We noticed lately that we are seeing some strange dark lines that look like worms developing on many of the planks. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. The moisture content causes a change in the wood boards and as it absorbs the moisture, parts of the wood swell. I have come across the opinion that engineered wood is slightly more stable than solid wood, less expansion/contraction, (better for the climate I live in as well as my budget) would you agree? He says if they replace my flooring, the cupping is likely to happen again. In fact, you might even see spaces appear between boards during the winter. Minor cupping is not a problem and is something that you should even expect. Horizontal curvature on the wood floor. After much recent research, not knowing anything about hardwood floors prior to installation, I realize that they only allowed the flooring to acclimate in the boxes for 1/2 day. Do I take the safe route and replace with carpet or engineered flooring? We are sick over it as it is very noticeable. As you eagerly anticipate a successful installation, be aware that problems such as warping, buckling, cupping, and crowning can really ruin your floor and your dream. Cupping, (dry or wet) wood floors can be caused by humidity, lack of humidity, temp, & water. Now that its summer again, they’re badly cupped again. This causes hardwood flooring boards to lose MC and shrink. WE bought a 1970’s ranch home last year that had been rehabbed. We called the floor installer in and he was stumped. I am a warm weather and fresh air person so spring through summer I prefer doors and windows open, until the temperature gets into the upper 70s or the humidity gets oppressive then on goes the air conditioner. Hi Jason, My father and I returned to our house from our cottage to find the kitchen flooded, and below that the furnace room too. Thanks. Thanks! Good luck. The floors are 23 years old. This was a wood floor cupping at the time of sanding. In some cases, flooring may be sanded down to flat again if the wood boards do not get that way on their own. Here’s how that happens…. I have no pipes that could have caused this. This occurs when a cupped floor is sanded prior to obtaining the proper moisture level for the environment in which it is installed. With that, some of the cupping may “fix” itself as the floor starts release the moisture. Doing this may pretty much solve the problem. He knew that in the winter his floor would shrink and there were gaps between boards and in the summer those gaps would be gone. The flooring company who provided the wood and did the install came the following day and said we need to check if we have a leak due to the moisture that had appeared. Completed in January. Causes: Crowning results from an imbalance of moisture between the top and bottom surfaces of the flooring boards, wherein the wood moisture in the bottom section is lower than the wood moisture in the top section of the boards. There are sprinkler valves outside of the bedroom about 4 feet from the corner where the wetness is. Thank you. It depends on the extent of the damage. This winter I was going to install all new flooring, after looking at laminate and plank vinyl which look to fake for me decided on expanding budget to wood and have fallen in love with Acacia wood. My opinion is that ANY product installed appropriately and with realistic expectations will perform appropriately. Thank you for reminding me that doing preventative measures is better than cure even when it comes to flooring. Like cupping and buckling, crowning is a defect a wood floor can develop when exposed to moisture. Hire only an NWFA certified inspector. I left expansion gaps in the entire floor, but it is possible that I missed this one board. Thanks for the questions. We have just bought a home, and after taking a hot shower, our wood floor in the kitchen is crowning in one area. What do we do? If you continue using our site you consent to our cookies. I have a newly installed oak variable plank wood floor installed throughout my home on the first floor. The answer is maybe, but I would guess it will never be complete as it was originally. Thank you for your time. Buckling. (EMC The moisture content of wood below the fiber saturation point is a function of both relative humidity and temperature in the surrounding air. Good luck. The boards may “relax” if the situation is remedied and the cupping isn’t too severe. © 2014 Flooristics, LLC. These can all influence how an installed floorboard performs when it changes MC. So my husband opened up the window seat of the bay window. We’re seeing some fine lines around our flooring and we have observed that there are parts that extend up to our walls. It’s just something that happens as the seasons and RH change. The moisture content above the hardwood is higher than the moisture below the hardwood (i.e. We also insulated the underneath of our house. https://www.thespruce.com/steam-cleaning-hardwood-floors-1314829 Good luck. The moisture level was measured and the wood was left to acclimate in the house well before install. 2 pieces have swelled to the point where the gap between has elevated the edges to almost 45 degrees. During any dry season, cracks can easily develop to the thickness of a dime on a typical solid 2 1/4″ oak floor. The installers told me to wait to see if they uncupped during the winter, which they did. Thanks for the question. There is a hard pan and the rain will wick under the house, I assume. Could this have been an installation issue? Sometimes on flat sawn flooring boards (as opposed to quarter sawn), there can be differences in tangential and radial moisture movement, which, when there is a change in the moisture content of the flooring, can cause crowning or cupping. How our 950 moisture meter works is it has a hygrometer built in to read temp, humidity, and calculates your the EMC (Equilibrium Moisture Content) of what your wood floor should be. Good luck. The answer is maybe. Thanks for the question. I have had a leak in the bathroom toliet, valve went drips spread into carpet and under floor boards. Here is a product that will log those conditions over time and allow you to quantify the variations if there are any