Relative humidity (RH) is a term that is commonly when we are dealing with hardwood floors and mostly, it is the leading cause behind damage to flooring caused by environmental conditions. Not many people understand the meaning of RELATIVE HUMIDITY and this is not astonishing as it is a bit of an indefinite concept. The given explanation will set the focus back on the actual meaning.
A majority of people know that humidity is the amount of moisture vapor in the air, but what they don’t know is the meaning of ‘relative’ in the case of RH. The answer to this doubt is temperature. It is quite evident that warm air has more occupancy for moisture vapor than cold air. Hence, whenever we measure humidity, we have to keep in mind factors like- how warm the ambient atmosphere is and state the humidity in relation to that.
RH is the ratio of present amount of moisture in the compare and the probably amount of moisture in the air at a particular temperature. A relative humidity of 50% means that the air contains half of the moisture vapor that the air could hold at that temperature.
Basically, heating or cooling of an air mass doesn’t alter the amount of vapor in the air; but the capacity of vapor that air mass can hold. On the other hand, warm air has the capacity to hold more vapor than it did in its cooler state.
The main question is that how does all this objectively relate to the hardwood flooring in our homes? We all are aware that wood flooring has some innate moisture content, and can interrelate moisture with its ambient surroundings, releasing moisture in a dry environment or drawing it in from a moist one.
Furthermore, temperature shares a direct relationship with the moisture in the environment, hence, moving wood from a cold space to a warm one can have a powerful and convincing effect on the wood. Even though the absolute humidity is absolutely same in both rooms, the relative humidity is very different. This is the reason why hardwood installation and maintenance instructions always emphasize that both temperature and relative humidity be preserved at recommended levels, to bestow a stable environment.
Now that you have gone through enough of good reasons, we recommend you to purchase and install a hygrometer to monitor the RH in your home. It will assist you in keeping your hardwood floors healthy and happy.
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