Quick Climate Checklist
- Does your floor need humidity control?
- Should you install a vapor barrier?
- Will direct sunlight damage your floor?
- Does your floor need to be "acclimated"?
- Do you know the PEI rating for your tile?
As you shop for flooring for your home, it's important to consider the climate where you live. Factors such as temperature
and humidity play a key role in overall floor performance. While laminate, hardwood and bamboo can acclimate (adjust)
naturally to their surroundings, they're not recommended for certain environments. It's important that you choose flooring
that suits not only your furnishings but also the natural climate conditions of your living space.
Climate Friendly Floor Products
Climate conditions vary from home to home. Even two homes on the same street could have dramatic differences when it comes
to indoor climate. For example, one home sitting on constantly wet soil (due to runoff) could have a higher indoor humidity
level than a home just a few doors down that's built on dry soil. Also, the level in your home where your new flooring will
be located ("above grade," "on grade," or "below grade" – grade = ground level) should also be taken into
consideration. The floor level plays a significant role in terms of indoor heat, cold and humidity.
No matter where you make your home, you can have climate–friendly flooring that is long–lasting and beautiful.
Select a climate–friendly floor and you'll worry less about it buckling, swelling or cracking due to extreme
conditions. Not only can these defects make your floor unattractive, they can lead to mold growth and structural damage that
can be very expensive to repair.
When you're searching for climate–friendly flooring, the main factors to keep in mind is humidity. Extremes changes
in humidity can cause floor planks to shrink or swell, possibly resulting in serious floor damage.
In our Climate–Friendly Flooring Types section you can use our humidity map to learn about the humidity where you
live and how you can prevent wet conditions from damaging your floors. In this section you can also discover the relationship
between water and wood materials and how this could affect your hardwood, cork and even bamboo floors.
Below Grade, On Grade and Above Grade
It's important to understand the difference between below grade, on grade and above grade,
and the effects of these levels on certain floor types. Below grade means below ground level, on grade means at ground level,
and above grade means above ground level.
Typically, indoor humidity levels tend to be higher in rooms built below grade. For this reason, many cork, bamboo and
hardwood types (and other floors highly susceptible to moisture damage) are not generally recommended for basement
installation. No matter what kind of floor you decide to purchase, the grade your flooring will be on should always be
Other Climate Factors
Some floor types such as cork, hardwood, bamboo and vinyl have a tendency to change color when exposed to direct sunlight.
To make sure all floor areas stay even in tone and color, regularly rearrange your furniture. Alternatively, you may want to
consider putting up solar screens or hanging drapes to help block out the sun's harmful rays. Sunlight can also make concrete
flooring dry too quickly during installation, which will affect its strength and its ability to resist cracking.
How Do I Decide?
Choosing flooring that's appropriate for your environment and caring for it properly can result in floors that last longer
and stay beautiful for years. Begin by jotting down how each of the above factors relate to the area where you will be
installing your new floor. Next, refer to our Climate–Friendly Flooring Types list of the most common floor types and
determine which flooring best suits your particular climate.
Read our Climate Friendly Flooring FAQs on climate–damaged hardwood floors to learn how you can repair floors that
have already been affected by extremes in humidity and climate.
Climate Flooring Information | Help
- Types – Choosing the right flooring
type for your climate.
- Care – Learn how the climate can
affect the care and maintenance of your floors.
- Eco-Friendly – Want to go green and
fit your environment? Let us help you find the best floors for you.
- FAQs – Get your basic
questions about choosing climate–friednly flooring answered here.
- Flooring Buying
Guides – Use our buyers guides to help you purchase your flooring.
- Flooring Installation Guides – Let us guide
you through installing your own flooring.
- Flooring Estimator
Tool – Calculate how much flooring your project requires.