The Basement’s or Crawlspace’s Negative Effects on Hardwood Floors
High humidity levels in basements and crawlspaces may be damaging your hardwood floors.
If you haven’t had a flood and can’t identify a leak dripping onto your hardwood floors, but you still have hardwood floor damage it is most likely moisture problems in the basement or crawlspace. The most common damage from moisture problems is when the floor is cupping or buckling.
When the edges of the hardwood floor pull up and are higher than the middle of the board, this is called cupping. Cupping happens when there is an imbalance in moisture levels in the room and below the floor in the basement or crawlspace.
Buckling is when the hardwood floor lifts or separates from the subfloor. Hardwood floors buckle when the humidity levels in the lower levels of the house are too high in the crawlspace or basement.
Advanced Energy, an environmental research group based in North Carolina, did the groundbreaking study on closed crawlspaces. They also found a link between vented crawlspaces and hardwood floor damage on the upper first level of the house. Advanced Energy researchers say in order to understand why wood floors cup and buckle you need to understand the relationship between your floors, your crawlspace and moisture (or relative humidity.)
Through the scientific phenomenon called stack effect, air and moisture in that air moves from the crawlspace to the upper levels of the house. Air is constantly moving in this pattern so it is important to keep the air in the crawlspace dry.
Keeping the crawlspace a dry, conditioned space will also lower heating and cooling bills because the seasonal outside air won’t travel into the upper levels of the house. Treating the crawlspace like part of the house will make the house more comfortable, lower energy bills, and prevent damage to hardwood floors.