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FAQ’s: Flooring First Aid

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My hardwood floor has wave-like shapes in it. What is that?
My floor has actually come off of whatever it was attached to in one or more spots. What do I do?
I see larger than normal gaps between the planks and the edges of the planks look like chapped lips. Is that normal?
My floor has some cracks along the tops of the planks that run the entire length of the board but not on the edges. It looks like it’s chapped or peeling and it’s not happening on the whole floor, just a few here and there. What’s causing it?
My floor squeaks when I walk on it, but only in a few places. This didn’t happen when I installed it. What can I do?
My floor isn’t level anymore. What happened and how do I fix it?
There is a big knot right in the middle of the planks of my floor and I hate it. Plus, some of these pieces look like they aren’t even the same wood! What do I do?
My floor is showing wear a lot sooner than I thought it would. How do I fix it?
My pet keeps soiling one spot of the floor and the stain is awful. What do I do?
My floor is rough in some places but not in others. It wasn’t like that when it was installed. What’s happening?
The color of my floor is changing. In some places it’s faded. Why?
I have dents in my floor. I thought my floor was hardwood and this wouldn’t happen. Can I fix it?


My hardwood floor has wave-like shapes in it. What is that?

That is most likely cupping or crowning or a little bit of both depending on your situation. Your hardwood floor is cupping when the board develops a dip in the center of it and the edges rise into peaks. Your hardwood floor is crowning when the center of the planks begin to rise above the surface of the rest of the floor creating small “waves” or “speed bumps.” Either issue can be slight or very noticeable. For more information on cupping and crowing and what do about it, see our article Problems: Cupping and Crowning.

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My floor has actually come off of whatever it was attached to in one or more spots. What do I do?

This is called buckling and is caused by either extreme amounts of moisture all at once, extreme amounts of moisture built up and left uncorrected over time or extreme pressure in the wrong spot of a floating floor. A professional hardwood flooring installer will be able to tell you what exactly needs to be done to correct the situation. Each scenario is different. For more information on buckling see our article Problems: Buckling.

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I see larger than normal gaps between the planks and the edges of the planks look like chapped lips. Is that normal?

Normal gapping and cracking can occur with seasonal humidity changes with all types of hardwood flooring. Take measures to equal out the humidity levels in your home to between 30 and 60 percent humidity with the help of humidifiers, dehumidifiers or climate control systems. Once the humidity levels have been stabilized for 7-14 days, re-examine your floor. If the problems still exist then contact a professional hardwood installer to determine further corrective action. For more information on gapping and cracking see our article Problems: Cracking or Gapping.

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My floor has some cracks along the tops of the planks that run the entire length of the board but not on the edges. It looks like it’s chapped or peeling and it’s not happening on the whole floor, just a few here and there. What’s causing it?

This is called “face-checking” and it only happens to engineered hardwood flooring. This means that the veneer, the top wood layers themselves, were too thin when it was manufactured. For warranty purposes, this is something you want to contact the authorized Wood Monsters reseller you purchased the wood from to discuss.

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My floor squeaks when I walk on it, but only in a few places. This didn’t happen when I installed it. What can I do?

Squeakiness can occur if the air is too dry in the house, but more often than not, it can be caused by not enough nails using during installation. The type of subflooring that the floor was attached to also plays a factor. The wrong kinds of adhesive could have been used or not enough adhesive. Check your installation warranty to see what might be covered. Also read through it to determine actions you should not take to avoid invalidating your warranty. For example, trying anything to remedy the situation outside of regulating the humidity levels in your home could invalidate an installation warranty depending on the installer. If your floor is no longer covered under warranty, try simple and inexpensive methods that include adding wax to the offending nails or adding baby powder to the location of the squeaks. Always keep your home at regulated humidity levels to avoid most problems you’ll encounter with any hardwood floor. A professional hardwood flooring installer may recommend adding more nails or strengthening the subfloor to correct the issue.

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My floor isn’t level anymore. What happened and how do I fix it?

