Common Issues with Wood Flooring

Wood is a popular choice for floor covering. Here are some of the issues we find most frequently during a home inspection.

Rotted, Warped, Buckled, or Stained:

Rotted, warped, buckled, or stained floors are the result of water damage. Water damage can come from a variety of sources, such as plumbing leaks, HVAC leaks, window leaks, or careless floor washing.  The most common places to find damaged wood flooring is in kitchens and bathrooms, especially around commodes.  Another common place we find water damage in wood flooring is by the door where people likely remove and leave wet shoes, or in front of bedroom closets where people probably stand after showering (without drying their feet) to pick out clothes. Wood is vulnerable to attack when the moisture content is above 20 percent.  Air must also be present (wood totally submerged in water will rot very slowly, or not at all).  The implications of rotted, warped, buckled, or stained flooring include cosmetic problems, trip hazards, or deterioration of the structure below. Depending on the extent of the damage, and whether the problem is active, we may recommend control measures, flooring replacement, or structural repairs.

Squeaking Floors:

Speaks are typically caused by finished flooring not being held tightly against the subflooring, or subflooring not sitting tightly against joists. Although annoying, squeaks are common and not a performance or structural issue.  Solutions for correcting squeaks include pulling the finished flooring down against the subflooring, and/or pulling the subflooring down against the joists. This can be done from above or below. In many cases, a cost/benefit analysis convinces people to live with the squeaks.

Exposed Tongues:

Exposed tongues on tongue-and-groove flooring are usually the result of sanding the floor to create a new wood finish. Exposed tongues may result in slivers or splinters for people walking in bare or stocking feet. They may also result in exposed nail heads and possible injury. There are obviously cosmetic implications, and pieces of flooring may become loose and/or lift as a result.

Wood flooring is a popular choice for homes and can last for many years with proper care. We look forward to seeing you at your home inspection!

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