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What Does It Mean If a Hardwood Floor Is Wavy

You love the classic, beautiful look and feel of having a hardwood floor in your home. But what happens when you look down one day and see that your hardwood floor appears to be … wavy? Believe it or not, this isn’t an uncommon problem. Read on to find out more about this issue, including why it’s happening and what can be done to fix it.

What Causes a Hardwood Floor to Look Wavy?

There are two kinds of damage that can make your floor appear wavy. They are known as warping and cupping.

In either case, this damage is because of humidity or moisture or just related to water in general. Sometimes, this happens because of a shift in weather, perhaps due to the seasons changing. Other times, it’s due to excess water or humidity.

This is because hardwood floors are very sensitive to water. Wood is a hygroscopic material, so your floors absorb water, which leads to problems.

The longer the problem causing hardwood floors to look wavy goes on, the worse the damage will be. Once water damage starts, it unfortunately doesn’t take much for it to spread quite fast. And this also means that any necessary repairs will likely cost more as well. That’s why it pays to be aware of how your flooring, as well as your home in general, is holding up.

Too much moisture doesn’t just make the hardwood floor wavy. And this damage isn’t a problem just for the look of your home. It can also be a safety hazard that affects the health of the occupants of your home. The absorption of moisture can also allow mold and bacteria to grow. Like the water damage, these hazards also spread quite fast. And because of what happens to the floors with cupping and warping, it can even cause people to trip.

What Is Cupping? And Why Does It Happen?

Cupping is a somewhat common type of floor damage that is also known as wash boarding.

As you may have guessed from the name, cupping is when the edges of the planks that make up your hardwood floor curl up. This happens because the hardwood can swell when it absorbs too much moisture. In turn, as the edges rise up, the middle of the plank sinks down. So it takes on a sort of cup shape. And that shape creates the wavy floor appearance that causes your concern.

As explained above, the reason for this damage is related to water. With cupping in particular, it’s usually due to an imbalance of moisture. And, typically, the imbalance is that the bottom of the floor has more moisture than the top.

What causes such a moisture imbalance? One reason could be if the air in your home is especially dry. This can happen in the winter or as the result of air conditioning in the summer. It could also happen if there is any moisture trapped under the floor.

If My Floor Is Cupping, What Can I Do to Fix This Problem?

Cupping is actually a milder form of floor damage, even if it might not look it. Extreme cases aside, it is usually fixable and/or reversible. This means that unless you want to, you would likely not have to install a completely new floor.

Often, the way to fix this damage is simple. You just have to figure out the right moisture balance to help things go back to normal. But don’t expect a big change overnight. Moisture movement can sometimes take a little while, so stay patient.

The other important thing to do is to take steps that could prevent cupping from happening again in the future. This means you should be more aware of moisture balance going forward. For instance, you may need to tweak how often you run heating and cooling units or humidifiers and dehumidifiers.

How Is Warping Different Than Cupping?

Warping, which can also be known as buckling, is a more serious type of damage than cupping. Like cupping, the damage happens because of how the wood absorbs moisture. In this case, the moisture usually comes from beneath the floor. The excess water could be due to a leak or flooding.

In some cases, the hardwood pulls away from the floor. When the damage is severe, it can even pull up a few inches.

How Do I Fix Minor Warping?

Like with cupping, the key to fixing the floor is to restore balance with the moisture. Because the moisture beneath the floor can cause so much damage, having a dehumidifier in the basement can help fix the problem. Or it can even prevent it from happening in the first place. As with cupping, keep in mind that the damage will not be reversed right away.

How Do I Make Sure My Wavy Hardwood Floor Are Not Too Far Gone to Save?

Hopefully, you will catch the signs of water damage to your hardwood floor early enough to save it. Here at Wall 2 Wall, we have plenty of experience with water-damaged hardwood floors. For the simplest, repair contact us as soon as you notice that damage.

Whether you need a hardwood repair or to install a new hardwood floor, make sure you go with the best. No matter the extent of the damage, at Wall 2 Wall, we will find a way to restore your hardwood floor. Because of our expertise, we will know whether to restore the boards, replace them, or do a mix of both. You can also count on a reasonable rate for our expert work.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, contact our experts here at Wall 2 Wall. You can find more information on Wall 2 Wall on our website. You can trust that we are your absolute best choice when it comes to working with hardwood floors in Portland, Oregon. Check out our gallery of work on our website and fill out the online form to get a free estimate today.

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