Common Hardwood Floor Problems
While hardwood flooring is an outstanding option, flooring that adds value to a home, provides cleaner air quality, is easy to maintain, and looks gorgeous, sometimes problems do arise. As you will discover in the two parts on common hardwood problems, there are reasons and many times solutions.
Also known as buckling or crowning, this results when an edge of a plank or strip is higher on the ends than it is in the center. The problem occurs from moisture imbalance. What happens is that the hardwood was manufactured flat and then installed. However, if the wood was not turned or allowed to acclimate to its new environment, moisture content could develop more on the bottom. Therefore, as the wood is installed, over time it will begin to cup. To help with cupping, you need to allow the floor time to get better alone. Once stabilized, the floor can be sanded flat and then finished.
Although some hardwood floors will develop cracks, anything abnormal that is unsightly, uneven, or creates noise is unwanted. In this case, as moisture declines, shrinkage in the wood occurs, which then results in cracks. Now, most cracks seen in hardwood are associated with seasons. This means in the cold winter months, the cracks will show but then during humid periods, the cracks disappear. The best thing you can do is to add moisture to the air in the dry months, which can be done with a humidifier.
These cracks in hardwood floors are usually localized and large. Most often, the problem is due to exposure to extreme moisture. One option to fix large cracks is to add insulation in between the heat ducts and subfloor to correct "hot spots." However, you might also try adding cross bracing under any weak area of the subfloor, elevate the air's humidity level, or fill the cracks with special filler that matches the color and grain of the hardwood species.
As you can imagine, walking on hardwood floors that squeak is annoying. This happens due to inadequate nailing, nails that went into particleboard used as subfloor material, or having a subfloor system that is weak and flexes. Other causes include insufficient or poor quality adhesive or excessive moisture and/or drying. For this, you can add face nails, inject adhesive, or lubricate the squeaks using baby powder, wax, or graphite material.
Usually, a rough appearance on hardwood floors is because of poor maintenance. In other words, you may find roughness caused by water not being cleaned up, a pet's toenails digging into the wood, not having protectors on the bottom of furniture legs, dirt and grit, and so on. For this, you need to make sure that in addition to sweeping, you use a soft bristle attachment on the vacuum cleaner. Then, make sure you add protectors to furniture, clip the pet's nails, and provide better care. Many times, the damaged area can be sanded down and finished, giving it a brand new appearance.
The most common reason for peeling and/or bubbling, is that liquid was spilled and not cleaned up. The good news is that this can be fixed relatively easy. All you need to do is gently sand the damaged area, wipe clean, and finish.
The obvious reason for pet stains is accidents that occur in the home. Usually, the stain will lessen over time and become lighter after sanding. However, if your pet continues to have accidents, they will eventually be unable to sand out. You might consider creating a motif or design on the stained area, if possible, use throw rugs, or you would need to have the damaged area removed and replaced.
Unfortunately, hardwood floors can become dented if something were dropped, from high heels, or even chairs without protected legs. The first step is to make sure you take measurements of protecting the floor, which might include adding throw rugs, not wearing shoes of any type that could cause denting, and adding protectors on furniture legs.
Typically, this problem occurs because the wood joist system is flawed. This may be due to a warped subfloor, broken or warped joists, settling of the home's foundation, or settling of the support pillars. For this, the substructure would need to be strengthened, which might be to add joists, repair, or add a different subfloor, and so on.