Common Problems That Can Occur With Aging Wood Floors

Published On: January 28, 20200 Comments on Common Problems That Can Occur With Aging Wood FloorsTags: Last Updated: February 12, 20244.5 min read

Quick and straightforward cleaning, effective allergen reduction, and home decor matching are only some of the many reasons why installing hardwood flooring is an excellent idea. The appeal of a hardwood floor isn’t maintenance-free, though, as it can undergo wear and tear despite all the benefits that it can bring to homeowners. The age of a hardwood floor can cause unsightly conditions, especially with the natural tendency of wood to swell in the face of changing humidity. Add to it some installation errors, and problems may come out sooner than later.

Common Problems That Can Occur With Aging Wood Floors

Here’s a detailed look at common problems that can occur with aging wood floors:

Formation Of Polyurethane Droplets

You might notice polyurethane droplets along the edges of your floorboards if you’re going to finish the floors in your home during a change of seasons. This happens because of uncured polyurethane seeping in between the cracks as the boards expand. The expansion of the floorboards forces the polyurethane back to the surface, forming the poly drops.

You can remove polyurethane drops easily if you get to catch them on time. Otherwise, you have to remove the poly from the wood floors altogether. You can use a cleaning solution, a rag, and a razor blade to remove the drops. It’s also easy to find a step-by-step guide on how to remove polyurethane from wood floors so it won’t be a problem at all if the need arises.

Big And Irregular Gaps

The gaps in your floor should ideally be uniform across its surface. Irregular ones can take away the floor’s overall look. Floorboards can move during humid and drier times, either holding tight and getting closer to one another, or revealing gaps. As you might notice, some gaps are standard, while others become abnormal either because of installing flooring that’s too wet or if the area where you installed it experiences excessive dryness at certain times of the year. A dry interior environment results from heating ducts, direct exposure to sunlight, or presence of wood stoves in a home.

The number one reason why gaps should get fixed immediately is that they’re an aesthetic issue. It’s best to repair them when they’re at their smallest during the year’s most humid time. It’s essential to make sure that there’s sufficient clearance between floorboards when doing repairs so that you can prevent buckling when they expand.

Color Fading

Exposure to sunlight can affect the color of the wood, primarily because some wood types are more photosensitive compared to others. Color fading and changing happens due to photosensitivity. What you can do to limit sun exposure is to install blinds to help delay the fading process.

Buckling When Floorboards Expand

As already mentioned above, floorboards expand during specific conditions, thus the importance of leaving clearance between them. If they can’t successfully expand, they buckle. Buckling is the result of floorboards crushing together and lifting off the subfloor. This usually happens because of too much moisture due to floods and a damp basement, among others. The condition may also aggravate because of improper fastening that results from the use of the wrong size of nails, or trowel in the case of glue-down installations. Both mistakes lead to the weak bond between the subfloor and the floorboards.

Some buckled floors can get refastened while others need to be removed. Depending on the condition of the floorboards, some of them will need replacement while others are still good enough for reuse. Keep in mind, though, that before attempting to repair the buckled floors in your home, fix the moisture issues first, or the same problem will keep on recurring.

Common Problems That Can Occur With Aging Wood Floors - wood floor

Cupped Boards

Cupping happens when the edges of your boards get raised higher than the center. Water is the primary culprit for cupped boards. The cause of cupping is either high relative humidity or a wet subfloor. Cupped boards require sanding, but if you’re lucky, they sometimes flatten out when the excess moisture has already evaporated and may not need repairs anymore.

Crowning Edges

Crowning is what happens when the center of your floorboard lifts higher than the edges, which is the complete inverse of cupping. When there’s water sitting on top of the floorboards, and you leave it there for long periods, it will lead to crowning. When you perform sanding on cupped floors before even addressing the moisture problem, it will also result in the center of your boards getting lifted higher than their edges.

Unsightly Crackings From Nails

Factory-finished floors are prone to unsightly crackings caused by a flooring nailer. While crackings can result from boards that have dried quickly, the most common culprit is the concentrated force from nails. There’s no need to worry much, though, since a wood filler can quickly fix cracks.

Final Thoughts

Most of the time, proper installation and finishing are enough to avoid most flooring problems. Add an excellent maintenance job, and you’ll delay the aging process of your floorboards. However, aging wood floors are inevitable, and when they occur, you have no other choice but to fix them. Luckily for homeowners, the problems mentioned and discussed in this post can be remedied.

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