Many of our customers think that they should only install wide plank wood floors in areas of their home that will not be exposed to moisture, such as in living rooms and bedrooms, but not in kitchens or bathrooms. However, we encourage you to put our William & Henry floors an any room in your home, including kitchens and bathrooms. And we’ll tell you why.
But first, the most important factor in the performance of wide plank solid wood floors is the stability of the floor planks. This comes from the tightness of the grain. The slower a tree grows, the tighter the grain. Wood can only move as much as the space in between the grain, so if the grain is nice and tight there is not a lot of room to move, even in planks that are 16 inches wide!
The William & Henry sawyers find and selectively cut old, slow growing trees. We mill each floor plank from the center, or heart, of the timber, with the grain running vertically down the face of the board. So, each plank, and each floor, is very stable with minimum opportunity to expand and contract.
It is also important to remember that it is not the amount of moisture that a wood floor is exposed to that causes it to expand and cause cupping or bowing, it is the pace of change in moisture levels that cause wood floors to react in an undesirable manner. For example, if water is dripped on a wood floor in a bathroom, or something spills on a floor in the kitchen, this will not affect the entire floor in that area, and the finish on the floor will prevent this type of moisture from penetrating through to the planks.
On the other hand, if there is a significant amount of change in the moisture levels of the environment surrounding the floor, the floor will expand and contract accordingly, and more dramatically depending on how tight or wide the grain is. This is why we recommend acclimating the planks in their environment before installing.
Floors in homes near water, such as coastal or lakefront, don’t typically experience a dramatic change in climate, so once the floor is acclimated and installed it shouldn’t move. In other climates winters are very dry and summers are very humid. In this case, it is a good idea to keep a humidifier in the home through the winter to keep the moisture levels consistent.
In our next blog, we’ll talk about why your William & Henry wide plank floors perform beautifully with any type of heating system, including radiant heat. In the meantime, enjoy the look of wood flooring throughout your home, in any and every room.