High Humidity in Crawl Space & Wood Floor Cupping: Causes & Cures
December 2, 2021
Have you ever wondered what’s down in your crawl space? People have discovered all sorts of distasteful things; from dripping water to busted insulation, we have seen it all. People across the board are saying that there is high humidity in their crawl spaces—the culprit of cupping.
Cupping can happen to all kinds of wood floors, including expensive, solid, and engineered hardwoods. Due to a change in moisture content, when the crawl space side of the hardwood flooring is exposed to high humidity, cupping will occur, causing a concave shape to appear. High or excessive humidity causes cupping (or buckling, interchangeably) 99.9% of the time.
So, let’s dive a bit deeper into why this happens so often while also discussing ways to cure this issue.
Cause: Discovering the Why
Every year when the air outside gets warmer and more humid, especially in the American South where humidity is upwards of 80%, your wood floors are at risk of cupping. Think about it this way, when floors experience different moisture content levels from one side to the other, that’s when they are most at risk.
Most manufacturers and installers recommend addressing the source as soon as possible. Here are two of the most common reasons why this occurs to so many homeowners:
Reason #1: The humidity levels of the crawl space environment depend on the climate and temperature of the air. When homes don’t have the proper ventilation systems embedded in the foundation, the entrapment of humidity leads to water buildup.
Reason #2: When too much moisture seeps into the wood floors from the top-down, perhaps from a flood, the hardwood floor can get warped. The warping can be corrected with a dehumidifier, but cupping can still be present. Refinishing the floor to restore it back to its original form may be necessary.
Cures: Let’s Stop This Now!
If you are experiencing these exact problems (or others like it) and have grown tired or frustrated, there are ways to combat the situation and ultimately restore your home back to its original form. While there are multiple things to do, we have provided you with 3 different yet effective ways to help.
Process 1: Reducing Ventilation
It has been said that “the more ventilation, the more moisture is getting into the house, and the more moisture we need to remove. So, reducing ventilation can be beneficial.” Simply put, you should lower the areas that can welcome moisture into your crawl space. Maybe that looks like removing some, but not all, of your working vents to reduce the outside air circulating underneath the floor. By doing this, you can prevent moisture build-up, which lowers the chance of cupping and reduces the growth of mildew and mold.
Process 2: Adding Dehumidifiers
If your crawl space’s humidity levels are nearing 60% or higher, the condensation can cool on your wood surfaces, further resulting in cupping. By creating a low-moisture environment with the help of a dehumidifier, the likelihood of your hardwood floors cupping, buckling, or warping is guaranteed to be minimized.
Process 3: Controlling Water in Crawl Spaces
This process is a bit more technical but achievable. If there is any standing or running water going through your crawl space, it is important to mitigate it with the help of sump pumps. All vapor barriers should be sealed and covered, which also eliminates moisture from turning into water.
How to Properly Get This Done
Contact us as we would be glad to send out some of our professionals to help you if you are experiencing any of these problems with your home’s hardwood floors. Call us at (866) 341-9448 or visit our website to connect.