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Restoring Damaged Wood Floors: Cupping & Crowning

When moisture hits hardwood flooring, wood expands and becomes susceptible to cupping and crowning – two common wood floor problems that, if not addressed properly and at the right time, can require costly sanding and refinishing to fix.

Water leaks from broken pipes or refrigerator and dishwater lines, for example, cause moisture imbalances and high humidity in the wood. These imbalances bring about bloating and expansion of the wood, which will bend in its desire to return to a naturally curved state.

As wet hardwood flooring expands, cupping can occur. Cupping is a condition where wood board becomes concave – edges high with a center that dips low. It is brought on when the bottom of the wood flooring remains wetter than the top surface. When cupping occurs, it’s important not to rush quickly into sanding.

Crowning –the opposite of cupping – occurs when the top edges of the board are sanded off too early and become lower than the rest of the board as it returns to normal moisture levels. Sanding the floor to remove crowning should only begin once drying measures are complete and normal moisture levels have been achieved. At ServiceMaster Clean In A Wink, we use special water meters to quantitatively test moisture levels – meaning we’re never left guessing if floors are truly dried to industry standards.

Whether you have solid wood flooring, engineered flooring or laminate flooring, water affects all three of these popular flooring types in one way or another. As a result, it’s important to have your floors dried quickly and thoroughly. In some cases, immediate attention and proper drying methods can help avoid altogether the disruption and cost of sanding and refinishing.

For more information about hardwood floor cleaning and renewal, view our YouTube video.