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I had some water damage a couple years back and my floor was completely replaced after drying the sub floor. Both the people who dried it and the new floor guy said it was dry enough to put new floor on.

But since then I heard a popping sound once in a while which started at my feet and spanned the replaced area. It happened for a month every time the temperature was changing (spring / fall). I'm in New England.

Just now I heard the popping and noticed that the floor had popped up like a mountain range. It's getting colder now and I'd imagine the dry air would make the wood shrink. It's red oak. The closet which had been popping is popping less now that the floor erupted.

What is the cause? Should I fix this myself? If my entire walk-in closet is popping, should it all be replaced as well?

floor1

floor2

floor3

  • Either your subfloor isn't flat there or your hardwood isn't able to expand in the direction it needs to. From the picture I'd guess the latter. Do you see any gaps (extra space) to the left or right of this split (with respect to the picture), especially by the walls? Also, are the three dots on the left board (at the very bottom of the picture) putty covered nail holes? If so, that board can't float. – LinuxDisciple Oct 19 '16 at 0:19
  • There are no gaps elsewhere that I can see. But the floor goes under the trim so I don't see the end. That piece has nail holes in it. The height of the bulge is about 1.5 inches now. – djv Oct 19 '16 at 0:36
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You stated this is red oak. Are you sure it isn't engineered flooring with a thin red oak veneer? It looks to have some sort of particle or pressed fiber board under the veneer. Either of the latter is subject to warping via moisture expansion but I don't think that's your situation. I think the fractional expansion of all the boards across the room are expressing themselves at this one length where it meets an anchored (nailed) section.

I would consider using a circular saw, since these don't appear tongue & groove (T&G), to slightly widen the current gap. Using the saw, while the boards are uplifted, should widen the gap less that the width of the saw blade but be just enough to let the boards lie flat. A second pass might be necessary to allow the boards to lie flat afterward.

At some point, during the Winter, there might be a noticeable gap. If so, I'd suggest using either: a) clear or tinted rubbery caulk (not wood filler...which doesn't allow for expansion/contaction) or, b) sufficiently thick twine stained in matching floor stain and pressed into crack.

  • I think I will try this. It is red oak as seen in my new pic. Thanks for the suggestion – djv Oct 20 '16 at 0:26

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