Wooden floors are sensitive to water and get damaged easily. If proper care is not given to the floor, it is not far your beautiful home becomes unbearable to look at. It is really inconvenient to have a swollen wood floor. So, can we fix this buckled situation?
Wood flooring tends to expand, which means it can swell into an unsightly mess that is also dangerous to walk on. You must avoid any use of water on the wood floor. The best thing is to remove the excess moisture on the swollen wooden part by using high-absorbing material. Also, make sure to dry it with a dehumidifier.
However, if the buckled is spread to a large area, you must replace it. But before you do, you’ll need to determine the Reason Behind Buckled and swollen wood floor. Once you’ve identified the reasons, make sure you know How to prevent the wood floor from swelling if you replaced the old one.
Why is There Buckled or Swollen Wood Floor?
While real trees enjoy a nice rainy day, hardwood floors do not. In general, water and moisture are the main reasons behind Buckled and swollen wood floors . This is because when the wood floor gets wet, the wood naturally swells to accommodate the moisture. All that compression and expansion eventually leads to buckling and swelling. A faulty water heater or refrigerator can spill gallons of water onto a floor, damaging it before you notice it.
This will not apply to occasional, small spills. If you’re clumsy, you shouldn’t break a sweat if you accidentally tip over your water cup, although you should still clean it up as soon as possible.
Moisture isn’t the only way Mother Nature works to buckled and swollen floor wood, as drastic temperature changes are also a known culprit. They passed from cold to hot and back in short order on hardwood strips. Wood naturally expands with heat and contracts with freezing, so a perfectly gorgeous set of hardwood planks can turn into a buckled and swollen floor mess in just a few seasons.
Too much Humidity
Water’s long-lost cousin, moisture, causes buckling and swelling in wood floors. Any part of your home that suffers from higher-than-average humidity is a prime cause for buckled wood. Humidity is moisture, after all, and the more moisture hardwood is exposed to, the more it swells, leading to buckling. Unfortunately, wood floors absorb moisture from the air, so the risk here is fairly high.
This factor goes along with installation, but some problems with your subfloors can cause your hardwood floors to buckle and swell. Damp wood subfloors are a one-way ticket, as are improperly dried concrete subfloors. If the subfloors are prone to moisture, it’s only a matter of time before this moisture affects the hardwood.
A poor installation of a hardwood floor can be prone to various disasters, including warping, buckling, and associated water damage. Poorly installed hardwood is unsightly, with many cracks and openings. Extreme weather takes full advantage of these problems, allowing moisture to fill the cracks. You know how this story ends – with a buckling and swelling floor.
Improper Acclimation or No Acclimation
Acclimatization means laying out your wood planks in the room before installation so they familiarise themselves with your home’s average temperature and humidity levels. On average, acclimation is a process that lasts two weeks, although there is debate as to whether improper acclimation causes buckling. However, many believe that planks installed either too dry or too wet lead to buckling and swelling in the long run.
How to Fix a Buckled and Swollen Wood Floor?
You can fix a swollen wood floor without professional help, especially if the damage is not extensive or when you want to save on costs. Ideal repair techniques depend on the size of the swelling, the extent of the damage, and the underlying cause of the swelling on your wood floor. In extreme cases, some flooring may need to be replaced.
1. Assess the Amount of Damage
You should first inspect your floor to understand the primary cause of damage and the extent of swelling. Water damage can lead to peeling paint discoloration and mold within the planks. Other causes of floor damage may lack indicators similar to those caused by water.
You can mark the affected sections using tape or non-permanent markers to help you choose the best method of repairing your floor. For example, you can tell if excess moisture may be the primary cause of your floor accumulating despite following proper wood floor maintenance techniques. Damp concrete can cause a bulge in your wood floor. Assessments help you solve problems and prevent future damage.
2. Remove Excess Moisture From Your Floor Surface
High humidity levels usually cause wood floors to swell upwards. Drying your wood floor can reduce the severity of piles and restore the wood to its original shape.
There are several techniques you can use to dry your wood floors. Most of these methods are ideal for a DIY setup, practical, and require minimal professional assistance.
- Use a steam iron to remove swellings
- Try to use a vacuum cleaner to dry your floor.
- You can also use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture.
3. Turn on Your Ac and Dehumidifier
Climate control systems can help prevent swelling in your floors. Variations in temperature and humidity can cause buckling or swelling in your wood floors.
Low winter temperatures can cause wood to shrink. Most hardwood floors begin to warp in the winter due to low temperatures. Proper indoor climate control practices minimize damage from environmental extremes and ensure that your flooring remains in top condition regardless of the season or environmental conditions.
