Grade Levels & Wood Flooring
By Jeff Hosking – Hosking Hardwood Flooring Inc.
© 2004-2012, Copyright protected. All Rights Reserved
To begin with, you need to look at where you plan on installing your new wood flooring. Some wood flooring constructions (like 3/4 inch thick solid wood flooring) are limited as to where they can be installed due to them being more susceptible to moisture. These 3/4 IN. thick planks are generally not recommended for basements or for installation over concrete slabs. Solid wood floors generally perform better at or above ground floor levels of the home, where the relative humidity levels may not build up as high. This is because windows and doors are being opened more frequently and air conditioning and/or dehumidifiers are being run.
Basements are known for being closed in, causing damp or wet conditions which can cause the solid wood flooring to absorb excess moisture. This moisture, in turn, migrates through below grade cement walls and slabs. Wood flooring that has absorbed excess moisture can swell in size causing the edges of the boards to cup and/or buckle the wood.
Quality engineered flooring, on the other hand, is manufactured to have better resistance to higher* or lower than normal moisture. This is because below the top decorative hardwood wear layer on the surface, there is a plywood type center core with 3-7 thin layers of wood cross layered in opposite directions to each other. Each layer is glued and bonded together helping reduce expansion and contraction during seasonal changes in humidity levels.
*That doesn’t mean engineered flooring will withstand an excessive amount of moisture or being flooded with water. All wood flooring should be maintained at a normal relative humidity level.
Solid wood floors
should be maintained at between 40-55 % relative humidity throughout the year, which equates to normal living conditions.
Engineered wood flooring should be maintained at between 30-60 % relative humidity throughout the year which is still in the normal comfort range.
Small digital shelf top type hygrometers can be purchased for about $25.00 at most any hardware store and is used to monitor both room temperature and relative humidity levels within the room areas.
To help you determine which type or style of wood flooring can go where, we have placed a house diagram on each of our wood construction article pages for engineered, solid and floating wood floors. The installation method that a particular style has will also determine where are floor can go, so be sure to read our article called Install Methods as well.
Our Website Visitor Statistics indicate that 86% of people that visit our Website purchase their Flooring from us. Thank you! Provided by Live-Stats Inc.
See what people like you are saying Customer Reviews
Please Tell Us What You Think Of Our ArticleWe are sorry we cannot Reply to Questions here. Please use our Floorboards Forum
Web Page: Grade Level
by Jeff Hosking
Overall Rating: 2.5 stars -
By: R. Holden
April 24, 2013
Please define "Grade Level". Is it the type, quality, or size of the wood?
November 10, 2012
I have been reading several of your excellent articles. I cannot locate the page that describes the grade level descriptions. Please advise.