–proofing your home and floor. This will save you time and money, and ensure the materials you use are backed by the manufacturer's warranty. You can get connected with a floor professional in your area today by using our Find A Local search tool. This can be found at the top right corner of the home page.

Dealing with Hot, Dry Climates

Hot, Dry Climate - Desert

While not as immediately dangerous as flooding, hot and dry climates can take a toll on certain types of flooring (such as hardwood, bamboo, and laminate) over time. The best thing you can do in this type of environment is maintain a consistent indoor atmosphere, especially during the summer months.

Stone and tile flooring tend to perform the best in hot weather, requiring less maintenance and care than wood or bamboo flooring. In fact, many types of stone and tile, such as flagstone and brick, can be installed outdoors. While vinyl takes easily to harsh climates, it discolors in sunlight. If you have vinyl flooring in your home, keep it looking new by keeping the windows covered or installing solar screens.

Humidity and Wood Flooring

Hardwood and cork tend to expand and contract when exposed to extreme changes in humidity. Though made from a grass, bamboo flooring is also highly vulnerable to humidity changes and standing water. Exposure to extremes in humidity can lead to gapping between the planks and may even cause them to crack. Below are the preferred humidity levels for certain floor types:

Ideal Humidity Levels

  • Hardwood Flooring: 40–60%
  • Bamboo Flooring: 40–60%
  • Cork Flooring: 35–65%

For high humidity: Decrease indoor moisture levels with a dehumidifier and well–placed exhaust fans. A dehumidifier will absorb the moisture in the air and help maintain a more agreeable indoor humidity level for your floors. This will help minimize the risk of floor warping.

For low humidity: Use a humidifier to release moisture back into the air and help prevent floors from cracking and splitting.