Hardwood floors are very resilient if you take care of them. They don’t require much upkeep or very involved maintenance. However, there are things that can happen. One danger is cupping. Cupping occurs when there is moisture present. It’s a distinct danger if you have a flood in your house, or some kind of major spill. It can also occur just when there is a very humid environment. Paradoxically, it can also occur when your home is too dry.
What Is It?
Hardwoods are porous; even the most dense hardwoods have pores. That means that they will absorb moisture over time. That moisture will cause the wood to expand. The expanding wood will press against the surrounding boards. Since they’re nailed down, they won’t move. The expanding wood will then ride up on top of the surrounding wood. That’s one way that your wood can cup. It’s called cupping because the edges tend to rise and create a sort of bowl or cup shape.
This type of cupping is a danger to people who live in humid areas or who have hardwood flooring in moist areas. That’s why extra care is taken when you install hardwood floor in a basement. Basements are more likely to have insufficient insulation and more likely to flood.
The other type of cupping involves wood that is too dry. When wood dries, it tends to contract. However, that contraction is not guaranteed to be uniform. Sometimes, when the wood contracts, it tightens the edges. The edges lift up and form the cup shape.
How to Avoid It
You can avoid hardwood floor cupping by preventing drastic changes in moisture on your hardwood floor. That means cleaning up any spills as soon as they occur. If your home floods, hire professional damage restoration experts to dry it as quickly as possible. Also, make sure you acclimate your hardwood floor before you install it. The amount of time recommended for acclimation differs depending on the manufacturer but it’s usually one to two weeks.
Acclimation involves simply allowing the wood to sit in the room where it will be installed. That allows the moisture level in the wood to reach an equilibrium with the moisture level in the room. It’s good to monitor the humidity in the room as well. If you have a humidifier or dehumidifier, that could be helpful.
These are simple things you can do to avoid hardwood floor cupping.