I remember growing up in Colorado with the abundance of snow in the winter and those daily rain showers we would get almost every afternoon in the spring and summer.  Colorado would have been considered a much more temperate climate back then.  Now it is typical to experience drought prone and arid conditions no matter what season. 

Photo by Peter Pryharski

These conditions can pose some unique challenges for how wood flooring performs. As a certified NWFA (National Wood Flooring Association) Wood Floor Inspector, I have witnessed many of these challenges first-hand, and one of the major concern’s customers may have are gaps appearing in between the boards. 

Wood flooring is a hygroscopic material, meaning it will take on or give off moisture according to the environment it is placed in.  In Colorado we can observe indoor relative humidity fluctuate between 30 – 45% in the warmer months of late spring and summer to below 20% in the winter. When relative humidity drops, flooring loses moisture and shrinks thus forming gaps between the boards.  While normal seasonal gapping is a completely normal and expected phenomenon, it can be much more exaggerated on wider width boards.  Wide plank flooring has and will continue to dominate as a trend in the residential and commercial marketplace, so what is an end-user to do?

There are countless engineered wood flooring manufacturers but a few questions a potential customer should ask include:

  • How will the product perform in our unique climate?
  • Has the manufacturer tested its flooring to see how it will perform in low humidity environments, and what is the warranty?
  • What are the environmental conditions required by the manufacturer to be maintained at, and are those requirements realistic for your home? 
  • Are you willing to add supplemental humification to your structure to keep the relative humidity stable throughout each season?

Denver Hardwood/ FDG Commercial has been serving Colorado and the Mountain West for decades and we recognize the challenges of wood floors and we are constantly looking for products that are manufactured, tested and warranted to perform here. Kährs and Owens engineered wood flooring are two manufacturers that fit that bill. Both are uniquely manufactured to perform well in this dry climate, and both have a proven track record of success.

Kährs and Owens take additional steps to ensure successful installations in areas like the Rocky Mountain Region. Kährs provides a locking system that locks together not only the edges, but the ends as well, creating a unified, monolithic floor. Owens produces a thicker over-all product that resists cupping, splitting and shrinkage, allowing it to be installed below grade and even over radiant heat.

Here are some other features and benefits the Kährs brand of engineered flooring delivers:

  • Unique Woodloc system ensures that every side of the board is locked in place, which minimizes gaps and movement.
  • Kiln dried to 7% moisture content and packaged so it will not take on or give off moisture during storage and transport.
  • Tested to perform in very low humidity environments.
  • Long successful history of excellent performance in residential, commercial and multi-family applications in Colorado.
  • Requires NO job site acclimation so it will not slow the project down.
  • Perfect for floating or direct glue down applications over concrete sub-floors.
  • Warranted for radiant heat.
  • Broad price ranges, colors and surface treatments.
  • Lowest claim rate in the industry.

Owens Flooring focuses on several aspects of the manufacturing process to achieve a floor that can withstand very dry climates:

  • 100% water resistant adhesive coverage of wood layers
  • Use of exterior grade plywood substrate
  • Thicker wear layer.
  • Lifetime structural and 35 yr. wear, residential warranty
  • Will warrant down to 20% relative humidity

If you are thinking about wood flooring in your residential or commercial project, Denver Hardwood Company is the Kährs and Owens authorized distributor and stocks many of their lines in most colors. Denver Hardwood Company can also special-order non-stocking items to arrive within two weeks.

Check out these beautiful lines at Denver Hardwood Co.:

Kahrs Flooring Products LogoOwens Flooring - Engineered Wood Flooring Logo