What Makes Hardwood Planks Crack
As the name suggests, hardwood floors are made entirely of wood. This material is vulnerable to damage from extreme humidity. When storing furniture or wood planks, consider the temperature and humidity levels of the storage area. Ignoring this measure can cause irreparable damage to the flooring.
The most ideal humidity levels for wood flooring are between 40-60 percent. To be on the safe side, the humidity levels should be about 50 percent. When humidity levels fall below 30 percent, the hardwood flooring will dry up and start developing cracks.
As wood dries out, it also contracts causing splits to develop in the wood. When humidity levels go above 70 percent, hardwood flooring becomes waterlogged leading to expansion and eventually, warping.
Humidity levels can be a fluctuating factor that homeowners have little control over. When humidity levels outside a home increases due to weather conditions or an incoming rainstorm, the levels inside the house will also increase. Such changes in humidity levels affect hardwood planks even if protected by packaging. Those storing wood during the summer must take certain precautions to prevent damage to the wood because of sudden changes in the weather or humidity levels.
Managing Humidity Levels
Homeowners can protect hardwood flooring and planks by installing various temperature controls and dehumidifying units in their homes or storage areas. Air conditioners can be effective because they have a cooling effect, which lowers humidity levels. Dehumidifiers are necessary for homes set in regions with high moisture levels; they help extract moisture from the air.
Set the dehumidifier to 50 percent to maintain steady humidity levels for wood floors. However, dehumidifiers may not help prevent low humidity. If the air in a home or storage area is dry and non-humid, use vaporizers to add moisture in the air, which will raise humidity levels.
Managing Humidity Swings
Huge swings in humidity levels cause the greatest damage to hardwood flooring. Such changes cause wood to expand and contract several times. Air conditioners that do not intake lots of outdoor air help to maintain steady humidity levels. This helps prevent sudden changes in humidity levels that cause damage to wood flooring. Same measures should be taken with heat and cold. Rooms with wood flooring should have consistent temperatures to reduce the chances of damage.
Humidity and Temperature
Air and wood absorb moisture and humidity to certain saturation levels. The saturation level is determined by the temperature in a room. The warmer the temperature, the more moisture wood absorbs. Temperature changes contribute to changes in humidity levels.
Humidity and Deterioration
Changes in humidity levels cause wood flooring to expand and contract. Continued expansion and contraction makes wood flooring to develop cracks, which make joints come apart. This is why wood flooring is not recommended for small windowless kitchens and bathrooms.
Wet mopping wood floors leads to the introduction of excess moisture in the wood. Clean wood flooring by dusting and using damp mops; this does not damage wood flooring.
Why Wood Floors Crack
Wood is organic. This means it expands and contracts in response to temperature changes and other factors. Processed wood has the same properties making it susceptible to cracking and warping. Homeowners should ensure proper installation and maintenance of wood flooring as well as control of environmental factors to reduce the chances of cracks developing on wood floors.
Cracks on wood flooring may occur due to lack of acclimation before installation, improper installation and exposure to excess moisture or very dry air. Cracks at the edge and joints of wood flooring are signs of wood expansion.
Homes with dry air will have hairline cracks most evident during winter when the air is dry and disappear when the temperature in the home increases. Such cracks are seen as normal reactions expected with environmental changes.
Before purchase, wood flooring is dried and cut into planks. It is then treated with chemicals to protect it from rot, packaged and shipped to outlet stores. During these processes, the wood is exposed to various temperature and humidity levels.
Remove the wood planks from the packaging and allow them to sit out for at least two weeks before installing. This allows the flooring to become accustomed to temperatures in the environment in which they will be installed, which reduces the amount of cracking as a result of expansion and contraction.
Flooring not subjected to acclimation is likely to expand and contract beyond the environment’s limits, which results in cracks and buckling within a year after the installation.
When installing wood flooring, level the sub floors. Pressure points can be created by gaps between the sub floor and flooring planks. This pressure may lead to the development of cracks along joints and seams in the flooring.
When gluing wood flooring to a cement sub-floor, use an adhesive designed for joining wood to cement. In addition, consider moisture barriers when installing in homes located in damp climates. Moisture barriers are thin sheets of polyethylene laid between sub-floors and wood flooring. This barrier prevents moisture from infiltrating the wood.
Make sure there is a quarter to half-inch gap between the flooring and walls around a room. This leaves room for the flooring to expand as a result of natural changes in humidity levels. Such gaps prevent excessive pressure on the wood, a situation that may lead to development of cracks.
Properly installed Wood flooring is less likely to develop cracks as a result of environmental changes. However, poorly maintained wood flooring may still develop cracks. When cleaning wood flooring, use products designed for cleaning wood floors. Do not allow wood floors to dry out excessively. Apply urethane annually to the flooring to allow it to maintain the right amount of moisture. This reduces the chances of splitting and cracking.
