New hardwood floor is 'bumpy' between boards!

cmm6797August 8, 2011

We had new hardwood installed in our kitchen. It was installed over a new subfloor. The contractor had been installing our kitchen cabinets and appliances and now that he's finally moved all of his equipment out of the room we're noticing something strange about the floor. It LOOKS smooth but where the boards meet up with another board, it is slightly higher. So if you run your hands across the boards you feel that it's slightly raised. This is the case in the entire kitchen.

We're totally perplexed and stressed about this. The only thing we could think of is that maybe they were installed so tightly that they're kind of buckling ( for lack of a more expert description).

Please...if anyone has any insight please let me know.

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"It LOOKS smooth but where the boards meet up with another board, it is slightly higher."

An 'engineered' and 'pre-finished' product?

The machining on the edges is rarely as perfect as site finished.

They had been using bevels on each edge to hide this.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 11:15AM
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It could also be picking up moisture from below raising the edges.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 12:50PM
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The floor is unfinished red oak; sanded, stained and polyurethaned after installation. From what I've read online, the situation is called cupping. Our contractor didn't have any insights on whether it would get worse or stay the same. Does anyone else have experience with this?? Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 2:18PM
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Are you able to take pictures to show this? What's below the floor and how was it installed? Is it on-grade or above grade?

As Brickeyee pointed out I would expect non-perfect edges with prefinished, but with site finish I would expect things to be pretty smooth. So unless the installer skipped sanding, I'm thinking there could be a moisture problem.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 3:14PM
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If the floor was site finished it may have not been allowed to acclimate long enough before installation, or there is a source of moisture, likely below the floor.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 4:46PM
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Was it hot and humid in your home this summer, after the refinishing? My story: I had my 100 year old floors (oak and maple) refinished late last fall. They were perfect: beautiful, smooth. In July we had tropical rainforest-type heat and humidity for a week, and I have no air conditioning. The floors got bumpy in exactly the way you describe--I was horrified! Evidently, the poly between the boards did not fully harden and became more liquid in the heat and bulged out. My refinisher is going to redo them (sand lightly, re-poly) this fall. But what a total drag as I have to move everything out of the house again, etc! I had no idea this could happen!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 7:49AM
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Wood is an hygroscopic material. It will take up and release moisture and will do so on all sides and edges.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 10:29PM
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