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Once chopped for lumber, the sap dries up, leaving tubular structures that shrink or expand based on the presence of moisture. But if there’s rain, snow, or humidity, those structures will absorb the moisture, swell, and expand the wood.

Wood might experience some thermal expansion as temperatures rise above an ideal 75°F, but the impact is minimal in comparison to how wood changes based on moisture content.

Humidity is the main factor that changes how floors expand or shrink. If you live somewhere that gets cold and dry in the winter, then you can expect the floors to shrink. Related Article 9 Hardwood Flooring Tips to Make Installation Easier Follow these tips to help make installing hardwood flooring easier

If you live in an area with hot, dry summers, like the deserts in the southwestern U.S., you can expect wood floors to shrink due to a lack of moisture content in the air. While you’re sweating as you clean the house, the wood floors are absorbing the moisture from the humid air and expanding. Spring temperatures are typically mild, but watch out for excessive April showers. Add a boot tray by all entry points to store wet shoes off the floor, and keep a mop handy to absorb any water that might be tracked in.

When it’s time for spring cleaning, consider cleaning finished wood floors with a solution of ½ to 1 cup of white vinegar in one gallon of warm water rather than relying on harsh cleaners. If summer is hot and dry, measure indoor humidity levels with a hygrometer, which is an inexpensive tool you can find at most hardware stores or major retailers.

Use a gentle cleaner when damp mopping, and regularly sweep or vacuum to clean up dirt and dust. If the air is drying out, consider adding humidifiers to rooms with wood floors. Keep snowy shoes off of the floors, and be sure to sweep and mop up any sidewalk salt that might make its way into your foyer.

Father playing with son on hardwood
Father playing with son on hardwood
Southern style home with wooden flooring
Southern style home with wooden flooring

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