gaps suddenly developing in hardwood floors


Old 03-04-14, 05:03 AM
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gaps suddenly developing in hardwood floors


My fiance and I recently bought a renovated rowhouse in Baltimore. Hardwood flooring (tongue and groove) has been installed throughout the house on both levels. We noticed a little bit of cupping during the summer but nothing major, and this abated once the humidity dropped in fall.

The other day, while up on the second floor (which is always warmer than the first in winter), I noticed some gaps that I hadn't before (see photos). These are pretty conspicuous (nearly 1/8th of an inch) and seem to have formed along a line extending the length of the guest room.

I'm concerned because even though I've read you can expect gaps during winter (due to low humidity/dry forced air heat), these seem to have developed pretty rapidly and are oriented along a line-generally around one or two planks' width. It has been abnormally cold this winter in Maryland, and we just got yet another snow with very cold temps in the past 48 hours.

Any thoughts as to what may be going on? There have been a few adventures with the house I will likely post about later...

Thanks so much!
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Old 03-04-14, 05:27 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

Hardwood should be acclimated to the house prior to installation - I wonder if they skipped that step ??
I'm not sure there is much you can do about it now although you could apply a dark stain to the tongues so they wouldn't be as noticeable.
Old 03-04-14, 06:23 AM
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Thanks, marksr.

I wouldn't doubt it if the contractor (or whomever the shady builder paid to put in the flooring) skipped the acclimatization process. Is there any chance that with increasing humidity/temps later this spring/into summer that the gaps will close or are they past the point of no return? I still wonder why they seemed to have formed so quickly and along one line (one or two planks' width)...
Old 03-04-14, 07:07 AM
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Looks like a floating floor and the click lock mechanism has failed in that area. You also mentioned cupping which would indicate a lack of proper expansion gap around the perimeter of the room. You may be able to pop the tongue and groove together. Can you send a wider picture of the area?
Old 03-04-14, 07:16 AM
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You mentioned humidy. I would want to solve the cupping problem. Like czizzi mentioned. Then you might consider an all house humidifier. This will even out the shrink/dry cycle and make for a more comfortable living throughout the house both first and second floor.
Old 03-04-14, 08:27 AM
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Thanks for replying (and thanks to you all). I'm at work now but will send a photo later.

Could you please clarify your comment about the floating floor/mechanism? I notice no buckling, etc. I think I see a nail oriented horizontally in the gap that has developed in one of the tongue/grooves.

Forgive my naivety but I know little about flooring.
Old 04-01-14, 01:46 AM
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doesn't look like click-lock to me, but hard to tell. I wasn't properly acclimated.

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