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How Nashville Weather Affects Residential Flooring

When someone asks what you like about Nashville, your first thought may not be the weather. Despite the relative warmth year-round, humid summer months and wet winters aren’t ideal for any outside plans—but did you know that the weather can also affect your home’s flooring?

How Nashville Weather Affects Residential Flooring

There are some sure things with weather, one being that warm air holds a lot more humidity than cold air. Humidity is the single biggest factor in how climate affects flooring. Humidity refers to the relative moisture content of the air, so the higher percentage, the more moisture there is. With spring and summer quickly approaching, hot and humid days are on the horizon. Besides making the outside air feel like an oppressive soup, humidity can also negatively impact your home’s floors. 

Hardwood floors are by far the hardest hit by humidity. When the air is warm and moist, these floors can absorb water and expand, causing the boards to warp and crack. Humidity-damaged floors will often show signs of cupping, where the center of the board is lower than its edges, forming a valley in the planks. 

And while humidity isn’t uniquely Nashville weather, we know it can be exceptionally rough here. With the moisture brought on by humidity, mold and mildew are also more likely to form on or beneath improperly waterproofed flooring. This can happen with laminate or tile if it’s not installed correctly and properly maintained. Besides being a health concern, mold and mildew can damage subfloors and cause structural issues if allowed to grow unchecked. 

New Season, New Problems

How does temperature affect wood floors? Extreme heat or cold can make floors swell and shrink easily. Higher temperatures and humidity are arguably worse than dryer winters, but that’s not to say winter doesn’t have its own nasty side. The weather in Nashville, Tennessee can sometimes feel like the worst of both worlds. Along with humid summers, we still get some of the cold that northern states experience, and with that cold comes a whole other world of flooring issues. Winter isn’t exactly dry here, but that cold air does hold less moisture. So it’s important to note that humidity issues can still occur, especially in those winters where temperatures don’t dip that low. 

So, does cold weather affect wood floors and other flooring? Unfortunately, yes. Cold temperatures in the home can cause floorboards and hardwood to shrink, creating gaps in the wood. Besides being unsightly, these gaps can also allow moisture, dirt, and bacteria to gain access to the subfloor. But that’s not all that winter can do to your floors. 

When there’s ice, there’s usually salt. And salt is an especially destructive force for hardwood and other flooring. When salt gets tracked into a home, it can discolor hardwood and carpets. Salt is especially abrasive, so its presence on hard or soft flooring can cause scratches. These scratches can let more moisture enter the wood, and the salt can break down the wood or carpet fibers if given time. 

Help Your Floors Weather the Worst of Nashville’s Climate

Ozburn-Hessey has worked in the Nashville community for over 60 years, providing flooring installations and maintenance in thousands of homes and businesses. We know Nashville weather and just how it can affect your floors. When you’re choosing a company to install, refinish, or maintain your hardwood or soft flooring, look no further than Ozburn-Hessey. Give us a call for a free estimate or consultation today, and make sure you’re prepared for whatever weather Nashville will throw at us.

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