https://www.wagnermeters.com/shop/smart-logger/. and has now caused the cupping… Since I can’t determine a source for a water leak… I live in an apartment, should I place Or does it have to be replaced ? Will I need to remove linoleum for it to be able to dry out? Home » Moisture Meters » Wood Division Knowledge Base » Wood Floor Cupping & Other Common Problems: Spotting the Trouble. If I had to guess though, by insulating the underneath and installing the plank on top, you have altered the woods “normal” environment from the last 70 years and created an assembly where the moisture may have a harder time equilibrating and the wood may not “relax” completely. We touched on this above. When the moisture content is higher underneath the board than it is on the face, the crowning and cupping will take place. In this case, drying work in the lower level of the home dried the wood flooring’s subfloor, and the radiant heat also lowered the RH in the joist spaces, causing the flooring to … These changes are usually gradual, and short-term fluctuations tend to only influence the surface of the wood flooring. It depends on how dry the air in the house is and the air movement across the affected area. The ground (dirt) under the house is usually moist in the winter along the exterior home’s foundation from rain. Crowning can also be caused by previous floor cupping. Some would probably not even know they were integrated into the system. I do see that a wooden drawer in a piece of furniture has swelled since the winter and now won’t close. The original flooring is oak which we recently covered with covered with vinyl planks. When you turn up the heat in the winter, the RH level inside your home decreases. When you turn off your heat in the spring and open the windows your hardwood flooring boards will begin to expand again. Karen. The underneath of the wood that had risen was wet with moisture/condensation. That seems reasonable to me, right? Place mats under areas that are susceptible to water spills such as underneath a pet bowl or next to the sink. This may have an impact on the hardwood installed above. I dug it all up and it is dry around the sprinklers and along the 3/4″ PVC line that goes past the bedroom closet in question. I have no other signs of water and there is no water in the attic that could be coming down the walls. Suggestions. I’m very sorry to hear about your issues with your wood floor. Wood is hygroscopic, so it gains or loses moisture in your home seasonally. These changes can also present a less-than-desirable change in the appearance of your wood flooring. All owners of wood floors should invest in a high-quality wood moisture meter. What Causes Hardwood Floor to Buckle & Other Problems Such as Cupping, Crowning & Lifting Up? However, those gaps will probably close naturally during the spring. Also, can you seal in moisture that wil cause cupping later? never a problem. You can find one at https://www.woodfloors.org/certified-inspector.aspx Good luck. We are not there all of the time and are wondering if you know of any whole house humidifiers that could be programmed remotely to keep the humidity at a decent, consistent level while we’re away. Crowning, like buckling and peaking, occurs when a floorboard is higher in the center than it is on the edges. Thanks for the question. water spilled on my wooden floor and i have minor cupping as a result. Moisture – Moisture, and even humidity, can cause wood to expand and contract. If you had access to that area under the house and could place a device like the Smart Logger, you could log the conditions to have a better idea of what was happening. What happens when that moisture releases from the floor and it returns to its original state? How long does it take for the floor to dry out? Within about a month of installation, the floor cupped, just about every plank throughout the entire floor. The humidity in the house ranges from 45-60. As far as removing the linoleum, it will be much easier to dry out the subfloor and/or determine the extent of the damage without the linoleum. He said there is nothing we can do about it. Box 91171 And finally, our SmartLogger will allow you to measure and monitor the humidity in the surrounding air to make sure your ambient environment isn’t the culprit. https://www.wagnermeters.com/shop/smart-logger/, https://www.thespruce.com/steam-cleaning-hardwood-floors-1314829, https://www.woodfloors.org/certified-inspector.aspx, Hardwood Flooring Installation and the Tools You Need to Know, Understanding a Squeaky Floor and How to Fix Them, The Art, Economy, and Perils of Reclaimed Wood Flooring. Hi – 2 weeks ago our solid oak floor warped severely – there was no inclination it was going to happen, we went to work in the morning and by the time we got home in the evening it had warped up by a good couple of centimeters. In other words, water is introduced to the bottom of dry flooring boards. Anything is possible, but this wouldn’t be anything I have heard about. Thanks for the question and sorry for the problems. Scott. Probable Causes: Outside of normal changes in the humidity levels during seasonal changes, moisture can remain underneath the floor or on top of the planks without the homeowner necessarily being aware that it’s happening. I am sure my answer to your question won’t be exactly what you are looking for, but here it goes….it depends! This is because prior to any installation, the wood must reach its ‘equilibrium moisture content’ or EMC. Old flooring was placed over plywood that was placed on concrete. Hello- need advice! The bottom line is that moisture is the cause for crowning and cupping in wood flooring, and getting rid of the moisture is the proper way to get the wood flooring to stay flat and true. I realize I am asking for a lot of The ideal average moisture content for flooring installation can range from extremes of 4-13% depending on many variables, including geographic location and time of year. Had it inspected and there we minor issues with the house (accept for the roof) so we budgeted for it. Assuming he has tested the concrete and the wood he would determine if the concrete and wood can live in the conditions given. is OK… I am wondering if somehow the floor guys