Some of our clients come to us with ideas for very cool water features they want to have in their home. We’ve seen water walls, fountains, ponds and all kinds of cool ideas.
While these are certainly unique and a great focal point, they do require more planning and damage control than a dry statement piece.
Living in a dry climate like we do here in Colorado, it’s hard for us to wrap our minds around how much humidity can change the materials in a home. With more water in the air, wood expands and changes shape, if there’s too much moisture, it could cause condensation or even mold to grow.
Even after wood is harvested, its still a living & breathing entity which means that, each year, with humidity fluctuations with seasons, the wood expands and contracts. This is true in cabinets, flooring, furniture, etc. When this happens, it makes a POP and a splitting noise.
Hardwood floors are a very popular choice for home owners and currently the trend is for wider plank floors rather than the narrow planks of the 80s and 90s. In the winter, planks as wide as 4-5” shrink so much that you can fit a quarter between them but in the spring time, they’ll be as tight as they were the day they were installed.
Engineered hardwood floors are a more durable option and they are especially better for homeowners who prefer that wider plank appearance. Engineered hardwood is more eco friendly at ⅛-1/16th inch of the desired wood (rather than 3/4 inch and solid wood all the way through) and also have more structural integrity because of the plywood beneath it. The plywood going opposite directions helps maintain the shape of the wood in humid climates.
These side affects of fluctuating humidity don’t mean that you can’t have your water feature. Bringing moisture into the air, especially in dry climates, is important but it does need to be regulated for the longevity of your wood pieces.
There are a few ways you can protect your home from too much moisture in the air:
High humidity can be counteracted by installing a dehumidifier on your furnace or enclosing a water wall in glass. The latter option is called a bubble wall – basically a waterfall encased in glass/acrylic. It can help reduce the moisture in the air although it still will add some humidity in the home.
Also, when considering a water feature for the home, don’t forget to consider how you’ll maintain and clean the feature (filters, etc).
If you’re thinking about having a unique, water focal point in your home, reach out and let’s talk! We can help you design it in such a way that you’ll be protected and everyone will be able to enjoy the artistic element for years to come.