Problems and Fixes

Hardwood floors are an excellent solution, bringing warmth and beauty to any home. Because hardwood floors are so versatile and durable, they are a popular choice. In addition, people who struggle with allergies or asthma often struggle because of pollutants found in carpeting. By using hardwood flooring, symptoms can be eliminated. However, as with anything, even top quality hardwood can experience problems. In this first part, we wanted to address three common problems known as cupping, crowning, and buckling.

Cupping

With cupping, the problem generally develops over time. The cause for cupping is associated with too much moisture in the wood. What happens is that the wood flooring being manufactured flat and installed flat. However, if moisture is more on the bottom piece of wood than it is on the top piece, you end up with moisture. Additionally, if wood is not delivered and allowed to rest on-site in a controlled environment, cupping could also occur.

The best way to correct this problem is to first, remove the moisture, which can be done with a humidifier and fan, or the use of a furnace blower and heat. Typically, once the floor dries out, cupping will correct itself. Therefore, you usually just need to let time pass in which the floor planks will return to their original flat position.

Crowning

Then, another problem is known as crowning in which case the center of a flooring piece is high while the edges are lower. The cause for this could also be too much moisture content but it could also be the result of the floor cupping. Other possible causes include sanding the wood pieces flat while the outer edges are removed or the wood being sanded during the wrong time of the process.

To correct crowning, you need to make sure the floor has been stabilized. For this, go through the process of removing moisture and then nail or staple any loose planks back in place. Next, you want to lightly, sand the surface finish, which will flatten out any ridges. Keep in mind that you will probably not get the floor perfect but the goal is to sand it as flat as you can where needed without sanding down to bare wood. From there, the floor would be cleaned off and refinished.

Buckling

Finally, buckling, which is also referred to as ballooning or tented floors is when pieces have lost contact with the subfloor. In most cases, moisture is the culprit. Again, use the same processes for removing excess moisture as the first step of the cure. However, you may also find buckling occurs because the wrong nails were used or the floor was not nailed in place properly. For this, you can generally fit the small areas of damage but if the problem is severe, you may need to replace entire planks.

As discussed in the first part of this article, we went over three common problems associated with hardwood floors to include cupping, crowning, and buckling. In this second part, we wanted to talk about other problems that can occur with hardwood flooring such as cracking, noise, and pet stains.

Cracking

First, when hardwood floors become too dry, they can begin to crack. Many times, this problem is simply associated with age. However, if you live in a dry region, then the lack of moisture in the air could cause premature cracking problems. In fact, if the floor has been flooded or exposed to significant moisture, what often happens is that the wood's edges become crushed, which then dries out and creates large cracks.

The best way to correct cracks in your hardwood floor is to start by making sure the environment has the appropriate level of moisture. If necessary, you may need to add a humidifier to the room. If the cracks are serious, then it may be that a professional can fill them in for you, which involves sanding, filling, and then refinishing. Otherwise, portions or planks may need to be replaced.

Squeaky Noise

Another common complaint heard by people who have hardwood floors is squeaky noise. In this case, nails have come loose or the floor was not nailed down properly from the beginning. The connection between the floor and subfloor is lost, causing the floor to move, thus the noise. The easiest fix for this type of problem is to add nails from the underside of the joists into the floor. If you cannot reach the joists, then try injecting powerful adhesive or perhaps using some type of lubricant.

Pet Stains

Then, pet stains can be disheartening. Of course, the first step is to work with the dog or cat, teaching him potty training rules. If you spot pet stains, you do have some options. For instance, if the stain is minor, use fine sandpaper to remove the surface finish. If the stain disappears, simple add a new protective coat. Now, if the stain is more serious, you might consider having some type of medallion or border design added to the floor to help hide it. If all else fails or the stain is too bad, then having the damaged area removed and replaced is about your only option.