Uh Oh! New wood floor trouble?!


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Old 06-05-07, 12:32 PM
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Uh Oh! New wood floor trouble?!

It has been about a week since they finished the installation of my new 3/4 inch solid prefinished hardwood floors. Just now, I noticed a board in the entry way "popping up!" The flooring was all tongue and grove on all sides and the boards around do not look any different but this one is surely raising up on the one end edge. The reason I even noticed it was I stepped on the edge barefoot and when I looked down, ack, it is sticking up. What is happening? What should I do?

Just for info, the floors were acclimated over 2 weeks before installation with the proper amount of wood store in each room it was to be put into so that could not have caused the trouble and I also watched them do the moisture tests day after day until the wood and floors were within the right moisture content. I watched them install it and they used spacers around each and every wall so I know there was room for expansion and they covered up the gap with beautiful baseboards on top of the gap.

Should I quick set up a dehumidifier? We do live near the beach, about 2 blocks away, but no one we know in our area has had any trouble with their floors buckling or cupping. Our weather is basically the same all the time so there has not been any great change in temperature or humidity. I can not think of any reason for this but I have a sinking feeling! Am I going to walk in each day and have more and more boards popping up? Hmmm, this does not seem "normal" to me....help!
 
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Old 06-05-07, 12:37 PM
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I'd call the floor installers/finishers back and have them look at it. They should stand behind anything related to their work.
 
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Old 06-05-07, 01:27 PM
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Well, they are in no rush to come out and look. He said he will call me back when they were going to be in my area! The installer is sure it is because of moisture especially since it is in the entry way where I keep the main front door open and just have a glass storm door to look through and we have had foggy day after foggy day. Even when they installed it, we had fog so I don't know why it would happen now. Then he "kindly" reminded me that we signed the paperwork saying he would not be responsible for cupping or buckling although they took every precaution by letting the wood acclimate and doing the moisture tests. They even came out 2 weeks ahead of time to demo the tile in the entry way so the plywood subfloor could be moisture tested and there were no issues at the time.

Plus now that I looked closer, the board doesn't appear to be cupping with the edge higher than the center. Rather it is shifting up just on one end but the board itself still looks flat all the way across. I don't know how that can happen without the other board next to it staying in place with the tongue and grove system? I just bought a portable dehumidifier from Home Depot so I set it up right next to that area and started running it. The sensor says the humidity is only 55% so what should I set the target level to? It goes down to 35%.


Should I find something really heavy to set on the board in hopes it will go back down?

I am bummed to say the least! Why did it have to be right in the entry way where it is so noticeable and not way back in some corner? After all they installed almost 1200 sq ft and none of the rest looks like that one piece (yet!)
 
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Old 06-05-07, 02:58 PM
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Sometimes pieces of flooring are missing some of the tongue and groove. Usually these pieces are tossed out but maybe one got missed. I don't know if that is the cause, just a possiblity. It might be convinced to lay back down by using some weight and maybe adding a nail. Hopefully one of the flooring experts will be along shortly with better info.
 
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Old 06-05-07, 03:04 PM
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My guess is that they did not use enough nails in that piece of wood. Humidity should be maintained between 35-55% year round. I don't think humidity is the problem.
 
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Old 06-05-07, 09:56 PM
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Thanks for your replies. I am soooo tempted to nail it down. What kind of nail should I use? It looked like the nails they used didn't have much of a head, if any. Any special hammer or regular old one will do? I saw they had a special almost punch-like tool to lower the nail below the level of the wood without making a dent in the wood. What could I use to do that, a screwdriver or something?

Most importantly, what is the worst that could happen nailing it myself? If I am careful, could I still split the whole piece? That would be much worse than having an edge stick up a bit! At least they left me the putty they used to fill in the nail holes at the edge so I can always cover the nail.

I think this must be it because I have been running the humidifier all day long and if it was that humid, the bucket would be full by now. It started at 55% and has only gone down a bit, maybe 45 and is within range of the proper humidity according to you, twelvepole. Plus the piece is one of the shorter ones, about 18 inches long, so I can see that perhaps that one got less nails than most other pieces that are much longer. I did put a weight on it all day too but no change at all, must need something heavier if that is going to work!

Thanks again and please, if you can, give me nailing instructions! Should I wait a day or two to see if the weight helps or just nail that board now?
 
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Old 06-06-07, 05:40 AM
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It would be best to wait on the floor guys. They will know how/where it would be best to add a nail. YOU DO NOT WANT TO JUST HAMMER IN A NAIL!!! If you hand nail it you need to first drill a hole to prevent the wood from splitting. Using a finish nail gun should also prevent splitting = smaller diameter nail. You would use a finish nail as opposed to a common or framing nail that has a bigger head. A nail punch [also called nail set] is used to drive the head below the surface - nail gun does it automatically. You would then use colored putty to make the nail hole dissapear.

I know it is hard to wait but it is better to let the pros do it - that's why you paid them in the first place In the meantime keeping weight on it will help it to go back down and make the floor guys job easier and more successfull.
 
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Old 06-07-07, 02:13 PM
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Thanks marksr, it is hard to resist but thanks to your warning, I will wait. Thanks for the ALL CAPS too-lol! Yes, I am sure it would be a disaster if I were to do it myself. Actually it even looks a little better and one member of our household says it was sticking up like that all along!

Still, I have the dehumidifier running (just in case) and have a weight sitting on the board but the weigh is too light so I have to find something heavier and see if that helps any.

Again, thanks for your reply and all of your help throughout this giant project. Now if I can just get the bathroom finished....just seemed to lose steam over the removing of the wallpaper glue. I keep looking at it but ugh, don't want to do it. Picked up a bunch of paint chips and none look what I thought they would look like so that is not very motivating. I better get back on it soon though before the showering ruins the walls. I keep telling everyone while they are in the shower, wipe that glue-lol-no luck there though.
 
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Old 06-10-07, 08:35 PM
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All the specs & requirements for solid wood, that I have read, say to maintain between 30 and 50% or concerns may arise.
 
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Old 06-13-07, 07:05 PM
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another follow up for those searching later: the installers still have not made it back here but the wood has settled down into place. I did keep a weight on it for a few days and ran the humidifier but the whole thing is a mystery to me. You could not pick out the board that was sticking up!

I guess it "settles" and shifts because I am noticing some others sticking up a bit one day and then flat again the next. The floor has "micro" bevels and unless an edge is sticking up, you don't even feel the edges which is why we even noticed it to begin with, stepped on it and hurt my foot.

I don't know if it is the humidity causing the wood to "move around" but if I run the humidifier each day on the timer with 2 hour intervals, it fills up in 24 hours and is a big pain to empty (good thing I bought the "large" capacity one!)
 
 

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