New floor popping loudly in middle of night

Q: My question is related to your posting on “popping” or “cracking”, wood floor poppingĀ sound Q&A.

In my 2nd fl bedroom, I recently replaced the old carpet to hardwood floor (not the pre-finished kind). We have, several times, been awoken by the loud popping sounds from the wood floor around 2-4 AM. What is the cause of that? Could it be the old sub-floor is very thin? When we walk on it, we don’t hear any noises. Thank you for your help.

A: My guess, especially since it is a newer floor is that it is moving slightly according to changes in humidity in the house. Especially when the fit of the tongue and groove are tight fit noises like popping sounds could be heard. This should stop in time. Try to control the humidity levels in the house.

Entire floor crackles

Similar Q: On the 2nd floor of my house I recently had the hardwood flooring replaced with new. Now when I walk in a room the entire floor crackles like shattering ice. If I walk around a few times it will stop for a while. At night I can hear it pop even though no one is walking on it. What is wrong and how can it be fixed?

A: Did the installers acclimate the flooring before installing? (Here’s the main acclimation post around here.) It sounds like there is some movement happening. If the milling of the tongue and grooves is particularly tight as the floor contracts it can make such noises. Try to control your humidity levels. I would think given some time the floor will settle down. Unless it starts to cup or buckle I would consider it a temporary annoyance.

Is it true about new hardwood needing to settle?

Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors: We are currently building a new home and the hardwood is being installed. We noticed that even though a silent-floor system was used, the hardwood creaks in certain spots. They tell us that the new oak hardwood needs to settle. There were no squeaks on the subfloor prior to the hardwood.

Is this true about new hardwood needing to settle and if not, is there anything that can be done?

A: I assume the house was dry inside, and at normal living conditions regarding the environment. Also that the flooring was in the house for several days prior to commencing installation.

I did an installation recently. I installed plywood and then the new floor.
I instructed the owner about acclimatizing the floor, which is the entire reason I took it in a number of days before the installation started. The house was empty, and every time I turned up the heat to 70F, I would come in the next day to find the furnace off, even though it got rather cool at night.

After installing the back room, I notice a couple of days later that the floor crackled when I walked on it! Very strange! Then I noticed the finish in that back room very slow to dry. This slow drying followed me through all 3 coats, but not on the front rooms of the house. There had to be a reason! I went down the basement. It was freezing down there. That cold, damp air was coming up under the new flooring. The finish in the front of the house dried only because it was all windows and the sun was heating up the surface of the wood. (This was not desirable either). So, what I am saying is, your problem could be environmental, and if so, it likely will settle down.

Original / moved link

Floors starting to pop in Springtime

Another Similar Q: We recently moved into a home and refinished the hardwood floors which had been down for 5 years. Spring has come (in Sydney) and the floors are now starting to pop and separate at some of the seams. Could this be caused by the refinishing?

A: It sounds to me that the wooden floors are simply reacting to changing environmental moisture levels in the home. Wood can and does release moisture that is in the air. If it is very dry the wood can shrink. Solvent-based top coats generally allow more film stretch than water born urethanes. The popping may be the sound of the finish cracking at the joints from board movement. Perhaps you can add humidity to your home.