Hardwood Floor Buckling in Summer

Hardwood Floor Buckling in Summer

Hardwood Floor Buckling in Summer

All wood floors have a tendency to expand in the summer as a result of how wood responds to moisture. Wood absorbs moisture when exposed to air with a high moisture content (MC) or high relative humidity (RH). Extreme wetness can result in cupping or even buckling, which is when the borders of the wood boards rise above the center.

If you are experiencing buckling on your hardwood floor during the summer, you’re not alone. It happens to a lot of people, and there are many causes for this problem, including humidity levels. However, it’s most likely caused by moisture, as floorboards absorb water and press against one another. Hot summers and dry winters are prime times for this issue to occur. In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common causes of this problem and how to solve them.


Wood flooring, mainly hardwood, is especially vulnerable to changes in humidity. The best way to preserve the beauty of your wood flooring is to properly acclimate it to the climate in which it will be used. Proper acclimatization can prevent cupping, buckling, and other problems caused by changes in humidity. It’s also a good idea to use a dehumidifier or ac to improve the air quality inside your home.

Because wood flooring is shipped from a climate different from where you live, it needs time to adjust to its new environment. Most manufacturers recommend seven to 10 days for a hardwood floor to reach its equilibrium moisture content. However, the actual acclimation period depends on the moisture content of the wood at the time of delivery, the humidity level in the home, and other factors. In some cases, acclimation may take longer than seven days. However, it can be much longer.

Hardwood Floor Buckling in Summer

You should ensure that the subfloor moisture content is equal during the acclimation period. The Northwest Flooring Association (NWFA) specifies that wood subfloor moisture content must be no more than four percent for strip flooring and two percent for plank flooring. Most professional installers will perform this step as part of the installation process. While this process may take a few days, it is worth it for peace of mind.

While a lack of air conditioning in the summer can result in dew on the grass and car windshields, humidity levels are also much higher indoors. Homes with large bodies of water tend to be warmer than homes without air conditioning. Consequently, wood floors are prone to distortion and expansion. If you are not careful, you could end up with a subpar installation. If this happens, ensure you acclimate your hardwood flooring properly before installing it.


In the summer, wood floors tend to expand, cup, and buckle. This is due to moisture in the air. Because wood absorbs moisture from the surrounding air, it expands and contracts. If you’ve noticed this problem, contact a hardwood floor professional for a solution. This problem occurs more often in American cherry wood, which is prone to lightning. In addition, the summer sun causes your floor’s finish to fade and the wood to expand.

In addition to fading, exposure to sunlight causes hardwood floors to darken or bleach. UV light causes the most damage to wood, followed by visible and infrared light, which causes solar heat. However, UV light is the most harmful to wood, so it is crucial to protect your floor from sunlight in the summer. Wood is photosensitive, meaning it reacts to sunlight in different ways.

Narrow boards

Seasonal changes cause this problem. Wood swells or contracts according to humidity levels. If the wood expands in summer, narrow boards will shrink in winter. Filling the gaps between boards can cause them to buckle. But you can prevent it by using special techniques to ensure proper acclimation of wood. Here are some of the methods that you can use:

The first method is to use special hardware and install shims between the subfloor and joist. This method can prevent subfloor lifting. Other methods include installing special hardware that anchors the floor to the joist. But hot weather damages hardwood floors just as much as cold ones. High humidity in the air causes wood to absorb moisture, causing warping and cupping. This is particularly noticeable in floors that are prone to gaps during winter. In addition, high humidity causes wood to expand and contract, but it’s gradual. So it won’t be noticeable every week.

Another method is to check the moisture content of the flooring and space the boards properly. Narrow boards tend to move less than wide ones so that you can stack them approximately a foot apart. If you have wider planks, you need to use spacers between them. This allows air to circulate between the boards. Also, you should check the moisture content of the wood to determine its moisture content.

Another way to prevent this problem is to keep the indoor humidity level reasonable. In summer, humidity can reach up to 90%. High humidity can cause hardwood flooring to cup, which causes the edges to rise higher than the center. In addition, water spills can absorb moisture from the air, causing the affected boards to lose their structural integrity. This moisture problem can cause damage to narrow boards on hardwood floors.

Quartersawn configuration

Summer heat expands wood floors, causing them to cup, buckle, and distort. This is due to the air’s high moisture content and relative humidity. During the summer, your wood floor may expand and cup, causing it to look discolored or warped. Here are some ways to prevent summer-related hardwood floor buckling and cupping. Read on for more. This article will cover four common causes of hardwood floor buckling.

Wood expands differently from board to board. Rift-sawn wood expands sideways, while quarter-sawn wood expands vertically. Plain sawn wood develops more frequently than quarter sawn or rift sawn wood. Wider floorboards will expand and gap more than smaller ones. A five-foot-wide board will shrink twice as much as a two-and-a-half-foot wide plank.

Engineered flooring

One way to keep your hardwood floors from buckling in the summer is to install engineered flooring. Engineered flooring has a wood or synthetic core that is more dimensionally stable than solid hardwood. As a result, these floors are less susceptible to humidity fluctuations, and manufacturers recommend acclimating them to your home for 48 hours before you install them. This allows the wood to reach a moisture stability level in the top veneer before it is installed. Manufacturers will provide instructions on how to do this.

A wood floor buckles in the summer mainly because of repeated contact with water. This can damage the floor significantly with each drenching. To prevent this damage, you must identify and eliminate the source of moisture. If you know your home is humid, you can take preventive measures such as installing a moisture barrier. This will stabilize the humidity levels and prevent wood floors from buckling.

The humidity levels of summer can cause wood floors to shift and buckle. While minor swelling isn’t a cause for alarm, significant shifting is. To prevent summer buckling, install floor mats at all entrances and ask guests to wipe their shoes before they step on hardwood floors. Another simple yet effective way to prevent hardwood floor buckling in summer is to vacuum spills as soon as they occur. Vacuuming is preferable to sweep.

Humidity levels are another cause of wood floors buckling. Humidity changes in summer can affect solid or engineered hardwood floors. Changing humidity levels in summer and winter will cause wood floors to expand, contract, buckle, and cup. Because the wood can shrink and expand, the floor will become constricted and eventually buckle and cup. For this reason, it is essential to have an air conditioning unit running continuously.