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 Post subject: Engineered Wood Floors and Low Humidity
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2020 4:41 pm 
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Hi everyone - I have 6" Graff Bros engineered white oak floors in my NYC apartment. I'm in a high-rise building on a higher floor, and on cold, dry days like today, the humidity can get really low in my apartment - like mid to high teens or low 20s. The floors are about 2.5 years old at this point, and ever since my first winter, I've been diligent about running portable humidifiers to maintain humidity in at least the low 30s (and I run the AC in the summer to keep it from getting too high, so the humidity is generally between 30-50% year round).

I am out of town for the next 2-3 weeks, so my apartment is sitting unattended (and with no humidifier: I can't ask someone to go refill my humidifiers every day). My question is, can the floors withstand a few weeks of low humidity? I'm hoping we get some warm / humid days, but today for example the humidity in the apartment is around 20. How long do the conditions have to be like that before damage occurs in the floor? Am I going to come back to damaged floors or will a few weeks of dry conditions be OK? I will get moisture back into the air as soon as I am back.

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Engineered Wood Floors and Low Humidity
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 10:41 pm 
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A relatively short time of low humidity will not affect the engineered flooring. Months of low humidity may develop tiny gaps on some of the boards.


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 Post subject: Re: Engineered Wood Floors and Low Humidity
PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2020 7:05 am 
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Location: Bonita Springs, Florida
I agree with Pete. However you can probably gain some moisture by filling up a bathtub if you have one. Kitchen sink too.

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 Post subject: Re: Engineered Wood Floors and Low Humidity
PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2020 11:03 am 
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I’ll try the sink and bathtub! Thank you guys and happy New Year!


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 Post subject: Re: Engineered Wood Floors and Low Humidity
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:21 pm 
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Hi everyone - I wanted to update this thread. I am back in my apartment after a few weeks away and as expected, it's been pretty dry here (~19-20% humidity in my apartment for the last week or two). When I got back today, I noticed some splitting along the grain on two of my boards. I uploaded two pictures at the following link (one from standing, one down close): https://imgur.com/a/Jv61mIy

This is my third winter with these floors (6" engineered white oak, glue down over concrete). I've definitely noticed some minor splitting before and it seems to get better in the summer months, but I don't remember seeing it in this particular location before. Is it likely that a few weeks away with low humidity just caused this new damage, or is it likely these have been there before and I hadn't noticed? Either way, any chance these will close up / minimize in appearance once we get into the warmer months, or are these too big? In the meantime, I've got my humidifier back on on full blast and will keep the humidity in the 30s in my apartment. Thank you!


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 Post subject: Re: Engineered Wood Floors and Low Humidity
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:14 am 
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Looks like it shrunk across the grain. To what temperature was your unit set?
You will have a greater chance of shrinkage at higher temperature.


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 Post subject: Re: Engineered Wood Floors and Low Humidity
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 1:41 pm 
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Thank you for your reply. The temperature was pretty steady at 69-70 even for the entire time I was away. It was the humidity that dropped into the low 20s in my absence. I'm now back and keeping the humidifiers running to keep the humidity around 35-40%.


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 Post subject: Re: Engineered Wood Floors and Low Humidity
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:41 pm 
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It may be easier for your humidifier to keep a higher relative humidity if you lower your temperature. Higher humidity helps for your comfort, too. Adding plants to your environment will be more comfortable, also.
When the temperature goes up with the same amount of moisture in the air, you will have a lower relative humidity, because warmer air will hold more moisture.
The warmer air will hold more moisture so any water in the environment will be evaporated easier, causing the top layer of the engineered flooring boards to shrink. Try for at least 40 % if you can work that out..


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