I recently moved in a used house, built in 2013. After moving in I discovered some minor damage on one of the floors next to a heating radiator. The damage with a first look seems minor and it's hard to notice. The floor is a bit swollen upwards and the wood has a different - worn out texture than the rest of the floor. Pushing it downwards appears to move slightly. I can't see anything out of order on the ceiling in the room right beneath.

My main question is if this seems to be an old damage or it is something that is ongoing and I need to address.

Attaching a few images: enter image description here

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And an overview of the damaged area: enter image description here

  • it is something that is ongoing ... how is anyone supposed to know this? ... you are the one that has to determine this
    – jsotola
    Feb 14, 2021 at 19:39
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    – HoneyDo
    Feb 14, 2021 at 21:00

1 Answer 1


I think your implied question is: How can I determine if this is an active problem or is a one-off from a previous incident?
Solving water issues often requires detective work. It's hard to tell from the pictures but from your description it sounds like minor water damage. The first step is to check for a logical source of the water. Remember, it's possible it occurred during or shortly after construction. The pictures show the damage to be mostly away from the wall. You might check for signs of a leak around the radiator but it's unlikely to be the issue unless there is floor damage close to it. The other possibility is a roof or skylight leak directly above that spot or even a potted plant that was over-watered at some point. With a skylight leak you may or may not see signs of moisture around the skylight - watch for drips during the next rain or snow event.
The important thing is to check for moisture currently present in the flooring. Often it's hard to tell without a two pin moisture meter. They're available at most home supply stores and aren't too expensive. That will give you an idea of how recently the problem occurred. If a meter shows no sign of unusual moisture content it will at least allow you some piece of mind. If there is moisture - keep detecting.

  • Thank you for the answer. Yes my concern is to find out if this is an active problem or something old. This is my first time dealing with wooden floors so I have no idea how water damage looks like on such floors. I can't see any logical source of water in that spot. I will try to check with the seller if he recalls any leakage on that spot in the past. Although it seems unlikely that there is a water pipe under the floor in that spot I guess it's not impossible so if the seller can't recall anything I guess I'll have to check with a moisture meter. Thanks again!
    – hiddenbit
    Feb 15, 2021 at 16:14
  • It's unlikely to be caused by a water pipe from under the floor. If it was you would probably see signs of it in your ceiling or somewhere below. However, water will do strange things across floor joists. I've seen it travel from a tub drain in an upstairs bath across 15 feet of ceiling below with no obvious damage and then drip from a bedroom ceiling light. But it's tendency is to always go down - simple gravity.
    – HoneyDo
    Feb 15, 2021 at 17:11
  • The ceiling of the room below was the first thing to check but seems just fine. I contacted the seller and he says that the only thing he can think of is that used to be a desk chair at that spot and that there was not protection used on the floor. Guess that can explain the worn-out texture but I'm a bit puzzled about the bump-swelling
    – hiddenbit
    Feb 16, 2021 at 16:18

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