Floor Buckling: Why It’s Happening

Why Does My Floor Buckle?

Wood floors contract and expand throughout the year depending on the weather, temperature, and humidity. This factor is considered when a wooden floor has been installed. Your hardwood floor should not be squeezed in every corner of your room. To allow for expansion and contract, there must be enough space. Wood flooring can absorb moisture from water damage and high humidity. This will cause it to slowly expand. If the floor expands beyond a certain point and the gap is not closed, it may buckle.

What is the best way to identify hardwood floor damage?

Hardwood floors are slow at absorbing moisture. As individual boards absorb more moisture, they slowly swell. You can see this swelling as “cupping”: the edges of each board start to rise, creating a U-shaped “cup”. Your floor will no longer appear flat and smooth, but it will look wavy.

As moisture is absorbed more, your floor will continue to grow in thickness. Your floor will also expand from side to side. As this happens, the space between the floor’s surface and the wall shrinks until the floor can no longer expand. Then buckling will start. They will have to be forced up because the boards can no longer expand sideways. The floor cannot be saved once it happens.

What Hardwood Floors Can Be Damaged By Water?

Hardwood flooring can be damaged by water. Some floors can be saved if damage is quickly repaired.

Solid Hardwood is a single piece, typically 3/4 inch thick, of wood that is installed, sanded, then finished onsite. These floors can be made from oak, maple, hickory or pine, or any other type of wood. They are the most resistant to damage from water because they absorb water very slowly. If the damage is repaired quickly, it can be restored.

Pre-Finished Solid Wood – This pre-finished hardwood has already been sanded, finished and shipped to you. They are more resistant to water damage than solid hardwood and have a durable finish. They can sometimes be very difficult to dry due to their finish. Sometimes, the damage is irreversible.

Engineered Wood – These are manufactured floors whose nature depends on the materials used. The materials used will have different effects on how water affects them. These floors are called “was wooden” by some because they were once made of wood. However, the materials used today are different. If engineered wood floors become damaged by water, they can be dried but it is possible for the floor to be ruined and needs to have its finish replaced.

Laminate Floors These floors are easily damaged by water. Their top layer (the finished layer) is extremely thin and will warp if it is over-wetted. There is often a padding or plastic barrier that protects the floor. This padding can be damaged by water and must be removed immediately.

Luxury Vinyl Floor – This flooring is highly resistant to water damage. It can be damaged, but it is extremely resistant to water damage. If water gets on these floors, it is best to dry them, dry the subfloor, and then reinstall the vinyl planks.

What kind of Moisture could Damage my Floors?

Flooring can become moist quickly from flooding or gradually as it absorbs moisture. These are the main causes:

  • Pipe leaks
  • Icemaker leaks
  • Dishwasher supply lines
  • The floor was placed on a subfloor that was still wet.
  • Humidity buildup
  • Insufficient ventilation over a long time can cause humidity to rise.
  • Failure to correct installation errors and allow for expansion

What can I do to fix floor buckling or damage?

Hardwood floors drying is a complex and time-consuming task. It is possible to only remove water as slowly and as quickly as it absorbs. It is not possible to dry hardwood floors with towels and a fan. Special drying equipment is required for this job.

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