Buckled wood floors and humidity

Q: I laid a oak tongue and groove floor in winter on two layers of plywood. The humidity in the rooms was a bit low but last summer, when the humidity increased the flooring buckled up. Can this be because I didn’t leave enough gaps in-between the plywood sheeting underneath.

What can you suggest to fix buckled wood floors?

A: The flooring should be checked, as well as the surface it will be installed on with a moisture meter prior to installation. There should be no more than a 4% difference between the 2. The flooring should read about 7-9% moisture. The humidity inside the home should be kept in a range, if possible. No less than 30% in winter, not more than 55% in summer. If it was very dry in your home when you installed the floor, and is now high, and especially if you have not left a small expansion gap along the walls where the flooring meets the wall, it could swell, and not having room to move, will put pressure on the flooring, and it can cup or buckle.

Use of humidifiers, de-humidifiers and air conditioning can help ease this problem.

I think you need to purchase a hygrometer from Radio Shack to keep tabs on the relative humidity in your home, and if the floor is acting up, perhaps a moisture meter, though they are rather expensive.

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