Old floor popping sounds during the night

Q: I know that the question of wood floors making popping sounds during the night has been asked; however my white oak floors are original to the house built in 1948. I did have the floors refinished about 6-7 months ago with water-based finish and like the others, the popping only happens at night without anyone walking on them. I’ve had this house for 17 years and it’s never done this before. Do you think it’s still humidity related? I live in Southern CA so it’s pretty dry here.


A: As companies have been forced over the years to develop water borne coatings they soon discovered they also needed to develop special sealers to prevent an issue called side bonding. These coatings are more brittle and rigid than oil based finishes and thus don’t stretch as much with movement in the floor. I suspect the noises you hear are the finish stretching and cracking along the board edges or between boards where it slipped into tiny gaps between boards. Once that has completed the noises should stop.

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