Hardwood Flooring and Climate Considerations: Best Practices for Different Regions

Hardwood Flooring and Climate Considerations: Best Practices for Different Regions

When it comes to enhancing your home with the natural beauty and durability of hardwood flooring, understanding how climate impacts wood is crucial. At Floors by the Shore, based in Belmar, NJ, we recognize that the varying climates across regions can significantly affect both the choice and upkeep of hardwood flooring. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to navigate the intricacies of hardwood flooring in different climates, focusing on the impact of humidity and temperature.

Choosing hardwood flooring

Consider the wood species

Hardwood flooring comes in various species, each with its unique characteristics and climatic suitability. For instance, species like oak, maple, and hickory are known for their durability and ability to withstand fluctuating humidity levels, making them ideal for regions with variable climates. On the other hand, exotic woods like teak and mahogany are better suited for more stable environments.

Understand the wood's hardness

The hardness of the wood, measured by the Janka scale, indicates its resistance to wear and tear. In high-traffic areas or regions with drastic climate changes, selecting a hardwood with a higher Janka rating, such as hickory or Brazilian cherry, can ensure greater durability.

Engineered vs. solid hardwood

Engineered hardwood flooring is often recommended for areas with high humidity or where temperatures fluctuate significantly. Unlike solid hardwood, engineered hardwood consists of multiple layers that provide enhanced stability and resistance to warping and swelling.

Installing hardwood flooring


Acclimatization is key

Before installation, hardwood flooring must acclimate to the local environment. This process involves leaving the wood in the installation space for a period (usually several days) to adjust to the area’s temperature and humidity levels. This step is crucial to prevent future warping, buckling, or gaps.

Choose the right installation method

The method of installation can also help mitigate climate-related issues. For instance, floating floors, where the hardwood is not directly attached to the subfloor but instead locks with adjacent planks, can be beneficial in climates that experience significant humidity changes. This method allows the wood more room to expand and contract without causing damage.

Use of moisture barriers

In regions with high humidity, using a moisture barrier during installation can prevent moisture from seeping into the wood from below. This is particularly important in areas like basements or over concrete slabs.

Maintaining hardwood flooring

Regular maintenance

Regular sweeping and vacuuming to remove dirt and grit can prevent scratches and surface damage. It’s also advisable to promptly clean up any spills to avoid water damage.

Control indoor climate

Maintaining a stable indoor climate can significantly prolong the life of your hardwood flooring. Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners to manage humidity levels, especially during hot, humid summers. In dry climates or during cold winters, using a humidifier can help keep wood shrinkage to a minimum.

Use protective measures

Rugs and mats can be strategically placed in high-traffic areas to minimize wear. Additionally, using furniture pads can prevent scratches and dents from heavy objects, preserving the beauty of your hardwood flooring.

Professional checks

Regular inspections by a flooring professional can help catch and address any climate-related issues before they become serious problems. A professional can also offer tailored advice depending on your specific regional conditions and the type of hardwood flooring you have.


Selecting, installing, and maintaining hardwood flooring in consideration of local climate demands thoughtful preparation and ongoing care. By choosing the right wood species, preparing the wood for your climate, and maintaining a stable environment, you can ensure that your hardwood flooring remains a lasting and beautiful feature of your home. At Floors by the Shore in Belmar, NJ, we are committed to helping you through every step of this process, ensuring that your hardwood flooring investment is sound, aesthetically pleasing, and durable for years to come. Whether you are looking for installation advice or need help with maintenance, our team is here to support you in making the most out of your hardwood flooring.