Water and Wood

Yep it’s true, all wood takes on moisture and loses moisture depending on the relative humidity. Some woods such as Oak, Ash and other open-grained woods have air channels running through them like little tunnels. Closed-grained woods such as Maple, Birch and Pine absorb water like a sponge.

How Water Damages Wood

If you’ve ever had water leak on a wood floor such as Oak for a long period of time, the wood will expand and actually crush those air channels. Once this happens the wood can never go back to its original size. This happens in cases where a dishwasher leaked, or a refrigerator waterline sprung a leak. When the wood does dry out, there will be cracks in the floor that will never go back to there original size. When a wood floor gets wet, the pressure is so great, it crushes itself. Sometimes the floor will pop up, cup, or buckle, it goes to its weakest point. The only thing you can do - is replace it.

Prevent Damaging your wood floors

Be aware of living conditions too. Some woods can’t take a lack of heat during the winter. If you notice older camps in Maine, that were never heated in the winter have Douglas fir floors. That is because Douglas fir has so much sap in it that a normal amount of moisture can’t penetrate it!

It is also important to follow the manufacture recommendations on nailing patterns, if you over nail a floor and it can’t move, it could cup or buckle when it picks up moisture. In this case, more isn’t better. Thanks!


~ Floorman