Your subfloor or foundation has warped become loose or cracked and settled depending on your situation. This is considered to be a structural issue with the home itself. Unless you have proper repair experience with that type of repair issues, you’ll need the help of a general contractor, not a professional hardwood floor installer. Your floor joists may need to be replaced or strengthened or both depending on the situation. Once that is corrected a professional hardwood floor installer can assist you with fixing the hardwood floor itself.

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There is a big knot right in the middle of the planks of my floor and I hate it. Plus, some of these pieces look like they aren’t even the same wood! What do I do?

Remember that every box of wood you order will come with different shade variations of the same species. The wood markings and grains should be inherently similar. Because trees are a natural product, some pieces will have large knots in them. All planks should have been inspected prior to installation. Any pieces you did not like then, should not have been installed. It is the responsibility of the homeowner and the installer to make sure all of the product are correct prior the beginning of the installation. Once the floor has been installed, this issue becomes the responsibility of the installer. The easiest fix is to replace the ugly planks you didn’t want with the spare ones that may have been left over from your installation.

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My floor is showing wear a lot sooner than I thought it would. How do I fix it?

A floor showing wear more than it should can be caused by not maintaining it properly, repeated grit or dirt particles being left and walked on (such as in the case with high traffic areas) and or repeated small scratches made by shoes with sharp or scratched edges, pet nails or unprotected furniture legs. Sweep and vacuum on a regular basis, make sure your pets nails are kept trimmed and try to adopt a “no shoe” policy. Have your floor recoated if necessary and install area rugs where foot traffic is high. No warranty covers small scratches or dents in hardwood flooring that comes as the result of normal day-to-day living or because of owner error.

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My pet keeps soiling one spot of the floor and the stain is awful. What do I do?

You have a couple of different options. You could replace the planks all together. That would offer the best result. But if you can’t do that then consider refinishing the floor with a medium or darker stain to help it blend in. With solid hardwood flooring this won’t be too much of an issue. If you have engineered hardwood flooring, you’ll need to find out if the thickness of your particular floor will even allow resanding. Or if you can’t do that, then consider covering it with a piece of furniture, a plant or area rug until you can. Then provide Fido with some extra guidance or potential medical attention to relieve this problem.

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My floor is rough in some places but not in others. It wasn’t like that when it was installed. What’s happening?

Wood is a natural living product even when it’s in the form of hardwood flooring. The wood will still swell up in reaction to moisture. If the roughness is just in one particular spot, there could be a constant source, albeit small source, of moisture that is hitting the plank. The moisture source will be near where the roughness is. For example, if it is by a sink, it could be from spills or splashes generated while washing dishes or a small drip from a leaky pipe under the sink. If it is near a window or door, condensation run off may to blame. If it’s near where pet dishes are located, place an area rug under the pet dishes to keep the moisture from coming into direct contact with the floor. Once the source of the moisture is corrected you may need to lightly resand and recoat that part of the floor.

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The color of my floor is changing. In some places it’s faded. Why?

All hardwood flooring will change colors over time. It’s a natural aspect to the hardwood flooring itself. However, fading can happen when you don’t rotate your furniture on a regular basis or if you have a spot on the floor where the sun is constantly shining on it. Fading can also happen if you used oil based soaps or wax (which you should never do). Rotate your furniture and change your lighting options. Eventually, these fades will go away. For more information on fading see our article Problems: Hardwood Flooring Color Variations.

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I have dents in my floor. I thought my floor was hardwood and this wouldn’t happen. Can I fix it?

Dents can happen due to improper shoes being worn, rocks that are stuck in the bottom of a shoe or work boot pressing into the surface or because furniture that is dropped back into place. Wood is a living product and has cellular structure. When the cells get damaged in one centralized location, they collapse and a dent appears. Avoid wearing high heels, spiky shoes like cleats and make sure you place area rugs on both sides of doorways that lead outside to help trap debris before it gets to the floor. Don’t drop your furniture, even kitchen or bar stool chairs on the floor with force. Hand scraped, brushed and chiseled floors show less dents that can appear from regular wear and tear. 

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