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Problems with tongue & groove porch

I am having trouble with the tongue & groove flooring on my front porch. I had it done this past Fall for the second time in the last 3 years. Both times the wood buckled after a short time. I had it done by two different contractors. The porch is over the front of the house. There is a small room underneath the porch. Any ideas about what the problem is? Both times, it was painted right away.

A. Spruce
Re: Problems with tongue & groove porch

From the sounds of it, this porch is exposed to the elements. When wood gets wet it expands, causing buckling if there's no room for it to "grow". If it's wet when installed, it will contract when it dries, causing cracks and gaps. It's the nature of the beast.

Re: Problems with tongue & groove porch

This sounds like a design problem. Is the porch flooring installed directly on the joists? Or is it installed on top of a subfloor (e.g., plywood) that's installed on the joists? There's another thread on this forum that describes the problems that can occur with the latter approach -- the plywood can trap water, causing swelling and buckling. There is no reason a wood porch floor should buckle if properly installed. You may need to remove the decking and subfloor, then reinstall or replace the decking. Make sure that the underside of the decking is primed or sealed to prevent moisture from being absorbed from below.
Hope this helps.

- Phil

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