buckled wood flooring

Buckled Floors: What Causes It and What You Can Do About It

Anyone with a wood floor will have encountered buckling at some point. A hardwood floor is a fine addition to any interior, but this design choice is fraught with problems. Even if you’re adhering to a strict cleaning and maintenance schedule, an improper installation makes buckling unavoidable.

In short, buckling is the result of your flooring expanding and contracting. If this happens frequently enough, the result is an uneven, buckled surface. In extreme cases, unsightly blemishes may also appear, calling for a full refinish or replacement.

Engineered wood flooring is the way to go if you’re looking to avoid buckling. One of the major benefits of this type of flooring is that it’s incredibly moisture-resistant. What’s more, it copes well with high levels of humidity, making it a practical choice for any interior.

At Wood Flooring Ireland, we cater to clients looking for premium parquet floors that will hold up well in all conditions.

Buckled Wood Floors: Common Causes

Bucking happens whenever the upper layer of your flooring becomes separated from the subfloor layer. In many cases, you’ll also notice swelling around the affected area. If you notice that the edges of your long plank wood flooring are also curling, you’re also dealing with cupping. Although the final result is largely the same, there are several different causes for buckled wood floors.

Humidity and Moisture Exposure

Water and heat tend to be the biggest culprits behind buckled wood floors. If your floor is exposed to a significant amount of moisture without you realising it, buckling is unavoidable.

Sometimes, the root cause of your buckled floor might be a plumbing problem. A broken pipe or drainage issue can go unnoticed for weeks or months before it affects your flooring.

However, moisture doesn’t always come from above. A leaking roof or ceiling can also lead to your floors becoming regularly exposed to moisture. Poor ventilation is another potential cause.

If your flooring is installed in a room like a kitchen or a bathroom, second-rate ventilation systems aren’t going to be able to remove all that excess moisture. This is why many homeowners choose to invest in engineered wood flooring for such environments.

Humidity isn’t something you can avoid entirely. However, you can mitigate its impact on your home and flooring. During the summer months, humidity levels are particularly high. As such, it’s a good idea to invest in a dehumidifier unit to make maintaining indoor humidity levels easy.

As a rule, try and avoid humidity levels climbing above 50%. This will go a long way in protecting flooring from moisture problems and buckling.

No Acclimation Process

Here’s another reason why your wood flooring could be buckling. All flooring material needs to undergo an acclimation process to become adjusted to its new surroundings. In other words, those herringbone flooring planks or Versailles panels need to be exposed to the environment they’re going to be installed.

During this process, moisture levels within the flooring material shifts until it’s more in line with the surrounding environment. Once a happy balance has been achieved, there’s less chance of your flooring expanding or contracting once it’s installed. Naturally, this dramatically slashes the chance of your flooring buckling.

A typical hardwood floor takes around 72 hours before it is properly acclimated to its surroundings. With an engineered wood floor, you’re looking at closer to 48 hours.

It Hasn’t Been Properly Installed

This is a major cause of buckled floors. If an installer hasn’t used enough nails, there’s a good chance your flooring will experience buckling. Furthermore, the wrong choice of subfloor material can also cause issues.

If your flooring materials and subfloor aren’t properly bonded, it’s easy for gaps between the two layers to form. Once this gap begins to expand, it’s almost certain your floors will buckle. Often, subfloor materials are contaminated with excess moisture. This too can lead to buckling and warping.

If you haven’t left a large enough expansion gap, don’t be surprised to find your wood floor buckling during the warmer, more humid months.

Repairing a Buckled Floor

Thankfully, repairing a buckled wood floor is fairly straightforward. However, before you apply a fix, you’ll need to establish the root cause of the problem.

If you think that humidity is the culprit, make sure you’ve sought out the cause of your excess moisture levels. If you’re suffering from a leak or drainage issue, these will need to be addressed. Once that’s been taken care of, your flooring will need time to dry.

Once this is done, you’ll have a better handle on the situation. In many cases, a spot repair is all that will be required. Expect to undertake some degree of refinishing. In more extreme cases, you may wish to replace an entire plank or panel.

A partial replacement may seem expensive, but it’s the only way to safeguard the rest of your flooring from moisture contamination. This way you’ll prevent the chance of your floor becoming unusable and creating a hazard.

Can Buckled Wood Return to Normal?

If a spill or minor leak is the cause of your buckled floor, your repair job won’t be as exhaustive. If you notice a pool of water, immediately soak up as much moisture as you can with a towel. Once you’ve collected all this surface water, leave your floor to dry out thoroughly.

Even if your floor now looks dry, some moisture may have penetrated the veneer layer. Therefore, it’s a good idea to use a compact space heater to help things along.

If you’ve tackled the issue quickly and your flooring has dried out sufficiently, it may return to its original condition. One of the advantages of engineered wood flooring is that it’s far more moisture-resistant than hardwoods. Unlike solid wood flooring, you shouldn’t have to remove entire sections and replace them.

Say Goodbye to Buckled Floors

Tired of having to deal with warped, buckled floors? It’s time to invest in engineered wood flooring. Unlike traditional hardwood, it can be installed in any interior. Looking for a durable alternative to solid oak for your kitchen or bathroom? Engineered wood flooring is the perfect solution.

At Wood Flooring Ireland, we offer an extensive range of parquet flooring designs to cater to every taste and budget. What are the different types of wood flooring available? You’ll find everything from contemporary planks to Chevron flooring and other parquet styles.

Want to discover the range for yourself? Why not visit us in our Cork showroom? Alternatively, speak to the team today by calling 021 4629913 or drop us a message via our online contact form.

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