Planks lifting along seams

Q: I have hardwood floors in a room which doesn’t see much foot traffic, however I noticed that in some places the planks are lifting a little along the seams. It’s not uniform and you can’t see it looking straight on, but if you look from the side it’s definitely noticeable when the sun is shining on it.

Here is an example of one place:

Any idea what is causing this and how to fix it? It doesn’t really look like water damage from pictures I have seen online, so I’m not sure how to proceed.

A: I have an idea, but I need a bit more information. Is this solid wood, nailed down or is it engineered? I’ve seen something like this before with a floor that was nailed down with a power nailer. For whatever reason, when a cleat was fired it did not fully set into the top of the tongue but stuck up slightly. Then the next board was pulled into place and fastened down. But the pressure from the cleat that was sticking up a tiny bit caused the groove side of the board to lift as the picture shows, almost splitting the edge of the board. If that is what is going on you may have to pull the floor. You could try placing a block of wood on the spot and giving it a hard hit with a hammer. To know for sure if there is a nail, cleat or some type of fastener under these lifting spots, get a tiny magnetic stud finder. They are just a tiny cheap plastic housing with another piece inside which is a magnet and will swivel and point to where hidden metal is. Pass it over the spot. If it is drawn to the spot, you know it is a nail/fastener.

Follow-up: Unfortunately I’m renting so I don’t know if it’s real wood, nailed down or engineered. I’m going to pick up a stud finder once and see what I can find. I am seeing areas like this all along the floor only in this one room. In some places it extends down the length of the board, while others it is just one spot.

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