Limited buckling on new hardwood floor

Old 09-05-19, 07:29 AM
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Limited buckling on new hardwood floor

Hi All,

We just finished installing a 3/4", 3" wide Hickory wood floor for our kitchen/DR area last week. This week cabinets were installed and just completed yesterday. And then last night noticed that the floor buckled in one spot. Just one... couldn't believe it.

It's nailed down with 2" cleats, and we used a layer of 15# felt paper under the hickory. One mistake we made was that even though the flooring has been in the house for almost a year, we did not have it out of the boxes. Most likely the buckling is due to changing humidity.

But, I find it odd that our gap around the perimeter of the room hasn't changed. We left a 1/2" to 3/4" gap everywhere, and although the boards may be swelling from an increase in moisture content, it's not taking up any of the gap.

And, in just one spot? One seam, for about 6 feet, is pushed up just slightly. Hardly noticeable until you move your foot across it.

I have to wonder if that length of floor board didn't get nailed down. The Bostitch nailer I used doesn't lock out when the nails run out, it just keeps making an indentation in the tongue. I did catch myself a couple of times dry firing and had to go back a few feet and hit it again after I reloaded. So it's entirely possible I missed some nails.

Has this happened to anyone else here where a limited area or areas buckled because they didn't get nailed down? It would be kind of a relief to know for sure that this is the case and we don't have to worry about the whole floor popping up.

If it's limited to this small area and it is missing nails, would it be better to try to nail it from the surface, right into the seam, at an angle so the nail goes through the tongue?

Or, having access from below, I could try driving some small screws into the board that's not nailed and pull it down that way. Don't know if doing that would restrict movement too much though, and possibly cause further problems.

Thanks for any help!
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Old 09-05-19, 08:24 AM
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When a wood floor buckles it does so in the direction of the width of the boards.

A gap around the perimeter of the room doesn't do anything to prevent the boards from buckling.

What is happening is each board is swelling and pushing outward, as the the boards swell it final reaches a point where that force exceeds that of the cleats holding that board down and it pops, usual closer to the edges of the room.

There is no repair from below, and my experience is you have to pull the boards up from the point where they buckled and reinstall.

The problem was acclimation, doesn't matter how long they sit around it depends when they are installed.

I have learned the best time to install is in the hot humid summer when the boards have swelled the most!

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