Because solid timber floors are a natural product, they react to atmospheric changes more than engineered floors. This means that indoor temperatures and humidity need to be closely monitored to prevent planks from warping in response to moisture in the air. This is known as cupping (when the plank has a concave appearance) or crowning (when the plank has a convex appearance). In Part 1, we looked at cupping and crowning in more detail and what causes floors to react in this way. Part 2 will focus on solutions to fix boards that have been affected, followed by preventative measures.
Solutions for Cupping
Before you dive into fixing the problem, you must first pinpoint what is causing the excessive moisture under the floor and balance it with the moisture levels on the surface. Cupping will continue if the moisture imbalance is not addressed. As soon as you have addressed the problem and balanced out the moisture levels, allow the floor to re-acclimate before conducting any further actions. If planks still show signs of cupping after this equalization process, you can sand and refinish the floor to even-out the surface.
Solutions for Crowning
Follow the same steps for cupping by identifying the cause of the excessive moisture levels on the surface of the floor. Locate the affected area and allow to dry and re-acclimate before sanding down if necessary. If there is severe water damage, it may be too extensive to repair. To prevent this, always address the problem as soon as possible. If caught early, equalization will often solve the cupping problem with no remedial action needed.
The main way to prevent cupping and crowning is to keep the atmospheric levels indoor at a consistent level, adapting to seasonal changes where necessary. Wood floors naturally shrink in the winter and expand in the summer due to air temperature changes. A good way to monitor this is by installing a humidifier or dehumidifier to keep humidity levels constant.
Avoid any water having direct contact with the floor surface – solid wood floors are not waterproof and any water absorption can lead to cupping or crowning. Clean spills immediately and don’t use a wet mop to wipe floor boards. Place mats under areas that are susceptible to water spills such as underneath a pet bowl or next to the sink.
If you notice cupping and crowning in your wood floor, try these solutions to fix the problem. You should then follow this prevention advice to keep moisture levels balanced and floors at a smooth level.