Dealing With Buckled Wood Floors
With the amount of money you spent on your wood floor, you don’t want to see it getting damaged or wearing out prematurely. While wood flooring is actually highly durable, proper maintenance measures need to be carried out to protect it from unwanted damage. One of the common problems witnessed with wood floor is buckling. Let’s take a deeper look into what this entails.
What Is Buckling?
Are there sections of your wood floor that resemble small mountains? Buckling occurs when the floor becomes uneven, with bumps being formed due to the rising of the floorboards.
Why Do Wood Floors Buckle?
As your floor installer is likely to have mentioned, wood will contract and expand, reacting to the surrounding environmental conditions. Buckling kicks in when these seasonal chances are so severe that they cause permanent deformities with the wood floor, preventing it from reverting back to its initial shape.
Buckling is usually due to the environmental factors, or the floor was poorly installed in the first place.
Environmental factors include:
– High humidity
In a humid environment, wood floors will absorb moisture from the indoor airspace. This is normal. However, in regions of particularly high humidity, then buckling will be common. The wood takes in too much moisture and buckles. Here, investing in a dehumidifier and ensuring that there is proper ventilation in the space will be key to protect your wood floor.
This includes water that is on the surface, and that which is from under the wood floor. Leaking appliances, a flooding incidence such as a result of a broken pipe or clogged toilet, or even moisture from the concrete subfloor – all these can cause the floor to buckle. For instance, when the location is at a terrain where there is slow runoff, the accumulation of water at the foundation of the building can cause moisture to rise through the building structure, and get to the wood floor, Here the tissues of the floorboards needed to accumulate the excess moisture, causing them to swell. After a flooding incidence there is an urgency of drying up the floor, since more water will be absorbed by the planks, causing them to expand and move upwards, resulting in buckling.
Oversights During Installation
For the installation blunders, these can the installation likes of failing to allow the cement subfloor to dry properly before installing the wood planks on top of it. That moisture will be readily soaked in by the wood tissue, resulting in expansion. Then there are cases where the expansion gaps that were provided when installing the floor were not sufficient enough. The expanding planks will crash into each other, and there will be buckling.
Improper acclimation, or completely overlooking this before installation, is also detrimental to your wood floor. Acclimation is needed to allow the planks to adapt and attain stability to the average temperature and humidity conditions of the space in which they are to be installed. Basically, the floorboards are simply placed in the room where they are to be installed, and allowed to stay there for a set duration, such as two weeks. That way they can adjust to the condition of the area, and after they are installed, the expansion or contraction that will occur will not be extreme. Failing to allow for the acclimation by rushing the installation process will lead to your flooring being ruined.
Avoiding Buckled Flooring
The routine care and maintenance measures can protect your floor from buckling. Here are tips on counter the moisture building up, and also preventing other kinds of damage to the floor.
- Wipe up spills as soon as possible. Given that the wood will readily absorb the spillage instead of actually drying, and the trapped moisture can build up over time, it will be prudent to clean up the spills, and this will also prevent mould from growing between the planks and the subfloor.
- Routinely inspect leakage hotspots. This includes the area that’s around the dishwasher, sinks, and washing machines. Ensure that there aren’t leaks which could be saturating the floorboards underneath with moisture. A sump pump comes in handy here, or a dehumidifier, that will help in keeping the area dry.
- Refinish the floor when the existing coats wear down. Here, a floor sanding is carried out, and fresh new treatments are applied. Ensure that the right procedures are followed, including allowing sufficient drying time in between the coats being applied, as well as the light floor sanding with high grits to smooth the coats before the subsequent ones are applied.
- Use minimal water when mopping your wood floor. A damp mop will suffice. In addition, stick to cleaning solutions that have been developed for use on wood floors.
You want to ensure that your installation is in safe hands, not watch it get destroyed during the home improvement projects. From the floor sanding process to the refinishing, hiring a professional will ensure that you get quality results at the end of the process, and also save you from the headache that would have ensued had you taken it on as a DIY project. Floor restoration projects are cumbersome, and require high powered equipment and proficiency to get them done right. A simple oversight can result in your installation getting damaged, or low quality results that end up requiring the process to be repeated. For instance, grinding away too much of the wood during the floor sanding weakens its structural integrity, and also reduces the number of times that the installation can be restored in future. On the other hand, failing to properly sand off the existing finish will cause the new treatments to be applied not to bond strongly with the wood surface, leading to issues like peeling off of the coats. The professionals also come with systems like dustless floor sanding machinery, which is particularly handy in avoiding the mess that is typically associated with such jobs. This reduces the burden on you as the homeowner, and also speeds up the restoration project.