What you need to know about Wood Flooring, Water, Abrasives and Humidity
Wood and Water
Wood fibers swell when they absorb water, which can damage floors and their finish. When water gets into your floor, it can alter floorboard dimensions, cause discoloration, and lead to mold buildup between boards. Floors in kitchens and entranceways are particularly subject to getting wet. Special care must be taken with wood floors in these locations to maintain recommended humidity and temperature levels and prevent water from getting on the floor.
Warning Never use large amounts of liquid or water to clean wood floors, and never use a saturated mop.
Wipe up spilled water, liquids, or detergents before they are absorbed by the wood fibers. Place floor mats at each doorway and in front of the sink, dishwasher, and work areas in the kitchen. Place leakproof saucers under your plants to avoid accidental spills. Choose pots with a waterproof glaze rather than porous clay pots that may let water through.
Wood and abraisives
Abrasives are bad news for your floors. Sand and small pebbles underfoot act like sandpaper on the finish. Even a tiny pebble can damage a finish or leave a mark.
Vacuum as often as necessary. Place mats inside and outside all exterior doors. Mats should trap abrasives while allowing the floor to breathe.
Wood and humidity
Wood is a natural material that constantly reacts to variations in temperature and humidity. Ideally, the internal moisture level of wood should be between 6% and 9%. Wood swells when it absorbs excess humidity from the air, and contracts when humidity levels fall to low6. Floorboards with higher than normal moisture levels may bulge slightly, whereas spaces will appear between the floorboards if moisture levels are too low. Generally, wood resumes its original dimensions when conditions return to normal.
Maintain relative humidity between 40% and 55% and a temperature of approximately 20° Celsius (68°F) in your home in order to preserve the internal humidity of the wood and thus its dimensional stability. These conditions are ideal for humans as well. If necessary, use appropriate appliances like air exchangers, heating systems, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, etc. to control these environmental conditions.