I've heard a rumor that if you install exotic hardwood floors, you
need to keep the humidity higher in the house, or the wood might
crack. (I live in Canada, where we have very dry winters).
I've been woodworking for years, and haven't heard about this -- is
this rumor true, or is it just a salesperson trying to disuade me from
what I really want (which is Jatoba BTW, but I'm interested in knowing
if this occurs in other types of wood too). Could this be a product
of how the wood is dried after harvest?
It's BS as long as the material has been properly dried it doesn't
matter where it came from.
You'll want to follow the manufacturer's recommended acclimation
procedure at installation of course, but they're all essentially the
same for any solid wood flooring.
I'd look at the manufacturer's web site for any specific information on
the particular product if the sales people don't have it readily
available (and I'd be sorely tempted to find another outlet channel to
If the flooring isn't dried well when manufactured anything might
happen, cracks, twisting, cupping. Most flooring from reputable
dealers is made better than this.
I am not familiar with Jatoba, but the width of the flooring will
play a big role in the developement of cracks, if it is 4" and narrower
it shouldn't be a problem.
A bigger concern would be laying a very dry floor during a very
dry time of year, when the humidity does return you run the risk of
floor buckling. It would be better to lay the new floor during the
most humid time of year, the joints may open a little when
dry weather returns.
The rumour is false. Jatoba (aka "brazilian cherry") changes dimension
with humidity less than oak, maple, hickory, or birch. Merbau on the
other hand moves about half as much as jatoba.
Pretty much any wood floor will be happier if you boost the humidity in
the winter. I'm in Saskatchewan and we can easily get down below 20%
humidity unless the humidifier is running. This will give noticeable
gaps between the boards.
As basilisk said, you're better off installing during late summer when
the humidity is higher so that the wood will generally shrink later. If
you install very dry flooring in winter, you need to plan for some
expansion come summertime.
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