Holiday homes and the greenhouse effect on flooring

greenhouse effect on flooring

Hardwood, laminate and vinyl flooring is a popular choice for homeowners across SA. These flooring options are low maintenance, increase the value of your property and last for years. But a greenhouse effect on one of these flooring options can be very harmful and damage your floor.

What is the Greenhouse effect?
Most common in holiday homes a greenhouse effect occurs when a house / dwelling remains closed for a prolonged period of time and there is limited airflow through the house. Warm sunlight beams through the windows, this generates heat inside the house and results in condensation and humidity building up inside, and eventually the floor swelling, causung peaking, cupping or lifting.

peaking from green house effect

ABOVE: Peaking floors in a closed holiday home, locking system is now damaged

cupping from green house effect

ABOVE: Cupping flooring in a closed holiday home

When you return to the house, open the windows and put on the air conditioner the floor shrinks and may return to normal or already be damaged beyond repair.

How will you Know if your flooring has been damaged by this greenhouse effect?
With a floating floor installation there will always be a certain amount of shrinkage and expansion, as the flooring responds to the heat, humidity and sunlight it is exposed to. Flooring that has been damaged by the Greenhouse effect will have abnormal swelling and shrinkage that will cause the planks to warp, look undulated or have an uneven surface. Remember seasonal gapping is normal.

How to avoid the Greenhouse effect in your home?
For wood, laminate and vinyl flooring to remain unaffected the temperature in the house needs to remain between 15-27 degrees celcius all year around with a relative humidity between 30-50%. We highly recommend a humidity reader to homeowners so they can monitor and keep track of the conditions in their home. Depending on the readings, some homes may require a humidifier or a dehumidifier. Temperature and humidity levels must be maintained at all times even when the house is empty.

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