"Washboard". Across the width of one piece of the flooring material, the edges
are high, the center is lower. Generally develops gradually.
Moisture imbalance through the thickness is the only cause. The material was
manufactured flat and was flat when installed. Job site or occupant provided
moisture is greater on the bottom of the piece than on the top. Prove it with
your moisture meter. Find the source of moisture and eliminate it.
Allow time for the corrections to take effect - to permit the floor to improve
on its own. It may become acceptable . After stabilized,
flat and finish.
CROWNING: the center of the piece of
flooring (across its width) is high, the edges are lower.
While moisture imbalance might be the cause (by excessive moisture introduced on
the finish side of the floor; i.e. water used in maintenance, plumbing leaks
overhead sprinkler system), it is more likely that the floor was cupped and sanded flat thus removing the outer edges, the sanding having been done
at the wrong time, i.e., before corrections were made and before the floor
flattened on its own.
After the floor has stabilized following corrections, sand flat and finish.
Note: Some slight cup and/or crown can and should be tolerated. It is common in
wood floors, especially in wider planks. It is, in many cases, seasonal in its
occurrence and can be minimized with lighting and furniture placement, by using
beveled products and by other than
high gloss finish.
BUCKLING: tented, ballooning floors. pieces of the flooring are no longer
in contact with the substrate.
Generally an extreme moisture problem. adequate expansion space, even "net fit" (installer error)
prevents normal expansion. On nailed products, insufficient nailing, incorrect
nails, incorrect sub floor construction. On glue down product, incorrect mastic,
insufficient mastic, wrong trowel used, inadequate mastic transfer, sub floor
separation, sub floor contamination.
If caught early,
spot repair/replacement may be possible. In many cases,
however, pull, correct, and relay/replace is more practical.
LOOSE SQUEAKY FLOOR:
Inadequate nailing, flexing weak sub floor system, nailed over particle board
type sub floor. Check sub floor thickness and joist direction. Insufficient or
incorrect adhesive. Subjected to excess moisture, excessive drying.
Add face nails, counter-sink & putty. Strengthen sub floor from below. Inject
adhesive or pull-add-relay. Lubricate squeaks with graphite, wax, baby powder.
Wedge sub floor up from joists.
Wood joist system - sub floor warped and loose, joists warped or fractured,
support pillars settled, perimeter foundation settlement.
Concrete slab system - slab cracked and settled.
Correct, strengthen substructure, repair sub floor, splice joists, add joists.
Structural, failure is not the wood floor contractors domain usually. A general contractor
should make the repairs prior to hardwood floor corrections.
FINISH WEAR: scratches, traffic patterns
Improper maintenance, grit, water, strong soaps, pet toenails, chair legs.
Correct maintenance, especially vacuum, not just broom sweep. Clip pet's nails,
felt chair leg glides, appropriate exterior walk-off mats to prevent grit, area
rugs especially in front of kitchen sinks.
Stain not dry. Excessive burnishing. Early coats not dry. Skipped screening
between coats. Product incompatibility. Stain not sufficiently wiped leaving
heavy pigment on surface (is finish peeling from finish or wood?), improper
tack. Surface contaminated such as wax, oil soap maintenance.
If de-lamination from wood surface,
sand and refinish. If surface only, screen
CAUSE: We all know the cause!
For the most part minor pet stains will lessen or get lighter with sanding.
Repeated stains (the darker the deeper is the rule) will not sand out. Several
consideration must be given.
1: Will the floors be
refinished? If so, a light or medium colored
stain can be use to help cover or lessen the stains. Sometimes a painted design
on the floor will cover the stains, or the use of area carpets over those stained areas.
and repair will give BEST results.
High heels. Dropped heavy objects, metal tips on furniture legs. Unprotected
rolling of heavy appliances such as refrigerator or freezer.
Remove high heels or maintain proper heel-tip protectors. Provide large felt or
rubber protectors under heavy furniture legs. Roll heavy casters over plywood
protection only. For individual dents where wood fibers are not broken, cover
with a dampened cloth and press with an electric iron to draw fibers up. Last
resort sand and
THE VACANT HOUSE: Greenhouse Effect
Security conscious vacationers, a homebuilder's unsold inventory, whenever a
wood floor is deprived of an air flow in the environment, it can and will
misbehave. Sunlight through windows generates heat, lowers humidity, moisture
vapor enters to balance, nights cool off, humidity builds and wood floors cup.
Thermostats set at 60 degrees and outside, winter howls, heating system runs
constantly with no moisture added, and floors shrink.
Avoid problems by leaving windows "ajar", have neighbor air the house out
occasionally. Treat floors as discussed under cupped, tented, or shrinkage
cracks and only after environment returns to normal.