Being a natural product, timber flooring expands and contracts when it heats, cools and is exposed to moisture. This can cause issues if sufficient space hasn't been allowed for and the timber is constricted from this natural movement.
With timber flooring, it's industry standard to allow an expansion gap during installation. This is usually around 2-4mm around the perimeter of the floor to prevent these issues. Usually expansion gaps are hidden by skirting boards or beading.
While timber flooring products have come a long way in their construction, expansion gaps are still needed to accomodate changes to a home's relative humidity levels. When this is sitting high, moisture from the air is absorbed into the flooring boards and can result in boards swelling.
While these changes may be minor, swelling will occur during prolonged periods of wet weather or humidity. Allowing expansion gaps protects your flooring from greater damage like cupping and peaking between boards.
Depending on the type of flooring product you choose for your home and your home design, expansion gaps can differ in size. For example, while engineered flooring is cross laminated and reduces the width expansion when compared to solid flooring, there may be lengthwise movement that still needs to be allowed for.
Speak to one of our flooring experts to discuss your project, we’re just a call away.
Images: William Zhao, Unsplash
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