Looking for a cure for a warping hardwood floor not caused by a leak

I have a client who is has a lovely house built in 2010 that has oak hardwood floors throughout. There are apparently no other moisture issues besides the hardwood flooring. This problem is on the third floor and the house has hardwood on all three floors. The owner is noticing that the first floor is starting to have the same problem. Important to note that the third floor warping is directly in the middle of the floor and runs the length of the third floor. The house has an open staircase that goes from the first to the third floor. There has not been any moisture around the windows. The house has warm air heating. The floor(s) have been replaced but they are warping again. Owner is assuming that it is an excessive moisture problem and wants to install dehumidifiers.
I haven't seen the house yet and a blower door test has not been done. I don't want him to spend money on an expensive dehumidification system if it isn't going to cure the problem. Thoughts would be welcome.

Tags: humidity, warped floor

Views: 14496

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

David,  your suggestion is really very good.  Since so many dishwashers are hooked up into the sink,  it's obvious to check only the sink.  But if the dishwasher motor seals are failing,  water will drip out onto the flooring and follow it back to the lowest point.  Seldom is the lowest point in a floor near the outside walls.  And it may be following the subfloor  -- mostly invisible to the owners.

Nine years in the house is about the time you would expect dishwasher seals to fail..

Refrigerator leaks can do the same...

How are your gutters and downspouts and extensions functioning? and is the land still banked away from the house properly?  Hundreds of gallons of water come off an average size roof during a say 1" rainfall. Best time to look at this is during a downpour.  I had one home that went from needing 2 basement dehumidifiers emptied each day to once every 2 days just by regrading a few spots around the perimeter of the house.

I'm skeptical there is a humidity problem on an upper floor this time of year, but first step would be to gather data. Measure humidity. For $100 or less one can by a USB ported temperature and humidity logger.

Does the home have excessive internal sources of humidity such as 5 big dogs or a gazillion house plants?

This may be too easy of an answer, but I had a problem similar to this in a rental home I was working on. Turns out the occupant was using a steam mop (Shark) and thought nothing of it since she "used it on all her hard floors." This is probably something that is laughably simple compared to what you are facing, but you might want to gingerly ask how the floors are generally cleaned at your clients home.

My observation is this - Mid Atlantic region:  If a 2400 ft2 house is at about 5-8 ACH50 (which most new houses here have been at since about 2000) and there are 3-4 people in it, then the RH is about 40-45% if there are no other moisture problems.  Enough spaghetti gets cooked, enough showers get taken, and enough breathing is going on to supply a balance with the air leakage to maintain a reasonable RH. If the house gets smaller, tighter, or more heavily occupied, you can get problems.  Likewise if a house is bigger, looser, or more lightly occupied you can get problems.

One of the local large (3-400 a year) national builders specializes in houses over about 3500 ft2 and on up to about 6500 ft.  They found that if they installed a humidifier on each system as standard (either 2 or 3 systems) their floor warranty problems virtually disappeared.

If this house has 3 living floors, it may be a large house.  And the third floor maybe the warmest, therefore have the lowest RH.

RSS

Home Energy Pros

Home Energy Pros was founded by the developers of Home Energy Saver Pro (sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy,) and brought to you in partnership with Home Energy magazine.  Home Energy Pros is sponsored by the Better Buildings Residential Network.

Latest Activity

Malcolm McKelvie replied to Alan Gindt's discussion Minneapolis Blower Door System for sale in the group Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase
"yes I would pay the delivery fee!"
2 hours ago
Alan Gindt replied to Alan Gindt's discussion Minneapolis Blower Door System for sale in the group Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase
"Malcolm, If you want to pay delivery from USA we can talk. Otherwise no thanks."
3 hours ago
Malcolm McKelvie replied to Alan Gindt's discussion Minneapolis Blower Door System for sale in the group Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase
"How old is it? I assume it is in good working order? I'm interested in it but the price needs…"
4 hours ago
William H Nickerson replied to Kim Tanner's discussion Fantastic innovation
"So that's where you use those True Flow plates....."
8 hours ago
Colin Genge updated an event
Thumbnail

Passive House Testing Webinar with Kevin Brennan of the Passive House Academy at Online

September 29, 2015 from 1pm to 2pm
Tests needed to qualify as a passive houseWhy we’re seeing an increase in PH buildingsBest…See More
15 hours ago
Colin Genge updated an event
Thumbnail

DM32 Smart Gauge 101 Webinar at Online

September 22, 2015 from 1pm to 2pm
Webinar Learning Objectives:Gauge settings and operationCalculate results in the gaugeUpdate the…See More
15 hours ago
Colin Genge updated an event
Thumbnail

Blower Door 101 Webinar at Online

September 15, 2015 from 1pm to 2pm
See how easy it is to do your first test. Learn tips to perform your first duct test in only twenty…See More
15 hours ago
Colin Genge updated an event
Thumbnail

Zone Pressure Diagnostics (ZPD) with Bill Eckman of NME$A Webinar at Online

September 10, 2015 from 1pm to 2pm
Benefits and limitations of Zonal Pressure Diagnostics (ZPD).Best practices for accurate…See More
15 hours ago

© 2015   Created by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service