Sand and sun are wonderful to get a suntan, but can play havoc on hardwood flooring. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when you’re planning to install hardwood floors in a beach house that can’t help but have a few grains of jagged edged sand and moisture.
Polyurethane finish is a wonderful option. But if that finish is oil-modified, they tend to turn an amber color over time with exposure to direct UV rays. Another option is water based hardwood floor finish, or a UV-cured finish. Another option is a European hardening oil. This style of penetrating oil, like Castle Penetrating Oil #216 will be durable and show scratches less than the typical urethane or film forming finishes.
Solid versus Engineered? Because of humidity fluctuations in the summer, it might be best to install engineered flooring. Engineered flooring is less likely than solid flooring to cup or split when the humidity rises. To make sure that the floors hold up to the humidity, we suggest that you use a hygrometer to monitor the moisture levels in your home. We suggest that you choose a relatively hard species, especially if you have kids and/or pets.
If you prefer an on site-finished, solid hardwood floors to engineered flooring, opt for a dimensionally stable species like American cherry or Douglas fir, and opt for rift and quarter sawn cuts. Be aware, however, that certain relatively stable species have a low Janka hardness rating, which can subject the floors to more damage.
If your beach house is in a place where the humidity rises considerably during the summer, you might have to choose stability over hardness. Select quarter sawn flooring over plain sawn, as quarter sawn is more dimensionally stable.
Unless you’re going to install engineered floors or rift and quartered material, you probably want to stay away from wide planks, which are more susceptible to moisture-related movement than planks that are narrower than 5”.
With some forethought you can have sun, the sand the floor you’ve always wanted.