No matter how perfectly groomed your hair might be when you leave the house, it's not necessarily going to look quite the same by the time you come home, particularly on a humid day. There's a science to this, and essentially humidity results in hydrogen accumulating between the water molecules inside each individual strand of hair, causing it to become wavy, curly, or just plain frizzy.

Although any hair on the exterior of your body is comprised of dead cells, it's still organic matter that can be remarkably responsive to humidity. Your hair isn't the only dead organic matter that can have a problem with humidity, and parts of your house might not take too kindly to it, either. Timber flooring can have an adverse reaction to changes in relative humidity, and if the climate isn't accounted for, your timber floors can experience a number of issues. If you're in the market to upgrade your flooring and were planning to go with timber, it's important that you consider how humid your home can become. 

A Common Australian Issue

High levels of humidity might seem a given in parts of Australia, such as the parts of Queensland that are officially designated as tropical. The high levels of humidity in other parts of the country might come as a surprise. Northern Tasmania can experience significant humidity due to its location on Bass Strait. So really, humidity can be an issue almost anywhere in Australia. But how does this affect timber flooring?

Reactions to Humidity

Although it's no longer attached to a tree, timber can be reactive to humidity in a manner that makes it seem as though it's still alive, and it can expand and contract in response to the relative humidity in the room. Most of the time, these variations are so miniscule as to be almost imperceptible, but the prolonged effects of humidity on wooden floors can create noticeable problems. As the timber expands, it can be forced into its neighbouring floorboards, resulting in cracking. This expansion can also cause buckling, wherein the process of expansion has forced the board away from the subfloor, making it loose. So how can you install beautiful timber flooring that won't be so affected by humidity?

Humidity Control and Engineered Wood

Maintaining a constant relative level of humidity is one way to achieve this, but this can be a result of the design or your home, its type and density of insulation, and other means of temperature regulation, such as air conditioning. You can also opt for flooring made from engineered wood, which is when timber particles are bound together with an adhesive. While these will look and feel like a piece of wood directly refined from raw material, they will not react to humidity as severely as other types of timber flooring. 

Before you go ahead and install timber floors in your home, you're going to need to be sure that they can cope with any changes to humidity.