Will Cupped Hardwood Floors Flatten Out? (Causes & Fix)

Hardwood floor is a thing of beauty in terms of house decoration and structural strength. Hardwood flooring is becoming more popular day by day. It gives your house a solid core strength and an interesting look.

Today, we are going to discuss the cupping of hardwood floors and their causes & fixes.

What is hardwood floor cupping?

Hardwood floor is made by putting together planks. Sometimes the balance of moisture inside these planks gets destroyed. This results in the planks swelling on the inside.

This gives the plank a bumpy look on the inside and breaks the symphonic relation between the planks.

The cupping of hardwood floors can be caused by seasonal change as well. The significant change in temperature and humidity of air can cause the swelling of the planks. But the cupping of hardwood floors that happens due to seasonal change has a short-term effect.

The air conditioning of your house can also sometimes cause hardwood floor cupping. In that case, you need to fix the air conditioning of your house. Sometimes faulty subfloors can cause hardwood floor cupping.

Whatever the reason may be, it is always best to seek the help of an expert when hardwood floor cupping happens.

Will cupped hardwood floors flatten out?

Cupped hardwood floors will flatten out. But the process will not be natural in all cases. If the cupping has happened due to seasonal change, then the cupped hardwood floor will flatten out naturally. But in other cases, special measures are needed to be taken.

Let’s discuss whether or not cupped hardwood floor flattens over time and if it can be repaired.

Will it flatten out over time?

The flattening out of cupped hardwood floors often depends on the cause of the cupping. Sometimes the cupped hardwood floors flatten out on their own. Other times special methods need to be applied to flatten it out.

If the cupping of the hardwood floor has been due to seasonal change, then it will definitely flatten over time. The change of temperature and humidity is one of the main reasons that are responsible for the temporary cupping of hardwood floors.

But if the cupping has been caused by pipe leaks and faulty subfloor, then most often than not the cupped hardwood floor will not flatten over time. In that case, special fixing measures need to be taken to flatten out the cupped hardwood floors.

Can it be repaired?

Sometimes the cupping of the hardwood floor can be temporary. In that case, the swelling of the planks will be gone and the hardwood floor will regain its normal structure.

If season change is the reason behind the cupping, then the hardwood floor is estimated to be fixed by itself naturally.

In other cases, like pipe leakages, faulty subsurface, and air-conditioning, the hardwood floor can be repaired manually. It can be done by addressing these issues directly. You can simply repair your leaking pipe, faulty air-conditioning, faulty subsurface, and so on.

If the condition of the cupping has gone to such a level that it can not be repaired,  you will then need to replace the whole hardwood floor. But most often than not, the cupped hardwood floors can be repaired.

What causes hardwood floors to cup?

There are many reasons why hardwood floors start cupping. Some reasons are temporal while others are permanent. Let’s look at some of them:

Density Of The Plank:

Hardwood flooring is made by putting wood planks together. Sometimes these planks are not dense enough. Thin wood gets affected the most by seasonal change. As a result, the moisture of the plank causes it to swell and shrink.

This creates a gap between the blanks and damages the hardwood floor. Sometimes new hardwood floors start cupping because of the density of the planks.

Change of Weather:

One of the natural reasons for cupping hardwood floors is the change of weather and temperature. Especially in summer and winter, the change of humidity is significantly more than in other seasons.

That is why during summer and winter, the hardwood floors start cupping on their own.

Faulty Subfloor:

Many of the time, hardwood floors are put on a subfloor. The condition of the subfloor plays a huge part in terms of good hardwood floors. If the subsurface is faulty, then it can cause the planks to swell and shrink.

Faulty Air-conditioning:

If the air-conditioning of your house is not maintained properly, then it will destroy the balance of moisture in the planks. Then the planks will start swelling and shrinking that will create gaps in the hardwood floor.

Faulty Drainage System:

All the houses have drainage systems. Sometimes, the pipes of the house start leaking water and other fluids that can directly affect the hardwood floor. This causes the hardwood floors to cup.

Faulty Ventilation System:

Sometimes, the vents of the house are full of unwanted substances that can gradually change the moisture of the hardwood floor. The hardwood floor will start cupping slowly because of the faulty ventilation system.

Wrong mopping tool:

Sometimes, mopping the hardwood floor with the wrong tool can cause the planks to swell and shrink. The edge of the planks will start lifting and create gaps between them.

How to dry out and fix cupping hardwood floors?

Sometimes, the cupped hardwood floors will fix on their own. But most of the time, the cupped hardwood floors need fixing. The dying out and fixing process will be discussed below.

Use of Dehumidifier:

The cupping of hardwood floors usually happens due to the change of humidity. The summer and the winter are the two seasons that are mainly responsible for the cupping of hardwood floors.

In these two seasons, the change of humidity is frequent and significant.

Using a dehumidifier during winter and summer can be a great way to address this issue. While using a dehumidifier, you will need to close the doors and windows of the room.

The dehumidifier will bring the extra moisture out from the plank and stop it from swelling and shrinking.

Use of Fan:

You can use industrial fans to dry out cupped hardwood floors and fix them. In fact, you can use a fan and dehumidifier together to make the process more smooth.

At first, you will have to start the fan at full speed in the affected and open a window. An industrial fan is a great way to fix the hardwood floor that has been damaged by water leakage.

Use Of Moisture Meter:

A moisture meter can help you to find out the condition of your cupped hardwood floor.

If the moisture meter indicates that the moisture balance has not been restored, then you will have to keep using a dehumidifier, fan, and vacuum to dry out and fix the cupped floor.

Replacement Of The Planks:

Sometimes the cupped hardwood floor can be so severe that you will need to replace some of the damaged planks. Some planks will not respond to the drying out and fixing process. In that case, you can not help but replace those planks with new ones.

How to prevent hardwood floors from cupping?

There are many steps that can be taken to prevent hardwood floors from cupping. Some of them are:

Proper Installation Of The Planks:

You will first of all need to determine the weather of your area and install hardwood floors according to that weather. You will have to properly install the planks on the floor without leaving any gaps or uneven spots between them.

It is best to install a hardwood floor in your home with the help of a professional. If the installation process is not done correctly, the cupping of the hardwood floor is a sure thing.

Introduction Of Humidifier:

If your house contains a hardwood floor, it is better to install a humidifier system in your home. It will maintain the balance of moisture in the planks and prevent them from swelling and shrinking.

A humidifier will prevent your hardwood floor from cupping in summer and winter when the humidity changes significantly and frequently.

Usage Of Vacuum:

If by any chance, you spill water on your hardwood floor, then you will have to use a vacuum to get the water out from the hardwood floor. If you let the water stay on the hardwood floor for a long time, your hardwood floor will start cupping.

Check Drainage And Ventilation System:

Most of the time, the hardwood floor starts cupping due to faulty drainage and ventilation system. So you will have to check your drainage and ventilation system regularly to be sure that they are not causing problems to your hardwood floor.

Final Thoughts

The flattening out process of the cupped hardwood floor depends on its causes. If seasonal change has caused the hardwood floor to cup, then it will flatten out naturally. If the cupping is due to a faulty HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system, then it will not flatten naturally.