Your floor will have a washboard appearance. While humidity level rises in summer, it is very low in the winter. Use narrower boards, more stable species of wood, quartersawn boards, or a combination of those features. 5 Tips to Prevent Hardwood Floor Cupping This Summer. Reichel offered these suggestions: Don't set your client up for automatic failure, or an extra unknown expense. Of course, the floor will need to be refinished. It has a rosin paper … Thermostats have a switch that lets you set the fan in the "ON" position. You donât have to worry about orienting the sander with the grain or gouging the floor as you would with a drum sander, and a built-in dust-collection system improves both safety and performance. As a consultant and author for the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA; www.woodfloors.org), Iâve made it my business to understand what causes all that damage. Cupping. Cupping. Debris on the floor surface or in the finish, such as this hair, is magnified when the floor finish is dry. RELATED: Can We Be Proactive in Preventing RH Problems for Wood Floors? WatchÂ video of Charles Peterson explaining the difference between the two types of metersÂ and when to use them. This same house, if located in Duluth, Minn., may not need any moisture removed during the summer because of the cooler, drier summer air. Top of the line everything — beautiful hardwood flooring, granite countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms, bay and bow windows, tile, appliances — you name it. Typically, when hardwood flooring is installed there should some allowance given for this movement. Beyond improper humidity levels in the crawlspace and basement, there are more potential causes for hardwood floor buckling. Click below to download a PDF of this article. I had 3/4 red oak select 4.1/4 floor installed in my new construction home in January. This is when the climate is either very hot and moist, … They also create a scratch pattern that promotes a much better adhesion between coats of finish. Why my hardwood floor is buckling. Especially when we keep the windows open, higher humidity can cause wood floors to swell up and close all the gaps between boards. If I canât get a kit, I proceed the same way as I would with regular flooring. When problems arise or when a floor fails, it can be costly. Your hardwood floor during the Humid Season During warm and humid summers, your hardwood floor will absorb moisture from the air, swelling and expanding as a result. I donât apply multiple coats of stain or let stain sit in an attempt to darken wood. Get complete site access to expert advice, how-to videos, Code Check, and more, plus the print magazine. Most often, cupping happens when flooring is installed over a wet basement or crawlspace. Accept some gaps. Hardwood floors buckle when the humidity levels in the lower levels of the house are too high in the crawlspace or basement,” explains the Basement Health Association in the article Negative Effects on Hardwood Floors. Failure to take proper preparation, insufficient nailing to the subfloor, installing in an uneven surface and poor quality … If I repair gaps when they are at their widest, I might not leave sufficient clearance between floorboards and create a floor that buckles when it expands. Wood is a porous material that expands and contracts naturally depending on the humidity levels in the air around it. Start your subscription today and save up to 52%. Go To The Pro Center. Primarily, wood flooring problems can occur when the wood expands and contracts. Sloppy sanding shows. Hardwood comes in many colors, … Cracking also can be caused by the manufacturer. But a few months go by after you move in and you start to notice the wood floor has large gaps between the boards, or it’s buckling in the center of your living room. The result can be distortion, cupping and buckling. someone inexperienced at floor sanding, and after having seen the results of professional and amateur results with belt and drum sanders, so I rented one at the local Home Depot, lucky for me they were wanting to sell the poor lonely, rarely used beast. Iâm careful to apply glue to only one side of the sliver so that I donât glue any boards together. Installing a wood floor requires a substantial investment in materials and labor. The outside dew point is the same, so the same amount of moisture needs to removed both morning and evening to maintain the same indoor RH. Simply abrading the floor and applying a new top coat might not fix the problem. - M.K. Finishes enhance the bad as much as the good. The floor needs to be flattened with a quality drum sander oriented at a slight angle to the boards; with a triplanetary sander, which has three orbiting heads; or with a buffer that has a hard-plate attachment. However, those who have hardwood floors that cup and buckle during the summer months definitely recognize the weather shift in and outside of their home. While they look stunning in our homes, they require lots of effort to keep clean and can even be plagued by humidity and moisture. But in some instances, wood floor buckling occurs because of installation issues, such as: Incorrect nailing … Buildings are commonly cooled with air conditioning (AC), making the inside temperature lower than outside (at least in the afternoon). During the summer, all wood floors tend to expand because wood reacts to moisture. This sander is aggressive enough to take down floorboards, yet gentle enough for light abrading between finish coats. Buckling is one of the most extreme reactions