Between our semi-arid climate and drastic temperature changes each year, Twin Falls can present a challenge to hardwood flooring. Traditionally, the only way to overcome this challenge was to maintain specific humidity levels and temperatures in your home, leading to higher utility costs.
However, we do still have hardwood options in Twin Falls. It takes a little more planning initially, but the long-term benefits of making an informed choice are worth it.
The Challenge of Solid Hardwood
Warmer months tend to be dry in Twin Falls. In fact, our humidity tends to fall below 30% (the recommended relative humidity for hardwood) in the afternoon during midsummer – the same time that our temperatures hit their peak. Unfortunately, this is also the same time when we’re at work and usually turn off our air conditioners. The falling temperatures and frequent snowfall of winter present similar challenges. It is also during this time that humidity tends to remain well above the relative level of 55% recommended for solid hardwood. While homes can be maintained at these levels, it will lead to higher utility costs and the expense of buying humidifiers and dehumidifiers.
What happens if proper temperatures and humidity levels are not maintained? Both heat and humidity can cause solid hardwood to expand, resulting in warped and cupped panels. If hardwood is allowed to dry out (too little humidity), it can compromise the wood, causing it to crack and splinter.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Engineered hardwood was, ultimately, designed to serve as a better performing replacement to hardwood. It is still composed of authentic wood, but features a layered design rather than solid wood. This is especially useful in Twin Falls, where both temperatures and humidity change noticeably between the cooler and warmer seasons. Also, engineered hardwood planks do not require an acclimation period after installation.
Still, not all engineered flooring is the same. Some perform better under harsh conditions than others, so it’s important to check the documentation before purchasing.
Indistinguishable Wood-Look Alternatives
Even engineered hardwood can be hit or miss (depending on the manufacturer). However, there are a variety of wood-look hard surface alternatives that replicate the aesthetics and textures of hardwood flooring perfectly.
Tile & Stone
When was the last time you saw wood flooring in a kitchen or bathroom? While the aesthetic can offer a unique style, wood obviously isn’t suitable in areas with high humidity and frequent spills. Tile & stone, however is. In fact, porcelain tile flooring is so durable that it’s suitable for outdoor uses throughout the year in nearly any climate. So, it’s certainly able to withstand frequent drops better than hardwood flooring. Yet, many modern tile & stone selections are designed to nearly perfectly replicate the aesthetic and even texture of authentic hardwood flooring.
Luxury Vinyl Flooring
LVT and LVP are two more hard surface options designed with versatility in mind. Changes in heat and humidity have virtually no impact, and they are among the most durable flooring options available. Even better, luxury vinyl flooring is one of the most affordable options available – certainly more affordable than both solid and engineered hardwood. Yet, it’s available in just as many styles and can accurately reflect the look and texture of hardwood.
The needs of every home and family are different. For expert advice on your next flooring purchase, visit Twin Falls’ premier flooring professionals at Rocky Mountain Flooring today!