Includes practical examples of practices for effective climate control
- Using an ac
- Ensuring that room temperature remains standard throughout the year.
5. Sanding the Swollen Wood Floor
Sanding can help you fix swollen wood floors, but temporarily. You can level out the bulge by sending additional wood grain, although the damage may continue if you don’t fix the root problem.
Although less effective, sanding should be one of your options when dealing with a swollen wood floor. Try other highly effective options before trying to reduce swelling with sanding.
6. Replace the Swollen Floorboard
Some swellings may be too extensive to repair with other means. Replacing floorboards is an effective solution to such extremes. However, it can be expensive and take more time. Check this video to replace it.
While you can DIY a flood board replacement, you can hire a professional service. Poor installation can make the damage worse and cost you more to fix.
Should I Get Help From Experts for Swollen Wood Floor?
If the damage to your floor is extensive, you may look for professionals. Don’t worry, sometimes, the repair job is out of your league because hardwood floors require precise installation and repair. Consult a flooring contractor and collect repair estimates. The entire floor rarely needs replacing. It’s cheaper to get the job done than to buy new flooring and install it. More often than not, the pro simply removes and replaces the affected boards and areas.
How to Prevent the Wood Floor From Swelling?
- To prevent buckling and swelling from Water, maintenance is key. Watch for excess moisture in any appliances, pipes, roof, crawlspace, or any lingering leaks. If you notice a leak, turn off the offending appliance and call a local plumber immediately. Also, avoid placing houseplants on wood floors and place area rugs under the sink.
- To prevent the swelling of the floor due to Temperature Changes, limit exposure to materials and temperature fluctuations. Maintain a healthy relative humidity in your home and operate your HVAC system accordingly. So that your living space is never too hot or too cold, regardless of the temperature outside.
- there are several ways to reduce humidity in your home. Install some high-grade dehumidifiers near hardwood floors or increase your ventilation with fans and an improved HVAC system. Finally, keep hardwood away from wet areas of the home, such as bathrooms. Maintain a humidity of 33 to 55% in your home if possible.
- Have your contractor test your subfloor for moisture during installation to prevent buckling and swelling from subfloor issues. A seasoned professional knows to look at subfloors, but it can’t hurt to mention it. If the moisture content is too high, address the underlying problem before installing hardwood floors. These problems range from leaks to moisture and beyond. Also, ask your professional about having any concrete subfloor slabs professionally dried before laying hardwood.
- To prevent buckling and swelling from poor installation, Find a well-tested and licensed professional with plenty of experience with hardwood floors. Plus, if they offer some kind of guarantee, even better.
Talk to your professor about orientation before scheduling installation to prevent buckling and swelling from improper acclimation or no acclimation. It never hurts to let your plank sit in your house for two weeks before the procedure, although your contract may consider this excessive.
FAQs Related to Swollen Wood Floor
Q. Is Sealant Enough to Protect the Wood Floor From Water?
Sealants are really helpful to protect wooden floors from water damage. However, it is not effective as it does work as a layer only to give some time to get rid of water. So, still, you need to remove water as soon as possible to avoid any damage.
Q. Will Swollen Wood Floor Go Back to Normal?
Yes, it will go back to normal as soon as the temperature and humidity are normal as recommended for wood. The wooden plank will swell by absorbing moisture if the air is humid and will shrink back down if the air is dry.
Q. Does Wood Swell in Winter?
The main reason behind wood swelling is the moisture content in the air. So, the temperature does not affect the wooden floor if the humidity is normal in your room.
Q. How Long Does It Take Water Damaged Wooden Floor to Normal?
It is not obvious that water damaged wooden floor will back to normal. However, water spilling doesn’t cause immediate damage to the wooden floor. For example, you may see damage after 10 days on the floor due to excessive water. So, it’s better if you replace that particular wooden plank.
Q. How Much Does It Cost to Repair Water-Damaged Wooden Floor?
Depending on the damaged area, the repair cost is about $8 – $100 per square foot. It may even cost you more if the issue is widespread. In this case, you may need to replace the entire hardwood floor.
Q. How Often Should Hardwood Floors Be Replaced?
Most properly maintained hardwood floors last 10-20 years without needing any significant work done. However, it depends on the type of wood used for the floor. Always have an inspection of your floor over a time period to avoid any issues.
To avoid repairing a swollen wood floor, be sure to immediately wipe up any spills. Tend to any leaking appliances and repair plumbing problems before they cause flooding. With preventative measures in place, you won’t need to replace the entire hardwood floor.