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14 Important Ways in Which Your Wood Floor is Trying to Tell You Something

14 important ways in which your wood floor is trying to tell you something

Have you ever found yourself exasperated, just like dealing with a crying baby, trying to decipher what your wood floors are trying to tell you?

Wood floors, just like babies, communicate through signs, and it's important to pay attention to these signs to identify any potential problems with your hardwood floor installation.

In this comprehensive guide, we will equip you with the knowledge to address common issues that may arise with your wood flooring installation.

So, get ready to tackle these challenges and impress your friends with your newfound expertise on solid wood floors.

Without further ado, let's explore the telltale signs that your floor may be trying to communicate:

14 tips to identify problems and take care of damaged wood flooring

1. Those ‘huge’ gaps between the floorboards.

Where? Keep an eye out for significant gaps between your floorboards. While this may be common in older houses with original flooring hidden beneath carpets, it can also indicate a problem. These gaps are usually caused by the natural expansion and contraction of wood during different seasons.

Why? The reason they appear in the first place is due to the nature of the wood which is to shrink during the winter and expand in the summer.

Some home interior renovators love restoring those hidden ‘jewels’ and they often face the problem of the gap.

How to fix it? Consider using a gap filling mixture that matches the colour of your floor. However, if your floorboards are excessively loose and unstable, the gap filling may not hold up.

Be aware. The bad news is, though, if your boards are particularly loose and tend to move, in cases where they don’t have enough support from below, then expect a large chunk of your gap filling to fall off.

2. Squeaky boards make your days noisy and nights miserable.

Where? If your floors produce annoying squeaks and creaks when you walk on them, it's a sign of loose boards or inadequate support. Insufficient spacing between joists can lead to the boards bouncing and making noise.

Why? Calm down, though, it's just the wood adjusting to the humidity and the temperature.
If your floor 'complains' while you are walking on top of it then we might be talking about loose boards, joists that are too spaced apart so they do not provide enough support to the boards and they have enough space to bounce and of course creak.

How to fix it? You can insert shims to stabilise loose boards, apply construction adhesives to fill gaps along the joists, or consider adding more joists for additional support. In severe cases, you may need to replace the flooring altogether.

Be aware. The bigger the floorboards are the bigger the gaps can be and then proportionally the noise.

Huge gaps between wood planks
Scary noises during the night from the wood floor

3. Spotting another life form forming its colonies in places often overlooked.

Where? Don't overlook the corners, hidden areas, and even underneath your wood flooring where mould, mildew, or fungus can thrive. Excessive moisture is usually the culprit behind these infestations.

Why? Well, water is the culprit here and the following raised humidity does not help either. Every time where you have a level of constant humidity be assured a new era of the mould spores infestation ensures.

How to fix it? Act promptly by cleaning the affected areas with a bleach-water solution. For deep-seated mould problems, professional wood floor sanding and refinishing may be necessary. Remember to monitor the area for any recurring spores.

Be aware. This type of problem can be extremely persistent and once spotted should be watched over time for some leftover spores.

But bare with me there are more!

4. Is this a Dalmatian disease or in other words why are there so many stains and discolouration? 

Where? Unsightly stains and discolouration on your wood floors can be a result of water damage. Dark or light stains around water sources like sinks or entryways are common indicators.

Why? Water leaves this present for you after drying up and you'd be lucky if that is the only one, for reference checkpoint 3. Sun gives a tanto people but where we can shed our old skin and be renewed naturally once the wood has been exposed to too much sun it changes its colour irrevocably thus the wood floor discolouration becomes visible.

How to fix it? Consider hardwood sanding and refinishing. It may require some investment, but it will restore the beauty of your floor. Keep in mind that different wood species may react differently to sun exposure, leading to varying degrees of discolouration.

Be aware. Some wood species darken and some lighten up due to sun exposure. Wood floor staining before finishing somehow limits this effect. 

Mould causing health issues over time
Dark stains on wood floors

5. Soft, smelly kind of rotting floor which no amount of air freshener can evaporate.

Where? If you notice a soft and rotting sensation or unpleasant odours emanating from your floors, water damage could be the cause. It could be due to a broken pipe or other sources of moisture.

Why? Water has found a permanent residence in your wood flooring because of a broken pipe or some other reason.

How to fix it? Remove the affected wood promptly and fix the source of water infiltration. Ignoring the rotting can lead to further structural damage.

Be aware. if left untouched the rotting process can destabilise the joists and lead to future injury.

Have you heard of these?

6. Floor blocks starting to resemble a bow? What?

Where? Floor cupping refers to a condition where the floorboards develop a bow-like shape. This typically occurs near water sources. Cupping is caused by moisture seeping underneath the flooring and being absorbed by the wood.

Why? It appears when water finds its way under the flooring and the wood being nice and spongy sucks it all.

How to fix it? Dehumidify and warm the room gradually. You may need to remove a few boards to facilitate drying. If the problem persists, it may be necessary to remove the entire flooring and install a moisture-resistant underlay.

Be aware. Concrete floors have a high level of humidity which is why a barrier in the form of waterproof underlay should be installed between the floor and the wood. 

7. Does the floor resemble a small mountain?

Bad news for you, the floor is crowning. That means your solution about the spilt water on the entrance which was to ‘leave it dry on its own as it’s warm anyway’ did not work as well as expected.

