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Best flooring options for humid climates

The dog days of summer have arrived. These are some of the muggiest, stickiest days of the season. And the humidity is so dense that you can practically touch it; high humidity means that there is a lot of water content in the air. As a homeowner, consider how all that extra moisture can affect your floors. 

If you live in a humid climate, having the right flooring is a must. Fortunately, you have plenty of options! Let’s take a look:

Vinyl

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Adore Floors

Vinyl flooring has a shelf-life of 10 to 20 years — longer, even, if you opt for a high-quality, commercial-grade product. These floors are synthetic, and are both water and stain-resistant.

We love vinyl because its design options are limitless, yet it’s still incredibly durable. Since vinyl is a petroleum-based product made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and other additives, it may emit harmful volatile organic compounds (VOC). We suggest using vinyl that is Floorscore certified for an environmentally friendly option.

If you live in a humid climate and are thinking about vinyl floors, you have a couple of options:

Luxury vinyl

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Shaw Floors

Luxury vinyl comes in either plank or tile format, and uses realistic photo-generated imagery made to resemble real hardwood or stone. Expect dependable, picture-perfect floors when you purchase luxury vinyl.

You can find either flexible luxury vinyl or rigid luxury vinyl. Flexible glue-down products are great for humid climates, as well as rooms where heavy furniture or high traffic are an issue. Rigid vinyl includes a solid core that makes it dimensionally stable, meaning it won’t shift. This is also a great choice for rooms where humidity or temperature fluctuations are an issue. These floors are generally installed using a locking system, which can make it a great DIY option for more experienced homeowners.

Sheet vinyl

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IVC

When it comes to waterproof flooring, sheet vinyl is a top choice. Sheet vinyl is large, continuous sheets of vinyl rather than small tiles that cover a lot of square footage. Its format also means there are fewer seams, making it harder for water to seep into the subfloor. Glue-down sheet vinyl is also a great choice for humid climates, since it won’t shift or curl with moisture fluctuations.

In addition to offering great natural visuals — especially natural stone, in our opinion — sheet vinyl also offers unique, funky patterns, such as geometrics and encaustics that aren’t generally available in luxury vinyl flooring.

Porcelain tile

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Daltile

Porcelain is a human-made ceramic tile that withstands humid climates very well. It has a low absorption rate of 0.5 percent, making it essentially waterproof. However, porcelain tiles can be slippery when wet. We recommend that you shop for tile slip-resistant treatments or choose a rougher surface porcelain tile.

Thanks to inkjet printing, porcelain tiles can resemble hardwood or other natural stone. Porcelain tiles are strong and when properly maintained, can last in your home for decades.

In addition to withstanding temperature changes and humidity with ease, tile floors are also great for keeping your home cool. If you live in a place that’s both hot and humid, tile floors are a no-brainer!

Laminate

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Mannington

First things first — laminate flooring is generally not waterproof. So if you’re looking for new floors for a full bathroom, this is not your product. However, if you just live in a humid climate and are looking for budget-friendly, durable floors for your living room, dining room, or hallway, laminate flooring might be your answer.

Look for high-pressure laminate floors, which are made with a special type of glue that minimizes moisture absorption.

Engineered hardwood

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Ribadao

Maybe you’re one of those people who won’t settle for anything less than true hardwood. While wood and water don’t mix, engineered hardwood is a relatively safe choice for humid climates.

Solid hardwood is prone to expanding in humid climates — we’ve all experienced a door stick on a particularly rainy or damp day. The slightest bit of moisture can cause discoloration and cracks.

With engineered hardwood, you get the beauty of solid hardwood floors without the headache. Its construction, which features multiple layers positioned in different directions, make it less susceptible to expansion and contraction. This allows it to work in rooms where humidity — but not excessive moisture, like from a bathtub or shower — might be a factor. Bedrooms, living rooms, and kitchens are all great places for engineered hardwood.

When properly maintained, engineered hardwood will last for decades.

Linoleum

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If you’re looking for a unique, environmentally-friendly floor, linoleum may be just right for you. Linoleum floors do a great job of producing one vivid floor color, rather than creating images that resemble natural products.

Not to be confused with sheet vinyl, linoleum consists of biodegradable materials like linseed oil and pine resin, making it an environmentally friendly choice. Linoleum is porous, so make sure you choose a product that’s been cured with a UV finish — especially if it’s going in a high-humidity area.

This finish generally lasts five to eight years, so it will need to be re-sealed with . Linoleum floors may not be the most low-maintenance, but for some people — especially the sustainably-minded — it’s the perfect fit.

About The Author

Brit Yeager

Brit Yeager is a freelance writer with a degree in News-Editorial Journalism with an emphasis in English Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She previously worked for the Yoga Journal magazine, primarily writing the beauty and style pages, and is working on her first novel.

Show Comments (1)
  1. Very informative! We live in a humid climate (Atlanta, GA) and I did not know how much it could affect my flooring choices. Thank you!!

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