Why is my hardwood flooring Buckling?
The simple answer is Moisture or Installation Error. Hardwood floor buckling MAY be very costly to repair if not addressed early on. Let’s talk about the reasons why and remedies.
The most common reason for buckling is lack of an adequate expansion gap around the perimeter of the floor. This can even mean small restrictions. For instance, if a floor is laid with adequate expansion all the way round the room but in one or two places it has no expansion gap, buckling can ensue.
A floating floor however, can be a different matter and can be rectified if caught in time. This would be carried out by cutting out the places where the floor is grounding (hitting a solid surface). If there’s no visible damage to the boards like cupping, crowning, lipping etc. and there’s simply a hump in the middle of your floor, it’s time to get to work with a multi-tool and/or plunge saw (One that the design allows the blade to go close to a wall)
It’s a simple part of any installation, leave an adequate expansion gap! However, we come across this problem more than we’d like, as fitters seem all too willing now a days to cut corners in an attempt to increase profits. A common story. If you have an installer in your home and want to check to see he knows what he is doing, check for expansion gaps. This is one of the easiest and quick visual checks.
The way expansion works, is generally to a ratio, a large room will need more expansion than a small room. In other words, when a wood floor is interlocked, you have to remember that each plank will expand when the room humidity increases. So, if you have 20 rows of flooring and each row expands on the width by ¼ in , this would mean the entire floor may expand by ¼ in (this is just an example and is not exact as different floor types and densities expand and contract at different rates. However, the ratio isn’t too far of the mark for most floors).
Now expansion rates will run in conjunction with air humidity and temperature. The measurements above relate to an average of a balanced temperature (approx 20-C) and an air humidity of between 45 – 55% being maintained. Occasionally you may find these fluctuate outside of normal conditions, maybe caused by an exceptionally heavy rain fall or leaky plumbing pipes etc. This will not always cause the floor to expand excessively, as mentioned, different floors react differently.
Fortunately, buckling is an uncommon occurrence, usually happening only after excessive rain. Buckling happens when the floor pulls away from the sub-floor, up to heights as high as 4 inches. Don’t worry, even in such cases it is still possible for hardwood flooring to be repaired rather than replaced. This moisture causes the wood to swell, crushing the boards together and deforming them at the edges. In order to repair your damaged hardwood flooring , the cause of the moisture needs to be controlled. To speed up the drying process, use a fan and re-coat your hardwood flooring.
#woodflooring #woodfloorbuckling #remodeling