cupping on new hickory floors


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Old 09-06-06, 04:06 PM
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cupping on new hickory floors

I helping a friend with some design work on a new home her family is building. It is a three story home with a basement in the midwest. She had hickory floors installed on all three floors above grade. The first floor floors are fine the second has some slight cupping and the third is completely cupped. You can feel the ridges when you walk. The floor was laid over plywood in a traditional construction manner. The installer first tried to say it was the moisture in the wood. His meter registered anywhere from 9 to 15 on the third floor...seemed like an explanation but registered the same numbers on the other two floors were there was no or minimal cupping. The floors were done in a climate controlled enviornment, the cupping happened immediately....does anyone have any thoughts on what could of happened. The homeowners weren't living in the home when the work was done so wouldn't it be the installers responsiblity to fix the problem. How would you fix the problem. The entire third floor is cupped.
 
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Old 09-06-06, 05:08 PM
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Cupping and crowning indicate moisture issues. The wood should have been placed in rooms where it was to be installed for several days to adjust to temperature and humidity in the home where HVAC has been running to dry out home. Installer should have tested both the wood and the subfloor with moisture meter. There should have been no more than 2% difference if installing wider plank floors and no greater than 4% difference if installing 2 1/4" plank floors. Wood should been further acclimated if moisture content differences exceeded recommended differences.

A vapor retarder should have been placed over the subfloors. A minimum of 8# roofing felt is recommended. A 3/4" expansion gap is recommended around perimeter of room to allow for expansion of wood. Wood tends to expand and contract as temperature and humidity fluctuate. Temperature should be maintained at around 70 degrees year round. Humidity level should be between 35-55%. The only way to know the humidity level inside the home is to measure with hygrometer (sold where they sell thermometers). Humidity will tend to vary among rooms and the different floors inside the home. Warm moist air rises up through the home.

Check your humidity levels. Place dehumidifiers in rooms where there is cupping and crowning. Cross your fingers that boards flatten.
 
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Old 09-08-06, 12:16 PM
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Maryg, I would certainly assume that the installer has to take responsibility for the failed install, unless there are other factors not stated (such as the installer taking specific installation directions from the homeowner).
 
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Old 09-08-06, 01:02 PM
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It is the responsibility to make sure that jobsite conditions are good to go for a hardwood flooring installation. This is why an accurate moisture meter, hygrometer, and thermometer should be used to assess jobsite conditions.
 
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Old 09-08-06, 01:09 PM
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Twelvepole, isn't it unlikely that the average homeowner would know the moisture limitations for subflooring and be even less likely to own a moisture meter (unless he was an avid woodworker)? I still think the installer would know the requirements for installation and have the responsibility to ensure that they were met prior to installation, absent specific instructions to the contrary by the homeowner or GC.
 
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Old 09-08-06, 01:25 PM
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Sorry, I meant to say it is the 'responsibility of the installer.' The typical homeowner does not know about recommended installation procedures and requirements for jobsite conditions. The installer is suppose to be the professional with the knowledge and skills to give the homeowner a successful installation.
 
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Old 09-08-06, 06:40 PM
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Additional question???

May I ask WHY it makes a difference to the installer's liability that the Homeowners weren't living there at the time?
I'm having similar cupping problems with my Contractor and may need to sue him. Technically I was living in my condo when they were installed- but the home was never a "rental" property- which is considered "Primary residence???" I moved in as soon as it was ready to be lived in... and am trying to sell the Condo now.
tx,
deb
 
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Old 09-08-06, 08:32 PM
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Spike, it doesn't make any difference. I suppose that the OP just mentioned that to indicate that the homeowner would not have done anything which could have contributed to the problem.
 
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Old 09-09-06, 07:23 AM
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Being it begins on the upper floors, and gets worse the higher you get. I would call that a "greenhouse effect" and not installation related.

Check each level of the home with a hygrometer.
 
 

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