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My parquet has gaps or is demonstrating cupping. What’s happened?

What room climate is recommended for parquet floors?

Wood is a hygroscopic material; it absorbs or looses water in relation to the surrounding environment. Wood will expand and contract (swell and shrink) with fluctuating changes in Relative Humidity and Air Temperature until it reaches its equilibrium moisture content level (emc). This results in swelling and shrinking within the floor, which can lead to shrinkage gaps or cupping. This process is described as the wood ‘working’. In principle, this should not be viewed as something negative, so much as a natural characteristic of the natural material wood. To minimize the unavoidable changes in dimensions as far as possible, we recommend that you maintain a room climate of 20°C Air Temperature and a Relative Humidity Level of 40 to 60% throughout the year.

All our timber used for floors is dried to within ± 2% of its equilibrium moisture content (emc) value, ie the level it is expected to achieve in service. The wood moisture content of the timber floor at the time of delivery is calculated to a level of Relative Humidity of 40.

It is also helpful if you select a timber species with a low swelling and shrinking (expansion and contraction) characteristics and a timber species with a low speed of absorption of moisture (eg. Oak).

It is especially important to maintain the right room climate in the cold/winter months, as micro gaps/gaps will form if the timber is allowed to dry out due to the air being excessively dry. In this case, using an air humidifier at the beginning of the cold/winter months can assist in maintaining relative humidity levels. We therefore recommend that you avoid airing your home for extended periods during the winter. At the beginning and during the cold/winter months, we recommend you install air humidifiers, house plants etc; all sources of moisture; this will help prevent your parquet floor from “shrinking” excessively and causing micro gaps/gaps.