that can occur with your hardwood flooring. ... Buckling of Floor Boards. Kirk Dozek, owner at Kirk Dozek Wood Floors in St. Clair Shores, Mich., tried this new light. Some moisture-related problems are visible to the discerning eye. Ways to Prevent Vinyl Plank Buckling What can we do about it? This wood is softer and less durable than the slower late-season growth, where cells are stacked more densely. When controlling the humidity, it’s first important to know your wood floor type and what humidity level it likes. Fortunately, buckling is an uncommon occurrence, usually happening only after flood. I also strain the finish and pour it into an applicator tray that Iâve lined with an insideout garbage bag. At times, Iâve been able to recoat a slightly worn floor without sanding off all the old finish. We have a house built 2 years ago and we noticed a few areas that have a slight “hill” per say. It looks like the floor is buckling and it is occurring on both floors. Wood is a porous material that expands and contracts naturally depending on the humidity levels in the air around it. I replace the board, or I fill the crack with wood filler and apply a coat of finish over the entire floor so that colors, tones, and sheen match perfectly. The floor is always dry but cold in winter. Buckling happens when the floor pulls away from the subfloor, up to heights as high as several inches. When problems arise or when a floor fails, it can be costly. Using a worn sanding screen to sand between coats of finish can leave spiderweb-like defects in floor finish. PS, after a bit of research regarding a contemplated DIY floor refinishing project, I concluded the U-Sand sander might be the best option for me, ie. Hardwood floors can also buckle in excessively humid environments. On floors that are not sanded finely enough, the finish settles in the bottom of the sanding grooves, but the tops of the grooves are covered with little finish. Hardwood comes in many colors, styles and patterns. If you are lucky enough to live in one of these parts of the country, summer venting can help dry your house, but winter venting may really dry your house. Every year, an estimated $1 billion worth of hardwood-floor damage occurs across the country. If the dew point is above 60 degrees, venting will add moisture to your house. Even when sanded and finished properly, wood requires regular maintenance. At night, the air cools again, the humidity goes up and dew forms. Not all flooring needs to be acclimated, though. During the summer, even the most carefully installed wood floors tend to expand and sometimes cup or even buckle. Relative humidity that is too high may have health effects due to mold growth, dust mite infestations, as well as certain bacteria and viruses. Conversely, if you’ve ever experienced an arid climate like on top of a mountain or a desert in summer, you know that your throat feels dry and your skin can start to itch from dehydration. Good systems put close to 100% of their energy into removing moisture, and can handle up to around 6.5 pints per hour, every hour, regardless of mild weather or cool mornings when an AC won't run much. Not cleaning spills immediately can damage your hardwood floor. Some types of flooring, such as carpet or traditional hardwood, can be installed directly on top of the subfloor. This “wood movement” occurs naturally according to seasonal shifts or when ambient RH levels change in the home. Well I did after a few hours of getting a feel for the machine. It is a floating floor so not pinned or glued. Read more on how wood flooring responds to moisture. How to Fix Hardwood Floors That Are Lifting. When I inspected the floor one year after occupation, in spite of the extensive shrinkage and gapping, the average board still measured .015″ wider than the … Custom Home Floor Center . Fluctuation in humidity levels can affect hardwood floors. Gaps are an aesthetic issue and should be repaired when they disrupt the overall look of a floor, not when they measure a particular width. Browse For Experienced. Homes donât always have ideal humidity levels or temperatures. Once the indoor temperature is good, the AC shuts off. If the wood is dried too quickly in the kiln, it can crack. Cracks can appear with extreme moisture levels due to the pressure buildup from the wood panels expanding beyond the allowed … This provides extra room for floorboards to expand throughout the year. This is how an AC controls humidity. Basements: Since lots of surfaces in basements are cool, an AC won't run much. I sand bare boards to 100 grit or 120 grit, depending on the finish Iâm using. A Faster, More Durable Floor Finish – Portable UV equipment yields a fully cured finish in seconds, not days. It usually happens after water is left standing on the wood or if the floor’s exposed to high humidity over a long span. On a typical summer day, the dew point may be near 45°F in the Southwest, 55°F in the Northwest, 65°F in the Northeast, and in the upper 70s along the Gulf Coast. Fortunately, Iâve never seen irregular floorboards that couldnât be fixed. The problem generally occurs when a floor is being finished during the change between dry and humid seasons. Go back to the basics. Most hardwood floor manufacturers recommend a humidity level of around 35%. But in the morning we may only remove 1 pint per hour, because the AC isn't running much. ... I’ve replaced the carpet in one of our room with hardwood, about a year ago, which buckled up by the end of the summer this year. 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