Snowbird Rules to Live By For Your Floors
A "snowbird" is one of our customers who moves to a warmer southern state in the winter. Many of you leave for several months to soak up vitamin D in sunny Florida. I want to give you a few pointers to keep your floor in top shape.
The temperature at which we keep the home directly affects the moisture, or relative humidity, in the home. Most of our flooring manufacturers have specific standards of moisture and temperature at which they require you to keep the home in order to maintain your warranty. Shocking, I know! It very much makes a difference in the appearance and sound of your flooring. This is not limited to laminate floors. Solid hardwood can be affected as well.
Flooring reacts to the environment it is in. Wood gains or loses moisture and correspondingly gets bigger or smaller based on the moisture content and temperature of its surroundings. Vinyl floors expand and contract based on the temperature of the air and the temperature of the subfloor. Ceramic tiles, and even porcelain tiles, expand and contract with moisture and temperature changes.
Do you have cracks in your tile that cannot be explained? Cracking grout? Is your hardwood gapped or do you notice cupping? Does your laminate squeak and pop?
Many times when customers notice issues with their flooring, we are entering a change in season or they are coming back from an extended vacation. We want you to love you floor and enjoy each year of your investment. Let's talk about some options for snowbirds!
1. Keep the home temperature controlled even when you are away.
Does this mean it needs to be 72 degrees year round? No. Most manufacturers recommend the humidity in the home to hold between 45-55%. This is usually achieved by keeping the temperature in the home between 60-78 degrees. We do not want the house too hot or too cold. This is not something we want to make you do, but know that your floor will perform best between these temperatures. If you are gone for the night, your floor is not going to be destroyed if the house goes to 50 degrees. If you leave for 2 months and it fluctuates between 40 degrees and 60 degrees the entire time, you are most definitely going to notice negative changes in the appearance of your floor. You may notice sound changes as well; squeaks and popping.
2. Make the correct product selection.
We salespeople are trained to find you the best floor for your situation. However, we will not automatically assume your leave your home for several months out of the year. Please let us know if this is a possibility for you. There are certain floors that handle temperature and humidity change better than others. Locking luxury vinyl with a pvc core, for instance, is a highly stable floor choice. It is not easily affected by any type of change. In hardwood, we encourage snowbirds to use the engineered woods. Not all of these are created equal, so please let someone at the store educate you. Sheet vinyl, with a fiberglass core, is also a good choice for a home that might see temperature changes.
3. Invest in crawl space encapsulation.
While this is not my area of expertise, I know it can make a huge difference in the moisture content of your home. Encapsulation is a very resistant moisture barrier to protect your home from the ground up, literally. Not all homes are suited to this due to ground water flow or crawl space stationed appliances. Volunteer Energy has several resources if you would like to pursue this avenue.
Floors are, generally, a large investment. We want them to last you as long as possible without any trouble. If you ever want advice or recommendations, please do not hesitate to call the store. I love to give advice and to talk about floors!
I hope you all have a fantastic 2016! Keep an eye open for our upcoming Share the Love Giveaway! Sneak Peak: We are giving away carpet!
Don't miss out on our January Sales Event:
New Year, New Floor!
We are giving away carpet cushion and donating proceeds to St. Jude!
Visit HOUZZ.COM for home design ideas.
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