Is this normal or am I being picky??? (Hardwood Floor Cupping)

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Old 08-19-06, 11:39 AM
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Is this normal or am I being picky??? (Hardwood Floor Cupping)

HI,
I've had a lot of trouble with the renovations done in my new little house...I feel at the mercy of my Builder.
I had all the floors replaced 800sq ft (supposedly including the subflooring) because the previous owner's dog had urinated and ruined the wood. So- they installed red oak hardwood flooring with a high gloss finish. Nothing fancy but it wasn't cheap.
I live in Boston and it was installed in the Winter and yes, they did acclimate the wood inside the house for a while beforehand...
However, now that I am living here I am noticing that it looks quite "wavey" -
*when the light hits the floor each strip of wood has a ripple or striped look to it.
It's hard to explain- it almost looks like it's buckling but not in a heeving way- the wood strip isn't the lump- the seam where the long pieces of wood meet has the bump.
So, I bent down to feel it and at each lengthwise/horizontal joint there is a distinct lump or bump where the 2 pieces of wood join. Now, will this contract & flatten when winter comes or is this completely normal or am I screwed again???
I've had wood flooring before but it was always OLD- not brand new- so these haven't been sanded a bunch of times or walked on much...
Do I say something to my Contractor? (I'm already having other issues with him so now I'm worried about who he subcontracted for the floors) Other than that- they look beautiful~ (except ONE piece of wood is splitting and coming up so I presume they can repair this- right???)
I need HELP!!!
thanks,
debbie.
 
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Old 08-19-06, 05:58 PM
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Your flooring is cupping!!! Is this installation over a crawl space, basement on on grade concrete?

You flooring is gaining moisture and swelling!!!

If the crawl space is not up to NOFMA/NWFA specifications, it could cause the crawlspace to be damp, making the subfloor damp, which will cup wood. Same for a unconditioned basement. If over concrete, the moisture vapors known from all concrete may be rearing it's ugly head.

It could also be caused from a rise in humidity and swelled the boards, causing what is called "compression set", which occurs right before the floor actually buckles. It can be caused from the interiors humidity being extremely low and drying the top of the board, more then the bottom of the board.

Is the floor tight without any gapping, at the peaked edges?


Always keep humidity levels constant, and you will never see what your seeing.
 
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Old 08-19-06, 06:27 PM
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Unhappy Now I'm really nervous!

I'm not exactly sure what the "peaks" are but if it's the 2" edge of the boards where the next one is placed "vertically" on top of the other board or against the walls- those seams appear tight and essentially OK (other than that one spot where it's split)
When I bought the home there WAS a crawlspace moisture/humidity problem that I paid to have cleaned out (mold/mildew) and an automatic dehumidification system installed! I have NO IDEA if this is functioning (I asked once but didn't get a straight answer other than they'd put a switch in so I could manually operate it in the Winter) and since now I'm having trouble with the Contractor SHOWING UP- I don't know how that's going? I am presuming they installed a moisture barrier since they also replaced/repaired much of the subflooring- but I don't know who to consult to have these things checked out to be sure it was done properly?
I'm not sure I can trust the Contractor's word and/or if he even knows if the subcontractors DID the job right.
What do you suggest? Should I get:
a) 2nd Contractor's opinion
b) Basement humidity specialist out to examine the job?
c) Home inspector??? (sometimes they don't always know enough about one thing- but a little about lots of things)
d) Try to speak directly with whoever installed the floor?
*Is this reversible if the humidity is adjusted or the basement issue is resolved? I doubt it's dryness inside the home- I use window unit A/C if it's really hot but otherwise the windows are open.
Panicked now in Boston,
Deb
 
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Old 08-19-06, 09:03 PM
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Humidity should be between 35-55% and maintained year round. The only way to know is to check with hygrometer (sold where they sell thermometers). Humidity will vary among rooms inside the home. Dehumidify if humidity is too high. Humidify if too low. Check your humidity levels before you call anyone. Temperature should be maintained around 70 degrees year round. Close windows, run AC, check humidity levels, dehumidify if necessary. Flooring may flatten once humidity levels are under control.
 
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Old 08-19-06, 10:54 PM
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Look up Howard Brickman, of Brickman Consulting. I believe he is in the Boston area.

You will not find anyone more knowledgable in wood flooring in the USA
 
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Old 08-21-06, 10:20 AM
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is this the house that used to be a mobile home? or am i confusing you with another member?

i don't know if that info would be pertinent to solving the mystery or not......
 
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Old 08-21-06, 12:16 PM
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Hi Annette,
I think you're confusing me with HeyHeyJude! But we're both single women struggling with Contractors and having trouble with remodeling!!!
Uggh. My Contractor blew me off AGAIN today~ I really don't want to go to court but looks like I may be headed that way since there are now SO MANY different problems here that are sub-par.
I braved the spider infested crawlspace and the brown paper side which is on the ceilingn part is quite WET. There are no puddles on the floor but there are only 2 vents and I don't hear any dehumification machine going??? I need to find out more about what or IF they indeed installed the mechanism or not before I can go much further- but it appears that's where the moisture is coming from. No point in contacting the installation folks since I'm sure they'll just LIE about moisture barriers, etc even if they DID neglect to install it properly.
I am not sure I can regulate the inside humidity that concisely as Twelvepole suggested- A/C's expensive- but I do usually put it on when it's hot or humid so I'd say it's never hotter than 75 in here...
*Thank you Carpets Done Right! I will try to locate the man you suggested and see if he's willing to do a "consult" on my flooring...
Not sure where I'm going to get all the $$ it's going to cost me to have a lot of the work her RE-DONE... it's not right that these things should happen when you hire prof's...
Wish me luck!
deb
 
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Old 08-21-06, 07:35 PM
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Were you crawling on plastic or soil?
 
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Old 08-22-06, 07:31 PM
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Hi- I am fairly short so I just kind of squatted and honestly didn't go too far IN- I got creeped out. Pretty sure it's a cement floor but scattered with some debris (old & new insulation) leaves, etc...
Thank you so much Carpets done Right!!! I actually got a personal PHONECALL from Mr. Brickman. He was SO NICE and informative!!! He told me they NEVER should've put vents in and that the space should be completely SEALED and then use a dehumifier with a floating pump that will drain water to the outside through a small hole I'll have to drill or place somewhere in a pre-existing vent that I have to block up...
He explained the complicated physics behind humidity/vapor pressures, wood moistures, etc...Even with some background from college it was a little "over my head"
I can't even completely blame my Contractor re: the Vents as both my home inspector AND an indep consultant I got an estimate from prior to buying the house told me to increase the ventillation in the crawlspace- he said to use 4 and a fan! Apparently NOT- only if you're going to circulate your indoor air down into the space! Who knew???
So- it has to be done ASAP and there's a chance when the heat comes on here in New England it could improve the appearance of the floors (he likened the appearance to venetian blinds!) and he was right- but this should at least stop things from progressing! In the longrun he said it would rot my flooring.
How upsetting after spending 8K!!! SOMEDAY, when/if I can afford him- he's not far from me at all and said he could come and do some testing, etc...if this simpler version doesn't work- but it's such a small space he thinks it will work! YAY!!!
One bright spot in an otherwise bleak home remodeling nightmare. *I appreciate your sharing his name with me- he was great like you said he would be!
Deb. (Planning on finding one of those one piece Haz-mat suits and goggles- EVERYTHING I can prior to venturing down there again- it's like being in the movie Arachnophobia. Not really my scene- ya know?)
 
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