It’s the holiday season! With holidays just around the corner, it is important homeowners and builders alike are aware of the potential ramifications of leaving your house locked up for an extended period of time.
What are the ramifications you may ask?
By locking up your home in the summer period, you invariably create a low humidity environment and consequently, the timber floorboards within it become susceptible to shrinkage and separation, causing unwanted gaps. The scientific explanation behind this is due to the hygroscopic nature of timber, meaning timber absorbs moisture from its surroundings. So, when there is not enough moisture in the atmosphere, timber will contract. Early in the new year, it is not unusual for Frank and I to inspect floorboards that have opened up while the owners were away on holidays. It is no easy fix once the damage has been done, as such, I provide the following tips to humidify the timber environment.
- Use evaporative air conditioning to put humidity back into the timber environment. Do not use split system air conditioning for this as the refrigerant draws humidity from the atmosphere, which will only make it worse.
- Hire or purchase a relatively cheap humidifier to increase the humidity in the atmosphere 3
- Place 2-3 buckets of water in the affected room. As the water evaporates, it will gradually reacclimatize the room with increased humidity
With that said, like most things in life, prevention is better than cure. Accordingly, we make the following suggestions for preventing floorboard shrinkage:
- Leave some windows ajar so fresh air can ventilate the interior atmosphere
- If possible, have a neighbour periodically open the dwelling to let fresh air inside
- If purchasing a humidifier, set timers can be utilised to nullify a build-up of low humidity
If you have any questions about this topic, please do not hesitate to contact me via email at Jeff.Harvey@bowens. com.au