How to Fix Floor Cupping

How to Fix Floor Cupping – Common Causes & Solutions

You just got those stylish hardwood floors fitted in your home. However, a few days pass, and you start to notice that the floor seems wavy or even has ripples in it. You might also see some raised ridges alongside your wooden floor planks. Well, this is called floor cupping, and today, we will tell you how to fix it.

What is Floor Cupping?

Like Floor gaps, cupping is also one of the most common problems with floors, mostly hardwood flooring. Cupping is a sign of moisture build-up, and wooden materials tend to react more quickly than other flooring types. Catching on quickly to floor cupping and addressing the issue promptly can save you from a lot of trouble and expenses.

What are The Top 5 Reasons For Floor Cupping?

As we said in the beginning, floor cupping is caused by moisture build-up, which causes unevenness or raised edges on hardwood floors. In extreme cases, cracks and splinters may occur. Below are the top five reasons for floor cupping you can avoid.

1.   Moisture Exposure

The foremost cause is that your floors might come into contact with excessive moisture levels. This generally occurs in case of leaked plumbing or damp basements.

2.   Water Spill or Leaks

Your floors might experience excessive water spills or water leakage from plumbing or some other source. Wood quickly absorbs the water which results in floor cupping.

3.   Poor Subfloor Ventilation

Oftentimes, the airflow underneath the floor is not properly ventilated which causes moisture to build up slowly over time. Wood especially absorbs this moisture to swell up and crack.

4.   Increased Indoor humidity

The area where the floor cupping is occurring must be experiencing humid air. With high indoor humidity, moisture levels begin to rise in the air and floors absorb them to cause cupping.

5.   Poor Floor Installation

One of the top reasons for floor cupping is poor installation of the flooring. It can include uneven subfloor preparation to leave gaps within the floorboards. All these can cause moisture to penetrate and result in floor cupping.

Read Here: How to Fix Floor Gaps – A Comprehensive Guide

How To Fix Floor Cupping in 5 Easy Steps

Floor cupping of hardwood floors occurs with the decrease in air humidity levels above or the moisture levels below the floor. Whatever the form of imbalance, it leads to your floorboards forming a concave appearance with raised edges. Below are the 5 easy steps on how to fix floor cupping.  

1.   Assess The Moisture Damage Accurately

The first step is to check how much moisture levels are there that are causing this floor cupping. There are specialized meters for that to check moisture content within the subfloor & floor material. These meters are accurate in telling the moisture content. A professional floorer will perform humidity tests as well to address other underlying causes.

After assessing the moisture levels, you can then move on to utilizing the right method to fix floor cupping. This involves taking care of the source of moisture and its root cause. Some of the popular techniques include adding a moisture barrier, dehumidifying the floors, or repairing a targeted floor area.

2.   Tackling the Moisture Issue Via Proper Methods

Taking care of the moisture issue is critical to prevent future floor cupping. Professionals have different techniques for this and the most commonly used is improving the floor ventilation. This involves enhancing the airflow underneath the floors to prevent moisture build-up.

Some other commonly used methods include the use of dehumidifiers to regulate the air humidity levels of the room. One root cause is a leaking plumbing system and repairing it often does the job perfectly.

3.   Let Your Hardwood Floors Dry Naturally

Once the moisture build-up problem is tackled, you need to let your flooring dry naturally. The time it takes for your hardwood floors to dry depends upon the extent of floor cupping & the previous moisture levels. It can take well from a few weeks to a few months.

During this drying time, you must maintain an optimal condition to help with faster moisture evaporation. Using fans or dehumidifiers can assist with quicker drying of the floorboards. However, refrain from excessive heating as it can damage the floors even more.

4.   Sanding The Dried Flooring

Once your solid wood floors are dried up, you need to sand their surface to even out the previously cupped areas. Professionals start by sanding the surface with coarse-grit sandpaper to remove high spots. Then, they continue to sand the floors with finer grits to get a smoother finish.

Sanding cupped floors removes any splinters or rough edges caused by cupping. However, your floor fixer should avoid sanding the floorboards too much, as this can weaken them.

5.   Applying The Finish & Sealant

The last step in fixing floor cupping for wooden floors is applying the finish and sealant. After sanding the floors to even out the surface, a fresh coat of the preferred finish is applied to create the aesthetic appeal once more. This finish also acts as a protective layer against any moisture build-up in the future.

To fortify your floorboards, the floor fixer or a reliable flooring installation company will add an extra layer of wood sealant to your floorboards. These sealants block off any small gaps preventing the moisture from seeping into the floors and causing floor cupping. Some popular finishes include varnish & polyurethane. For sealant, using an oil-based sealant is recommended.

Our Final Say

To conclude our discussion of how to fix floor cupping you can notice floor cupping as early on as it happens. Before you call a professional floor fixer, check the underlying reasons yourself. If the problem is in its early stage, and due to normal causes, you can fix it yourself. For better assessment & bigger damage control, call a reliable & top-rated floor repair company.