Where? If your floorboards start to buckle or crown, it indicates a significant problem with the hardwood floor installation. Buckling refers to the boards lifting from the subfloor while crowning occurs when the center of the boards becomes higher than the edges.

Why? Water coming from the top gets sucked from the boards and they expand in the middle. It is called buckling in cases when due to severe water damage several boards might lift and twist.

How to fix it? Removing the water or humidity source, leaving the boards to dry on their own but that has to happen gradually, sanding them and leaving them to dry, completely changing the damaged area, sanding and refinishing.

Be aware. Once you have resolved to change the floorboards you'd then have to sand the whole area, not just the new boards and then refinish it. This is done to avoid colour mismatching as your new flooring can't be able to be an exact match to the old one so the repair will be visible.

Rotting floorboards
Crowning and cupping due to water damage on wood floors

And can you believe there are even more?

8. Is this floor from the same wood?

Or in other words, why is the colour different, why are there so many knots and those visible defects what are they doing there?

Where? These inconsistencies can be found throughout the floor.

Why? The variation in appearance is determined by the grade of the flooring, which correlates with its price. Higher-grade floors have fewer imperfections and come at a higher cost. Grades include rustic, natural, and prime.

How to fix it? Once the wood floor has been installed and finished, it becomes challenging to replace specific pieces without risking an uneven appearance and color variations.

Be aware. If you plan to replace individual wood pieces, it's crucial to do so during the initial stages of the floor installation.

Wood flooring grades

9. Can a lacquered floor have dandruff or am I not seeing right?

Where? Blemishes can occur near doorways, heavy furniture, or frequently used pathways.

Why? Inadequate drying time for the stain or the finish coats can lead to blemishes. Additionally, aggressive rubbing or using incompatible cleaning liquids can cause bubbles, blisters, and peeling.

How to fix it? If the damage appears superficial, you can attempt buffing it as a do-it-yourself solution. For more severe damage, consider hiring a professional sanding service. Also, be cautious when selecting cleaning products.

Be aware. Hiring a professional ensures a better outcome, and in case of any mistakes, their terms and conditions may cover a free redo.

10. Wave in action? You are dealing with an uneven floor.

Where? Unevenness can be observed throughout the room, with waves running along the length of the floor.

Why? The subfloor or supporting joists may be the culprits. Warping or looseness in the joists can cause the floor structure to become uneven.

How to fix it? Prior to any floor leveling, it is necessary to repair or replace the affected joists.

Be aware. Repairing or replacing joists and flooring can be a costly endeavour.

11. Can't forget to mention the pet stains.

Where? Dark stains at random unspecific places.

Why? Pets occasionally leave their mark in the form of stains when standing in a particular spot. It can be accidental or a result of misbehavior due to feeling neglected.

How to fix it? Deep cleaning might remove the stains but can also affect the color of the floor's finish. For a comprehensive solution, consider a low-cost sanding service followed by refinishing.

Be aware. Some damage might be so deep and extensive that you might have to change the stained boards.

Floor joists twisting causing wood floor to become uneven
Pet stains on wood floors can be difficult to clean

12. Can't seem to be able to do the sliding on the floor routine, why?

It's because the floor is too rough, isn't it?

Where? This issue can be experienced anywhere on the floor.

Why? Moisture can cause the surface grain to rise, particularly in the case of oiled floors. Other factors include inadequate sanding using low-grade abrasives or contamination during the lacquering process.

How to fix it? You can lightly sand or screen the floor and apply a new coat of finish to achieve a smoother surface.

Be aware. While the additional smoothness may be desirable for some, it may reduce grip for pets walking on the floor.

But look at this one! Familiar, isn't it?

13. Walking with high heels on the wood floor - Well, hello floor dents!

Where? Mostly in hallways.

Why? Some wood types are softer and can be easily dented by the pressure exerted by high heels or heavy objects.

How to fix it? If a dent appears, sand the affected area and reapply the finish.

Be aware. Similar damage can occur when heavy objects are dropped or furniture with pointy legs is used.

Sliding and dancing on wood floor
High heels make dents in wood floors

And at last...

14. Do you like seeing creepy crowing creatures scurrying on your floor at all times of the day?

Yeah, we hate looking at them, too. Even on photos.

Where? Pests such as termites, powderpost beetles, drywood borers, or carpenter ants can be found in various locations.

Why? These pests are attracted to moisture, warmth, and the wood itself. If your floor provides favorable conditions, they may infest it.

How to fix it? Contact a professional pest control service to inspect and treat the affected areas.

Be aware. Prevention is better than a cure. Regularly inspect your home and maintain a moisture-free environment to discourage pests from invading your wooden floors.

Termite infestation
Larvae of powderpost beetles and the damage they cause to wood

Some additional information:

Signs of termites can be visible holes or sagging floors, also wood might sound hollow when tapped. Some shed wings, faecal pellets that resemble sawdust can also raise your awareness towards a pest problem.

Signs of powderpost beetles are circular emergence holes, this pest starts its life as larvae that bore into the wood through surface cracks. As beetles can develop for years while eating and before exiting you can imagine the amount of damage that can be accumulated in the form of pathways. If you happen to find those emergency holes in your home check to see if there is a presence of a fine powdery boring dust around it. Sometimes the holes are old and you can confirm that if you see an undamaged floor finish on top of them or they might be old of their shape is elongated instead of circular.


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