Hardwood floor problems and repair

There are different types of damages or problems that might occur with hardwood floor over the years. Some of the minor imperfections can be fixed easily as do it yourself project while some big damages might require a help of experienced hardwood floor professional. Time and cost of repairing will very depend on the type of a damage and type of a hardwood floor.

Scratches and dents on the surface of the hardwood floor

Small scratches can be made invisible on any type of the floor with a touch up kit. If it is a deeper damage it might require sanding and applying finish. It is also possible to replace one or few damaged planks and match them with a rest of the floor. If replacement is unavoidable in the prefinished hardwood floor, first of all, the same product should be used for the replacement. Make sure you have it before taking out damaged plank. Different manufacturers offer their own colors and types of the wood, and it is almost impossible to find another exact match. With a site finished hardwood floor it is easier. The same type of the wood should be selected for the replacement and color can be matched by using the same color of finish. The process of replacement damaged hardwood floor planks should be done very careful in order not damage next pieces.

Splits and cracks in the wood

With a time splits or cracks might appear in the hardwood floor. In some cases it require floor refinishing, but minor defects can be fixed with a wood filler. Replacing boards also might be an option.

Squeaks and noise

This is a very common problem with a hardwood floor. Variety of factors can lead to creating squeaks and noise while walking on the hardwood floor. Poor installation, inadequate nailing or gluing to the subfloor, wood shrinking or just some changes in the house structure can cause creating this problem overtime. It is easier to eliminate this if it is a possibility to access the subfloor from underneath. Sometimes putting shims in between the subfloor and joints will eliminate the noise. But if this will not help you might need to screw the actual floor to the subfloor from underneath. This procedure has to be done very carefully in order not to damage the surface of the floor. You have to know exact thickness of the floor and subfloor and choose the right size of the screws.
In some cases, it is no access to the floor from underneath and it might require to screw floor from the top surface. It is not the best option because the screw hole will be visible even after filling with a wood. Another alternative is to eliminate the board where squeak is present, with a glue application nail or screw side boards from the sides to the subfloor, and glue the same type of a board in the place of eliminated board.

Water, humidity and moisture related damages of hardwood floor

- Bucking is when hardwood floor is lifting up from the subfloor. It is very important to find the cause and source to the problem ones it happened. Sometimes insufficient amount of nails or inappropriate type of adhesive applied during the installation or incorrect subfloor construction in combination with excessive moisture can cause the problem. Even if the installation was done right, but subfloor or floor itself was floated badly and didn't dry right away, bucking will show up in a short period of time. It is very common that after bucking hardwood floor should be remove and reinstall.

- Cupping is condition of the floor when the edges of hardwood floor rise up while the center sit down. The main cause for that problem is that subfloor has higher moisture level than floor itself. In some cases slightly cupped floors might be even not that noticeable without light reflection. Usually after fixing moisture level floor needs to be refinished.

- Crowning is when the edges of hardwood stay down and the center rises up. It occurs when the top of the hardwood floor will have higher moisture level than bottom. In most cases sanding and refinishing will be necessary.

- Warping of hardwood floor is an indication of a serious moisture problem. If the source of excessive moisture will be not identify right away it may result in whole floor replacement.

Gaps in between the planks of hardwood floor
Hardwood floor by its nature has an ability to shrink and expand under different moisture conditions. Even after 100% done right installation this problem might occur overtime. In some cases inadequate nailing or manufacturing drying process of the wood in combination with changing room humidity level can lead to gap appearing in between the wood planks. As a rule if gaps a very small and have an ability to appearing and disappearing with a changing moisture condition in the room it is not necessary to do anything with a floor - just adjust humidity level in the house. Other thing if the gaps are very visible and permanent than they need to be fixed. There are two different options - patching the gaps using the wood filler or filling the gaps with a wood strips. If gaps are not that wide wood filler can hide them for a while, but with a time it usually cracks because of a floor movement. Wood strips should be glued to the side of boards, and stained if necessary to match with a rest of the floor.

As you can see there are variety of problems might occur with a hardwood floor overtime. Each of them have different root and suppose to be fixed with individual approach. In some cases cause of a problem is a combination of factors, which suppose to be identified by a hardwood floor installer.