Hardwood and Humidity in Quincy, MA
Wood flooring and humidity generally do not mix. While most polished wood can fend of an immediate dab of water wiped up, long-standing moisture that soaks in will eventually cause wood to expand and warp. And particle wood soaks up moisture much faster with greater results. No surprise then, wood flooring has long been avoided for heavy humidity areas like bathrooms and the kitchen. That said, there are ways to balance out humidity issues and enjoy the warmth and color of wood flooring.
The most common approach is to use a blended floor design that places water resistant flooring in the direct areas of high humidity and wood flooring immediately around that zone for everything else. This combination can be made work fairly well with tile and wood flooring. It can also be coordinated between wood flooring choices and vinyl tile or roll flooring as many vinyl choices are quite competitive now with premium flooring. These are not the vinyl floors you remember as a kid from the 1970's.
Choice of Wood
Some types of wood flooring are also fairly resistant to moisture if it is not a heavy exposure. Engineered wood, for example, has far greater resistance than natural wood planks. This choice is able to deal with humidity levels from 30 to as much as 60 percent. That can be a blessing for homes in areas that naturally see a lot of climate humidity in general, particularly during the wet, warm season as in the deep South and Florida area. The engineered construction packs the wood in layers which resist expansion far better, something natural wood cannot do.
Don't assume that wood flooring will be taken care of by simply putting down rugs. The weave can often hold onto moisture until it evaporates, leaving a long lasting wet spot right on the wood surface. The result ends up being discoloration like that found under the bottom of unprepared house plant containers. Also, keep in mind that wood needs some minimal level of natural moisture that is available in normal air. For example, wood right next to a fireplace often dries out and cracks because of the fire's radiant heat effect eliminating any moisture whatsoever.
Humidity can be dealt with far better now than a few years ago, but homeowners are wise to plan out and research their flooring choices with given rooms to be treated before buying.