Buckled Wood Floor - How To Fix The Problem?

May 20, 2014

Wood floor that is properly installed, maintained and cared for will look great for years and will hold its value for long. But changes in humidity and temperature can cause wood to contract and expand. That is when the real problems can begin. One of the most common problems related to excess moisture is called buckling – wood flooring gets separated from the subfloor (that is very often accompanied by cupping or swelling).


Causes of buckling floor

As I mentioned above the only culprit is always moisture caused by:

– Excessive job site moisture,

– A house that was left vacant without ventilation for an extended period,

– wet slab,

– drainage problem,

– leaking roof,

– Pipe leaks.

Factors that can aggravate wood floor buckling

– improper installation of nail-down floors (incorrect subfloor construction, inadequate nailing),

– insufficient or incorrect adhesive and subfloor contamination or separation for glue-down floors,

– Expansion gap left around the perimeter of the room that is not large enough. The expansion gap is an essential part of proper wood flooring installation. When the floor is installed, you have to remember that each plank can expand when the room humidity increases. If you have 20 rows of planks and each expands by 0.5-0.7mm this means that entire floor can expand by 10-14mm. These measurements apply to average temperature (ca. 20-22C) and humidity (40-45%), and you need to remember that different wood flooring species react differently.


Repairing buckled floor

First, you have to fix excessive moisture condition and allow the floor to dry to normal levels. Once the floor is dry, you can consider spot repairs and reinstallation as well as refinishing and renailing, but in most cases replacement of the damaged area is necessary. Buckling floor should be repaired at the first signs to help to avoid a major repair later and to prevent further damage.

Often, wood floors that are bulged can dry out and return to their reasonable condition on their own, especially laminated floors or parquets which have not been exposed to moisture too long. Towel up all the water you can, and allow to dry. Placing a space heater or a fan near the wet spot can speed the process. If the floor is permanently buckled or discoloured you have to pry up the area beyond the damage and go to wood flooring showroom to find a matching product to replace it. Tongue and groove solid wood flooring will have to be cut with a saw and chisel, and this requires considerable skill and proper tools, so consider calling a professional for this.

It’s worth mentioning that not all homes are automatically suitable to have a wood floor. This depends on many factors, and a proper assessment of the property should be carried out prior to purchasing your would floor. An ideal assessment would consist of monitoring the air and temperature over a number of days and taking readings prior to fitting your new wood floor.

If you have any further questions regarding wood flooring problems or you are looking for advice about the best wood flooring for your home, feel free to contact the ESB sales team. Contact us now to request your no hassle no obligation free samples or come down to our North London showroom for a closer look.

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