spilled stain which seeped down through the cracks separating the parquets If the floor is sanded while the boards are still cupped, the sanding process will sand off only the raised edges of the boards. After a few weeks we noticed the new boards have cuped. Cupping in hardwood floors is caused by changes in moisture levels, whether decreases in the air RH above or increases in moisture from below. We can have damp and humid to very drying conditions in our homes with the changing seasons. The floor was fixed after the that. Other causes of hardwood floor cupping could include situations such as basement plumbing leaks that allow moisture to migrate up into the subfloor and into the wood flooring or the heat from a wood stove that drys out the air in the environment. Keep in mind, many humidification/dehumidification solutions are integrated into the HVAC systems within houses. Depending on the environmental situation, you can have seasonal fluctuations in floors. Can the boards go back to normal if we find the source of the moisture and let it dry? The contractor glued them down according to the specifications. HE said he knew he cured the floor enough so that could be the problem. A big spill could have taken place on the floor that was left unattended or not cleaned up after in a proper manner. I would recommend you look for a home inspector at https://www.homeinspector.org/ that is in your area that can help diagnose the issue. I cut the board back as I was checking the area for any small leaks in the plumbing. Thanks for the question. I personally wouldn’t install the hardwood until the environment below is back to where it will be once the remodel is complete. Buckling of hardwood floors occurs when the wood actually pulls away from its subfloor lifting up to several inches in one or more places. You question other people not having dehumidifiers and having no issues. Here are a few questions I hope you will share some experience or opinion about with me. Since then we have noticed cupping of the original wood flooring. We also did some cosmetics work including replacing the worming veneered wood floor with hardwood that matched the white oak in the bedrooms. So, expansion and contraction of hardwood flooring are normal. We removed plaster lath from the first floor. Unfortunately she didn’t get to explain. I have a closet with Cedar flooring. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend this for everyone, but it gives a drastic example of what you speak. There was no pool of water or damp patch. Floor spongy at other locations. First, I would want to know why the boards cupped and do what I could to remedy the situation. The Rapid RH will test if concrete, an Orion moisture meter if wood-based. After reviewing your comments and looking into causes, problems, and cures, it all seems to come down to one thing: Moisture. Thank you so much Jason. Thanks for the questions. The sub floor 2X6 tongue and grooves are dry as well. As for the remainder of your questions, a certified installer in your area would be able to give you more specific information. Whether it’s a building, a wood floor, or another type of wood product, if you want to maintain the value of your investment, you’ll need to spot moisture problems before they occur. No qualified and experienced contractor would ever install a wood floor without a moisture meter. This can happen when wood flooring is installed over a wet subfloor, but high relative humidity can also be the cause. When it comes to wood, almost every type of flooring endures some expansion and contraction as seasons and humidity levels change. We are considering hardwood (ash) flooring for a mountain home where there is very low humidity, especially in the winter. I am happy to go over our meters with you upon your request. When there is an excessive amount of moisture and humidity in the air, and you’re not controlling the environment your wood flooring is in, the wood reacts to the elevated moisture by crowning. It’s a moisture problem of some sort. It was installed by a professional. The plaster dust obviously dries the air. Who would I call to help us determine what is causing this? Thanks for the question and sorry to hear about the troubles. Trying to figure out the cause. The kitchen area is in the center of the home and was a complete renovation. AprilAire: https://www.aprilaire.com/. This results in a slight bow, or raised portion of the floor, where two pieces are joined together. All summer we have had no rain (this is California) and I have wetness on the cedar flooring right now but only in one isolated area about 2’X2′. In your situation, exterior drainage may be an issue. These spaces are to be expected and usually close up when moisture returns to the air. All rights reserved. Jason has 20+ years’ experience in sales and sales management in a spectrum of industries and has successfully launched a variety of products to the market, including the original Rapid RH® concrete moisture tests. Special equipment that creates low humidity, air movement and heat can help. I trust this guy, he has rave reviews and he has done hundreds of floors in our area. During our first heating season, we have seen some gaps in the wood as you described. Outside the window on the bottoms is a stone facade which was pulling away from the porch in the spot where the porch is sinking so my husband air I think out with fans and injected spray insulation with a wood trio and then sealed it with rubber cement caulk to get us through the winter. Being very simplistic in my explanation, the moisture content of the bamboo has changed since installation. what should i do to fix issue? We are their 4 months, I noticed the cupping right away, my builder said that the wood was tested for moisture and passed. September 23, 2016 by Flooristics staff Leave a Comment. In fact, commercial property owners and homeowners should never stop monitoring the MC of their hardwood flooring if they wish to keep it pristine, beautiful, and flat. A cupped floor needs ample time to dry. Everyone who owns a wood floor should use a moisture meter on a regular basis to identify moisture changes that can lead to cupping. 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