Wood flooring will develop cracks if exposed to excess water. Taking the right steps during and after installation as well as practicing correct maintenance procedures can preserve wood flooring and prevent cracks from developing.
Repairing Noisy Hardwood Floorboards
Maddening floor squeaks, which are frequent in a lot of homes, usually take place after the house has come to rest and flooring planks have become dry and contracted.
As you pace from corner to corner on the floor, panels chafe against each other or glide against nail chutes to a discord of screeches and scrapes. Wobbly sub flooring, both solid board and plywood, will likewise give off penetrating squeaks. Customary hardwood strip flooring is the most at risk to give off a large amount of squeaky noises, but each and every kind of flooring can create irritating sounds.
It is surprisingly simple to put an end to just about any shrill hardwood floor and here are a few ways how:
Mending from Underneath
If the flooring is on top of a cellar or underground room, go underneath to construct the repairs. Get started by arranging for someone to pace from corner to corner on the floor as you pay attention from underneath. When you make out a squeal, have the individual directly above knock on the flooring so you can locate the precise area. After that, grab hold of a narrow wood shim and cover it with carpenter’s glue. Lightly pat the shim into the area in the middle of the beam and subfloor. Do not push it in too much as you want to avoid lifting the floor covering. Your aim is to fill up the opening on top of the floor joist and remove any gap in the floorboards. For added upkeep, hammer in a 1 ¼ inch drywall screw positioned upwards through the floor joist and shim, and down into the subfloor.
An additional helpful method to quiet floorboards from underneath is by means of a skillfully created piece of hardware known as the Squeak-Ender. It can be bought for under $10. It is made up of a threaded bar fastened to a level mounting salver and a steel bracket fixed with a squared-off knob on one side. Putting it in place is straightforward. Fasten the mounting salver to the bottom of the sub floor with the four screws available in the kit. Place it precisely underneath the whiny area. Glide the brace all around the threaded bar and attach it to the beam. Twirl a nut onto the bar, and then constrict it by means of a wrench until the sub floor is dragged down tight against the floor joist.
Laboring From Overhead
When you cannot obtain right of entry to the floor beams from underneath, your sole option is to do the maintenance from overhead.
The secret is to quiet the squeals without scratching the polished floorboards. As luck would have it, there are two closure kits, both made by O’Berry Enterprises, and either can accomplish exactly that for you.
The Squeeeeek-No-More Kit, which can be purchased for around $30, can be expended on fitted carpet that is placed on top of a lumber sub floor. The set is made up of a screwdriver bit, a pilot screw to aid in locating beams, depth-control fitting, and 50 specifically intended breakaway screws.
To begin, find the floor joist closest to the squeal. Place the depth-control fitting on the carpet precisely on top of the floor joist. After covering transparent tape around one of the screws to stop it from snagging on the carpet threads, push it all the way through the fitting. Take away the depth-control fitting, tilt it to one side, and put the screw head into the opening at the top of the fitting. Sway the fitting side-to-side until the screw head breaks off underneath the exterior of the sub floor.
The Counter-Snap Kit, which can be purchased for under $10, makes available an efficient, almost unnoticeable technique to end screeches in hardwood floorboards. The kit is made up of a screwdriver bit, depth-control fitting, and 25 breakaway screws. However, unlike the Squeeeeek-No-More arrangement, the screw head routinely breaks off when you push the screw into the depth-control fitting. Set off by pushing a 3/32 inch diameter pilot hole all the way through the floorboard closest to the whine. After that, place a screw within the depth-control fitting and into the pilot hole. Push in the screw until it breaks off underneath the exterior of the wood. To hide the screw, fill up the pilot hole by means of wood putty.
Silencing Shrill Staircases
The inner stairway is the source of more peeps than floorboards as staircases are brought together by dozens of lumber parts.
As time goes on, these portions swell and wither. The links among them come loose. Consequently, every single footstep you take gives off an irksome squeak or moan.
Four straightforward steps for decreasing screeches from behind:
1. Search for right of entry to the backside of the stairway in lofts and cellars as these overhauls are the most useful.
2. From the back, rap shims covered with glue into the links flanked by the parallel treads.
3. Do the same to the perpendicular risers.
4. Or, attach wood units into the crooks where the risers meet the treads.
If you cannot get access to the back of the stairway, attempt one of these topside repairs:
• Grab hold of a number of extremely narrow wood shims and pat them into any slack or shrill links you discover. Tidily cut off the shims with a utility knife.
• Paste and nail a span of quarter-round casting alongside every single step.
It might not be likely to quiet each “yelp”, but with the methods defined directly above, you can without a doubt decrease the prattle to an infrequent squeak.