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wood floor problem

Superstorm Sandy flooded our first floor with 10 inches of water. All remediation and repairs have been completed including new wood floors. After several months, the wood floors have "cupped" as my contractor calls it. They have beveled and you can actually feel the ripples in the floor. The contractor says I should give it a year, as the moisture levels and heat and humidity settle. He also says, the floor subcontractor has been doing floors for twenty years and he certainly didn't put the floors in too tight. I'm not sure I believe this. Thanks for any thoughts and comments.

Re: wood floor problem

Cupping usually comes from excess moisture which can come from any or all of;

1- High water under the slab coming through the slab

2- The wood flooring wasn't properly acclimated to the home before installation

3- The home wasn't humidity / temperature controlled after installation

4- Water / humidity was introduced after installation.

Did you get any sort of a warranty from the installer?

MLB Construction
Re: wood floor problem

houston is right....and i've never heard of a wood floor being installed too tight. not any expansion room around the perimeter under the base trim is a whole different story.

Re: wood floor problem

When a subcontractor tells me that "he's been doing it for 20 years", I look for another sub.

It's the term "20 years" that tells me he's b.s.ing.

Re: wood floor problem

Yes, we do have a warranty from the wood floor installer, but by waiting a year, is there any chance the floors will "un-cup" all by themselves???

Re: wood floor problem

I have never seen a floor "un-cup" itself.

Normally the uncupping is accomplished by sanding the floor down, re-staining, and re-poly.

A. Spruce
Re: wood floor problem

For the floors to have cupped, warped, or whatever they're doing in such a short amount of time tell me several things:

1 - The installer did not moisture test the subfloor/slab prior to installing the wood. With standing water in your home, the floors would have been saturated, and taken a good amount of time to dry out before the wood flooring was installed.
2 - All of the points that Houston makes about moisture and acclimating the flooring to the space prior to installation.
3 - While a gap may have been left at time of install, it is very possible that the flooring expanded due to temperature change, which is why it is important to acclimate the material to the room before installation, and moisture level, the flooring wicked moisture out of the substrate, causing it to swell/expand. The thing is, buckling due to lack of expansion space will pop a section or two of the floor, it isn't going to warp every board in the floor, which is more what you're describing. You are describing a high moisture problem.
4 - The "20 years experience" comment is probably bullpucky, not that it isn't true, but how is this a valid excuse absolving the installer from fault? When I've had problems with someone's work and am immediately told how long they've been doing things, that tells me that instead of being upstanding and reasonable, the offending party is immediately trying to say, "it can't be my fault, I'm too experienced", as if experience excludes the possibility that they screwed up. What your contractor should be saying is, "gee, there is a problem here, let's figure out what caused it, then assess how we can take care of it". The term "we" meaning how everyone involved, you, the contractor, and the installer, are going to resolve the problem.

I would not wait a year to start dealing with this, by that time your warranty will have expired and your ability to force resolution will be gone. I would start by hiring a different flooring company to come and assess what is going on. With that done, approach both your contractor and the original flooring installer and tell them you are not happy with the results, nor being told to wait a year (for the warranty to expire ) before they do anything about it.

You may want to also talk with a real estate attorney about the situation to see what your legal rights are and how to proceed, how to document your phone calls and meetings with these contractors, etc.

Re: wood floor problem

What a.spruce says. This is not going to fix itself by waiting but will only get worse when the flooring dries out but the cupping remains. Since the original people did not do the job correctly the first time when it's all simply standard good building practice that was missed, the chances are that they cannot repair it properly either.

It's lawyer time here and I wish you well!


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