Troubleshooting Causes of Rippled Floors
LESLIE: Pat in Indiana has a question about flooring. What can we do for you?
PAT: I have a house and it’s a new house and I put a flooring product on the floor and then they had to take it up because it wasn’t going together right like it should. Then they brought another one out and put it together on the living room floor and it was the same thing. Then they brought the other one out and put it down and it’s rippled. Now they’re telling me that it has a humidity problem.
TOM: It’s not the floor’s fault; it’s your fault. Is that what they’re trying to tell you?
PAT: That’s what they’re trying to tell me, yes.
TOM: Alright. Well, when did you put this floor down? What month of the year was it?
PAT: End of February, first of March.
TOM: Hmm. And by June it was all rippled?
PAT: In three months it was starting to ripple, yeah.
TOM: Yeah. Well, listen. It sounds to me like they did something wrong. What kind of flooring material was this? Was it solid hardwood or was it something else?
PAT: It was ¾-inch solid hickory.
TOM: Three-quarter-inch solid hickory. Well, it sounds to me like there’s a problem with the installation. In terms of the moisture, well, listen: hardwood floor is designed to stand all sorts of moisture, from high humidity to low humidity. While I’m sure it got a bit damp, as it does in the summer in Indiana, I don’t think that’s the cause of the problem. I think that there is some issue with the installation; probably that it didn’t leave any room for it to expand and contract. It might have been too tight. Is it rippling across the entire surface or just in spots?
PAT: Mostly across the entire surface except there’s a few spots that are flat.
TOM: Yeah. Sounds to me like this needs to be resanded. Is it sort of curving up where it presses together?
TOM: Yeah, it sounds to me like this needs to be resanded and refinished.
PAT: So can you tell me who does that?
TOM: Well, a floor sanding company would do that. You could – the sanding is pretty difficult to do but the finishing is easy to do. You could have a painter do the finishing. Floor sanding, you want to have somebody do it that does it everyday; a floor refinisher.
Now in terms of the humidity issue, you shouldn’t have to add any kind of humidity control. But if you wanted to – because it’s uncomfortable – you could install what’s called a whole home dehumidifier which is installed into your HVAC system and removes excess moisture 24/7. You know, a good source for it is Aprilaire and that website is Aprilaire.com. They make a whole-home dehumidifier. We put one in on a project we did for a TV show on a house that had a very severe moisture problem that was causing mold and it took care of it. It was a good installation and a good solution.
PAT: Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.