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Buckling Floor: Things You Should Know

Why does my floor buckle?

Wood floors change with seasons, humidity, and temperatures. This is why wooden floors are always designed with this consideration in mind. It is because your hardwood floor will not be pressed in all directions. You must leave enough room for expansion or contraction. Wood flooring will expand slowly if it is exposed to moisture. The floor might buckle if the expansion is too severe and the gap is closed.

How to determine hardwood floor damage?

Hardwood floors slow down moisture absorption. As each board absorbs more moisture, they begin to swell slowly. This is called cupping. The boards’ edges begin to rise and form a cup-shaped shape. Instead of appearing flat and smooth, your floor will appear wavey.

The floor will not only expand in thickness but it will also expand side-to-side as more moisture is absorbed. As the floor expands, the space between the wall and floor becomes smaller until there is not enough room for it to expand. This is when the floor will buckle. Because the boards are unable to expand sideways, they will be forced up. This is the final step to saving the floor.

Which Hardwood Floors Are At Risk From Water Damage?

All hardwood flooring will be damaged by water. Some flooring can still be saved, but others cannot.

Hardwood – A solid piece of wood is usually 3/4″ thick and is installed, finished, and sanded onsite. These floors are made of oak, maple and hickory woods, but can also be pine or another type of wood. They are the best at resisting water damage. Because they absorb water very slowly, and can be repaired if it is treated quickly enough.

Prefinished Solid Wood– These pre-finished hardwoods have been sanded and polished at the factory. They can resist water damage and are extremely durable. Their only drawback is the fact that their finish can make it more difficult to dry. Sometimes damage to the finish can be irreversible.

Engineered hardwood are made floors. The floor’s nature will depend on the materials that were used to make them. Water can affect them differently depending on what materials were used. These floors are sometimes called “waswood” by restaurateurs because although it used to be wood once, it’s now something completely different. They can be dried when engineered wood floors get damaged by water but they may have to be replaced when the finish becomes deteriorated.

Laminate floors are very susceptible to water damage. Their top layer, which is the finished layer of laminate floors, is very thin and will crack if they get wet. Many times the floor has a padding that acts as a barrier to keep water out. It is difficult to quickly remove water from the padding if it has been affected by water.

Luxury Vinyl Flooring is water-resistant. But it can be damaged. Water can cause damage to these floors. To remedy this, you should dry the subfloor and the vinyl plansks.

What Moisture Can Damage My Floors?

A flooding situation can quickly lead to moisture buildup on flooring. However, the floor will absorb excess moisture slowly over time. There are two main causes of moisture buildup in flooring:

  • Pipe leaks
  • Icemaker leaks
  • Dishwasher supply line
  • The floor was built on a subfloor.
  • Humidity increase
  • The lack of ventilation over a longer period of time allows humidity to increase.
  • Installation mistakes (not leaving enough room for expansion).

How to fix floor buckles or damage?

Drying hardwood floors can be a difficult and complex task. Water cannot be drained as slowly or as thoroughly as it is absorbed. You can’t dry hardwood floors using towels and a fan. It requires specialized drying equipment.

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