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How a third La Niña is going to impact your floors.

Prepare for the impacts of La Niña on your floors. With increased moisture and humidity, hardwood floors may warp, while carpets can develop mold. Opt for waterproof vinyl plank flooring and ensure proper ventilation to mitigate damage.

If you live in the Northern Rivers or SE Queensland then chances are you’ve heard the term La Niña been used frequently this past year. But what is it and how does it impact you and your floors?

Put simply, there are steady winds that travel along the equator called trade winds, in a neutral state they are responsible for seasonally appropriate, warmer weather and the wet season in the north of Australian in summertime.

There are two seemingly opposite pacific weather events El Niño and La Niña, that can have global implications when they disrupt these trade winds. La Niña occurs when the trade winds essentially go into overdrive and push too much warm water around the north and east of Australia, this drastically increases cloud development, creates cooler weather and increases rainfall. La Niña events can last just a few months or up to a few years and we are currently in our third consecutive La Niña event which hasn’t happened for twenty years.

How will this impact your floors?

The consistent wet weather has led to flooding and pervasive mould issues all across the country. When regular hardwood floors are exposed to increased moisture and humidity there is potential for bubbling and cracks. Poor installation or acclimation and flooding can lead to more pronounced damage such as cupping, crowning and buckling.

Carpet is the most likely flooring option to be affected by the ongoing La Niña event. Even a low pile, densely woven carpet can be subject to mould and musty odour if proper preventative steps are not taken. Wet shoes and soggy pets tracking in unwanted excess moisture should be avoided while in a period of increased humidity.

With correct professional installation, vinyl plank flooring is 100% waterproof and one of the best options for a wet and humid climate. However, if you have existing vinyl floors that are reaching the end of their life, check for cracks in the seals and edges are this is where excess moisture can seep in and create mould issues in your subfloor.

What you can do

Ventilation is a key element to combating mould during a La Niña event. Practical steps you can take to increase ventilation in your home are creating a cross breeze by opening windows and doors. In buildings or in periods of excess rain where this isn’t possible, using ceiling or pedestal fans throughout the space can achieve adequate ventilation. Also utilise exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens to avoid adding further moisture into the air.

During the third La Niña we can expect the humidity to fluctuate quite drastically, by utilizing dehumidifiers in your home you can prevent damage to your flooring. Electronic dehumidifiers are the preferable option, particularly if they have an adjustable thermostat. The optimal humidity range for hardwood floors sits between 30% – 50% and 40% – 50% for carpets. Keep in mind that permeant damage can result for prolonged periods over 55% for hardwood and 65% for carpets. Household humidity can also be kept in check by running reverse air cycling units on the dry setting.

As domestic and commercial flooring specialists we recommend household carpet replacement after 5 years if it hasn’t been well maintained and ten years for carpets that have been well cared for. Depending on the material, commercial carpets have a lifespan of 5-10 years. If you’re contemplating replacing worn out flooring or upgrading your floors to better suit the conditions, Carpets On The Move are your local experts on flooring. Get in touch today to see the flooring options we have to get your through the third La Niña!

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