How to Fix Warped Wood Floors
It's hard to deny that a refined, smooth hardwood floor can amp up the whole room's look (of course, provided everything else is in order!). Hardwood flooring looks rich and warm as long as it is well-maintained. But when the planks' middle sinks or they experience cupped corners, it can hamper the look and feel of the entire space.
No one wants to deal with the issue of warped flooring. After all, in the worst cases, homeowners may need to rip up the warped flooring and invest thousands of dollars into repairing their beloved wooden floor.
But hold off on panicking just yet. Warped hardwood flooring may or may not require you to replace your flooring, depending on the severity of the damage. The problem might not be as intense as you might have perceived.
This article will cover what causes warping and how to fix warped wood floors. Keep reading to learn more.
Warping occurs when moisture damage occurs in the corners of a wooden plank, and the edges become uneven. When one corner of the wooden plank dries faster, it shrinks and causes stress. This disbalance leads to a plank disfigurement, often known as warping.
‘Cupping’ and ‘crowning’ are two types of hardwood floor warps that are most commonly seen.
Cupping (or plank curl) occurs when the corners of the board are lifted higher than the center. Crowning, on the other hand, occurs when the floorboard's middle rises and the wooden plank's long edges dip down. Both are unattractive and can get frustrating to look at. However, the good news is both crowning and cupped flooring are fixable damages.
You may have several possible solutions at your disposal for fixing the cupping or crowning based on how early you spot the entire floor warping. For correcting serious warping, however, you will need help from an expert.
Why Does Wood Warping Occur?
The water content in a wooden board exposed to moisture may significantly fluctuate in different areas of the wood. Wood warps due to different drying speeds in different parts of the wood. The wood may wobble as a result of this. The type of wood, the direction of the grain, sunlight exposure, uneven finish, wind, and weather, are all potential reasons that can contribute to this imbalance.
The expansion and contraction of wood is dependent on the atmosphere’s relative humidity and the general moisture content in the wood. Wood is likely to expand as the humidity rises, and conversely, it will contract when the weather is dry and humid.
Let us understand this with an example. Suppose it has rained all night, and your wooden board has absorbed the moisture in the atmosphere. When one side is damper than the other, the drier side will sry faster, causing the warping. This results in the dried area shrinking and making the wood imbalanced. The wood is put under pressure, which results in the hardwood floor warping.
The main reason behind this shrinkage is a change in the equilibrium moisture content or EMC. The wood's density and structure may also be impacted by EMC. It takes longer for larger wood to absorb and release moisture.
The following elements will affect EMC:
- The air temperature impacts how quickly the wood will dry out. The drying process will be slowed in a chilly atmosphere even if you blow warm air on the wood.
- The thickness of wood can have an impact on how fast the wood acclimates as well as the way it warps.
- Some types of wood help make more stable boards than others.
Types Of Warping
- Bow: Here, the wood warps right along its length, curving the plank edge. It does not bend from the face of the plank, just the edge.
- Crook: When wood warps, it bends in an arc shape along its length. Think of it as a side bend.
- Kink: A noticeable side bend in one end of the wooden plank.
- Cup: The two long sides of the lumber cup inward as the wood warps along its length.
- Twist: Wood warps across its length, with each end twisted oppositely.
Naturally, any of the flaws mentioned above could exist in the wood you are dealing with. This makes using or correcting warped wood very challenging.
Methods Of Preventing Warping
Examining the hardwood flooring right after installing it is the best way of ensuring there is no warping. Even though this may not always be possible, if you can scrutinize each part, only take wood with straight grain and no existing warps.
Find The Hidden Water Source
Identify the hidden source of the moisture that causes the wood to get wet before you try to fix the warped wood. If the source of the issue is not acknowledged, fixing the damage will eventually prove to be meaningless.
The source will not be a new one if your wood is consistently getting warped. You need to look out for an old source that may have been creating the moisture that seeps into the wood, resulting in warping. All you have to do is try to look for suspected sources around the location of the damage.
You might be dealing with a case of faulty installation or placement if the damage is close to a window or a door. Old houses are extremely susceptible to outdoor water leaks, usually because of improper installation.
There may be an underground supply of water if there is warping near a heater or fridge. It may be easy to determine depending on the equipment you are evaluating. Almost the entire underlying wiring in water heaters and radiators is visible, making it simple to inspect the joints and determine if something is wrong. If you're dealing with a refrigerator or washer, you're in for more labor because those sources of water are hidden away or concealed under the equipment itself.
You may easily fill your glass with cold, purified water from the water dispensers that are conveniently installed right in front of the door of your modern refrigerator. However, you may be facing a significant leak if any of the dispensers or filter pipe bursts. After identifying and fixing the leak's origin, you can focus on the flooring itself.
In many cases, preventing warping is mainly a matter of ensuring your wood is appropriately packed and has sufficient airflow. Storing your wood away from a moist environment, in a dry area can help prevent warping. You can air-lock the wood to do this.
Ensure that there aren't any differences in board sizes and that your boards are positioned flat in the storage space. Try to place the flooring boards on a dried, smooth surface that won't cause moisture imbalance.
Dry it out
Drying the warped wood will pull moisture out of it. Manufacturers have more power over how quickly the drying process proceeds forward. You should look for kiln-dried wood, as it is more stable. Kiln drying is frequently used to stop pest infestation in wood.
How To Fix Warping
Although it can be difficult, you can still repair warped wood flooring with some creative problem-solving skills. The key goal is to rehydrate the wood before clamping it into place. In this manner, the lumber is molded into a particular shape while it dries.
There are several different methods described below.
- Basic: Spray the wood with water and allow it to soak up. After that, screw the board into place and give it time to dry. If you do this right, the warp may seem considerably less noticeable.
- Iron it: Bring a hand towel or damp towel and put it on the warped region. Do this in stages because it can be an extensive process. A hot iron should be left on the damp towel to cause the wood to heat. This will accelerate water absorption and promote the wood pulp's softening. Put a clip on the wood and let it dry. Repetition may be required.
- Use a steam machine: A specialized piece of machinery called a steam machine optimizes the above-discussed ironing method. Steam is produced when water in a tank is heated. Following that, steam is typically given to the wood through a surface with a lattice or holes. Throughout this surface, the wood is often clamped into position. This method affects the most significant amount of wood surface area.
- Ironing device: This performs identically to a steam machine. However, it also heats the wood surface. The wood fibers can relax by being placed on a hot metal surface with a damp piece of wood.
The problem of wood warping is faced by almost every homeowner who has wooden floors in their home. We hope that this article helped you discover that this problem has solutions. Simply by making minor modifications to your wooden board and by using creativity when dealing with crooked wood, you can solve the issue of warping. Hopefully, these recommendations will assist you in preventing warping and maintaining the charms of your wood flooring for decades to come.