Man repairing hardwood flooring that was buckling.

How to Fix a Wood Floor That’s Buckling

Hardwood floors are aesthetically pleasing. A timeless addition to your home, they are relatively easier to maintain compared to carpeted floors. They are also easy to install, last incredibly long, and lend a sophisticated and chic look to your space.

Unfortunately, many homeowners have a tough time due to the buckling of their wood floors. Buckling is the reaction of a hardwood floor to the presence of excess moisture. This results in a slight elevation in the floors and creates an uneven surface.

Finding out the proper wood floor buckling fix can be stressful, but the experts at Wall 2 Wall Hardwood Flooring have you covered. Read on for a quick guide to you get started with the repairs.

Know What Is Causing the Moisture

Unless you identify the root cause of the excess moisture and address it head-on, buckling floors are going to become a recurring problem. Ensure that there is a normal moisture level in your house to prevent any further damage to your floor after repair.

Check if you have any leaking appliances or pipes, any drainage issues, or if groundwater is getting trapped in your floor due to any perforations. You should be careful about any flooding incidents, as prolonged exposure to moisture is always bad news for your wooden floors.

Buckling is also a common issue if you live in an area that experiences heavy rainfalls and high humidity. Consider getting a wood moisture meter to keep track of the seasonal changes that cause the wood floor to buckle. These moisture meters can assess the moisture content below the floor without causing any damage to the flooring.

Remove and Repair the Damaged Wood

Start by removing the wood planks carefully, without damaging the wood or paint. Depending on the extent of the damage caused by moisture, you may need to get rid of the entire plank or a part of it. Use a circular saw for partial removal and make a cut to remove just the damaged portion.

If you need to remove the entire plank, you may need a chisel, hammer, and screwdriver. Use the chisel and hammer for loosening the joints, and carefully use the screwdriver to remove the plank. Be extra careful not to disturb the nails that are holding the grooves in place.

Change the Damaged Planks

Repair the damaged planks you can and reinstall them. Then it’s time to replace the floorboards that are beyond repair. Again, make sure to pick planks with the same color and quality as the rest of your flooring.

Make sure to get the correct measurements so that the new planks fit the space. You may need to move the plank around a bit till it sits on the grooves. Then, use a hammer to gently fix the plank in place. Get rid of any nails that remain to prevent the planks from getting splintered.

When you’re installing new planks, leave some gaps between the boards so that there is enough room for the wood to expand. This will ensure that the flooring doesn’t buckle as soon as there is a change in the moisture levels. However, the spacing shouldn’t be too large, as that can spoil the aesthetics.

Replace the Spacers of Your Floorboards

Spacers are an essential part of hardwood flooring, as they help separate the floorboards from the wall. They also help to create a uniform expansion gap in the floor when there are changes in the temperature and humidity.

However, these may get damaged over time. That’s why once you have replaced the buckling planks, you need to check whether the spacers are damaged or the wrong size—if they are too big, they could be preventing the wooden floor from expanding in a uniform manner. If that’s the case, it’s time to get rid of these spacers and opt for smaller ones.

Make sure that the new spacers flatten out completely during installation so that there is enough space for the flooring to expand appropriately.

Add the Finishing Touches

Grab your sandpaper, preferably a fine grit, to start wet sanding the new plank to match the finish to the rest of the flooring. Don’t skip this step—you don’t want mismatched flooring in the house. Wait for the floor to be completely dry before you place the furniture back. Otherwise, moisture can get trapped and cause the floor to bend upward.

Tips to Prevent Your Wood Floor from Buckling

Use these easy tips to protect the floors from buckling:

  • Ensure that your HVAC system is installed correctly and keep the moisture levels in check. You can also consider getting a humidifier to maintain appropriate humidity indoors. Just don’t make it too dry.
  • Acclimatizing the hardwood floors is a non-negotiable step, especially when you get the floors shipped from a different city. When the floors are in a new environment, you need to give them time to adjust. If there is too much moisture content in the new environment, the floor will immediately start to show signs of buckling.
  • Complete all the wet work in your house before you start to install wood floors. This includes fixing the drywall, plastering, and painting.
  • Avoid putting too much furniture or weight on the floor to stop the moisture from getting trapped in the corners.
  • Fasten the floorboards properly. Use high-quality spacers, nails, and staples.
  • Use minimal water while cleaning the floors. For example, vacuuming is a better bet than using a wet mop, resulting in high humidity levels and causing the floor to absorb more moisture. You should also wipe up spills as soon as they happen.

While you can handle a minor wood floor buckling fix on your own, if it’s a bigger job or you’re unsure of the work, it’s important to hire professionals to make sure that the planks are correctly installed. Remember that improper installation can result in continued buckling and cause other issues.

At Wall 2 Wall, our flooring experts are here to take care of hardwood floor repair, no matter what the problem is. Allow our experienced team to make your floors look brand new once again.