cracked/splitting hardwood planks

Old 03-13-07, 09:11 AM
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Talking cracked/splitting hardwood planks

My hardwood is only 3 years old. Some planks have started to get hairline cracks in places. I know this is caused by change in humidity and whatnot. My questions are, is this more common in certain types of wood? Will these cracks eventually get worse or can they stay the same? Will cleaning my floor with a damp cloth (not wet) make this worse? Should I consider replacing these boards? Any info is appreciated! Thanks!
Old 03-13-07, 09:39 AM
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(hehe. A msg I can help with...I feel so an expert...;-) )

It depends of a lot of things:
- What is the kind of hardwood.
- What is the quality.
- Has it been properly acclimated (i.e.: humidity) before installation.
- Where is it installed (basement, first floor, second floor and up)
- What kind of installation.
- What kind of finish.

Normally, a good quality plank (oak, ash or maple, those are commonly installed in USA) should not crack like you suggested after only 3 years. I see all the time in houses in Canada where there are huge variations in temperature and humidity (i.e.: wood burning overheating a room then at night the temperature goes down a lot or in winter it is very dry then in summer very humid) flawless wood floors. In fact, the only common issue I see is the floor cracks between the planks beeing bigger during winter (you can slide a 10 cents and sometimes a 5 cents between them).

I suspect a few things:
- The wood quality is poor.
- Bad batch of wood.
- There are wide swings in humidity in your house or you have a humidity/dry problem.
- Bad installation that may cause issue.

I hope it helps.

Thank you
Old 03-13-07, 12:14 PM
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Do you by chance use a fireplace or wood stove in the winter??

A lot of homes that use wood to heat with experience significant drying and splitting of newer woods, Wood that is 10 years old generally isn't affected by the dry are much. Glue joints are quite readily affected.

If you floors have started to split (That's called checking) if very possible that they will continue to up to about 5 years. It sounds a though the kelm drying was incomplete. new, kelm dried wood should have about a 7% moisture content. Much more than 9% can cause significant checking and warpage.

With the cracks present, make sure you are not using a "wet" towel to clean them. Water in excess will get under the finish and cause it to lift. A damp cloth or mop is OK.
Old 03-14-07, 08:26 PM
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Cracks are caused mainly from the loss of moisture content and the wood shrinking. They can, in rare instances, be from felled damage when the tree was cut down.

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