Wood flooring is some of the most desirable, whether at home or at the workplace. There are plenty of different factors that go into the decision to install hardwood flooring, but most customers don’t think about things like humidity when it comes to wood floors. That’s where the flooring installer can help educate customers about installing wood flooring above grade, below grade or on grade.
Why Does Grade Matter?
Hardwood flooring should only be installed on grade and above grade, due to the levels of humidity. The humidity in a below grade area is simply not appropriate for hardwood flooring. That’s because the soil around the structure is always dealing with water in some form or another and the porous flooring pulls up moisture and releases it into the interior.
Even when a cement floor is sealed, there is still the exposure to a more humid environment. Excess humidity is never good for wood flooring, and that’s why hardwood below grade is a big no-no in the flooring industry.
Alternatives to Wood Floors Below Grade
When putting in flooring below the surface, it’s usually not a good idea to install organic material like bamboo or hardwood. However, home owners and business owners don’t have to forgo the look of hardwood. Engineered wood is the preferable material that flooring installation experts use below grade. Engineered wood is comprised of several layers of real wood plus a veneer. They are more resistant to moisture and humidity and will not cause problems like hardwood floors would if they were installed below grade. Engineered wood also comes in an array of colors, styles and looks, so the customers can get the exact look they want.
In summary, hardwood flooring that is installed at grade or above, with moisture barriers in place, will perform the best. Below grade flooring should be engineered wood because it is better able to resist high humidity levels.