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FAQ’s: Holes and Other Mysterious Happenings

problem wood

I see holes in my floors. Some are the size of pinholes and others are slightly larger. They are perfectly round. Some of them are dark and some of them are bright. Some of them have white dust around them and others don’t. What is eating my floor?!
I have a vacation home and when we left our floors were fine. Now they are weird shapes and or are making noise when we walk across it. Why is this happening?
I didn’t notice this before but I did when I nearly tripped over a part of the floor that seems to be over the rest of the floor. What’s happening? Can I fix it?
 

 

I see holes in my floors. Some are the size of pinholes and others are slightly larger. They are perfectly round. Some of them are dark and some of them are bright. Some of them have white dust around them and others don’t. What is eating my floor?!

You have pinworms, powderpost beetles or termites. Termite damage can be indicated by a sagging part of the floor down the flat part of a plank. Sagging at the end of a plank or on a plank joint can be caused by other moisture issues. Termites are small and are white or off-white in color. The dust you see around the holes indicate the powderpost beetles. They dug out of the wood in order to mate and will return to the same holes to lay more eggs. The pinworms are another wood eating creature, smaller in size and often misidentified for powderpost beetles because their noticeable effects are similar.

Your wood did not come this way. Each piece is kiln dried and these types of insects, if any are present are killed at that point. These creatures enter the home through windows, previous floor and wall cracks or on firewood that you bring into the house.

If you have an infestation in your new hardwood floor, you probably have an infestation in other places of your home as well. You’ll want to check any other wood surfaces in your home, especially if the wood is older for similar holes, including antique or wooden furniture pieces. You need an exterminator to eradicate termites. A general contractor should be consulted to deal with any potential structural damage and then a professional hardwood flooring installer can assist you with replacing the affected planks.

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I have a vacation home and when we left our floors were fine. Now they are weird shapes and or are making noise when we walk across it. Why is this happening?

This is known as the “greenhouse effect.” Your hardwood flooring will still react to moisture and humidity changes within the home even if you are not there for extended periods of time. Most of the time, a house has been closed off, its central air units and other humidity control devices, if any, have also been shut off during your absence. This causes the heat that is trapped by the house during the day to stay in the house. When the house cools at night, condensation will form in various places of the home and over time this constant “up and down” effect wreaks havoc on your hardwood flooring. Once you’ve entered the home and caused constant humidity levels to rebalance in the home, you’ll need to take measures on repairing cupping, crowning or eve buckling if it has occurred. See our articles beginning with “Problems” on our “Articles and FAQ’s” page for more information.

When you leave the home again, leave some of the windows ajar a bit to allow for proper ventilation of the home. Use window blocking bars, sticks in the window sills or other security devices to prevent the windows from opening fully in your absence.

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I didn’t notice this before but I did when I nearly tripped over a part of the floor that seems to be over the rest of the floor. What’s happening? Can I fix it?

This is a difference in heights between individual boards. Most of the time this is the direct result of several different things that take place during the installation process. Rarely, it can be caused by a plank of wood that was not manufactured properly. However, during installation, it is the installers responsibility to fully check the material prior to installation and remove any boards that may have offending qualities, such as boards that may have been improperly manufactured. Once the floor was installed, this constituted acceptance of the material. Consult your installation warranty given to you by your hardwood flooring installer for more information. You may need to have those particular planks replaced if the installer is not able to solve the issue through other corrective measures. 

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