Every climate has its own factors that can cause damage to certain types of flooring, or cause problems with installation. Here in Austin, it seems like everything is affected by heat & humidity and your flooring is no exception. Austin’s annual average relative humidity is 67% which is significant. The largest impact is on hardwood floors – currently a very popular choice in both new builds and renovations.
Is it the Heat or the Humidity? It’s Both.
There is plenty of information out there about all the ways cold weather causes problems with flooring, but less talk about heat for some reason. We pride ourselves on being subject matter experts on flooring in Austin, so we want to talk about it! The combination of heat and humidity are problematic. Heat causes your floors to expand and excess humidity can be absorbed into hardwood. This causes warping and cracking.
Carpeting can easily develop mildew or mold if it absorbs too much dampness. The heat just provides the best environment for these things to grow. This is something to be concerned about in rooms that stay warmer due to sun exposure and tend to get more humidity as a result of open windows or proximity to a bathroom, entry, or kitchen.
Maintaining normal levels of temperature and humidity within your home are the best way to avoid damage to your flooring. This means keeping your A/C running, though turned up, even when you’re away & monitoring the humidity to be sure you don’t need to add a dehumidifier.
Kitchens and Bathrooms Have it the Worst
Some rooms in your home already have risk factors for damage from heat and humidity, as well as their own set of concerns when it comes to installation. Our kitchens and bathrooms are the two most common spaces to have higher humidity levels than other places within your home. Honorable mention for laundry rooms, mud rooms/entries, and any indoor/outdoor rooms like enclosed patios or sunrooms. The ambient outdoor humidity works with the elevated humidity that’s a result of normal use.
While we typically recommend tile flooring for these areas, as tile is the most resilient to moisture and aren’t immediately damaged in the case of an overflow of water nor consistently higher levels of humidity, there are other options. Since it’s 2022 not 1972 we don’t think we probably have to warn you off of using carpet in your bathroom. However, hardwood looks amazing in every room, so we understand why people want it throughout their homes. You just need to have expert flooring installers if you want to use hardwood or engineered wood in a place that has a higher chance of water spilling (or consistently higher humidity).
Don’t be discouraged! Living in a climate with higher humidity doesn’t mean you can’t have the floor of your dreams! Give us a call, let’s talk about your home specifically. We will work with you to find the perfect flooring for your aesthetic that will be practical for your life and use as well.