When it comes to using wood in flooring, a little basic knowledge can go a long way, especially if you are a business owner talking to a flooring contractor or manufacturer. Wood floors are highly desirable in both business and residential construction, especially in office spaces. Knowing as much as possible about how wood is measured can boost understanding and communication. So, when it comes to sizing both soft and hardwood, wood is measured in widths. But why?
The reason that sets of wood are measured by width is because wood shrinks when it dries. However, it shrinks more significantly across the grain of the wood rather than with it, the length of wood is not affected as much as the width is. In other words, when a piece of wood is cut at a sawmill, it will retain its length but the width could alter from the mill to the installer.
If wood flooring planks are not properly dried before installation, it can cause gaps to appear between them. Sometimes the wood flooring planks are properly dried at the manufacturer and gain moisture content somewhere between there and the installation. The best way to avoid extensive gapping is to use narrower boards, extremely stable wood species and possibly even adding humidifiers.
The bottom line is that wood will always behave like wood and shrink when it gets drier. It’s important for installers to inform their clients about the best wood flooring material for their area and warn them about the expected seasonal gapping that will most likely occur. A flooring inspector can visit the workplace to provide more insight and information on any wood flooring issues that appear to be affected by shrinkage.
If you are worried about shrinking wood flooring or have any questions about hardwood flooring in general, consider calling Rob McNealy at Flooristics for a thorough consultation.