warped wood floor


Hi Doc,

We had about 1800 worth of sq. foot done in hardwood about 7 months ago. It was a sand-in-place (tongue-in-groove, nailed down to a sub floor) job. It turned out beautiful.

My Dad’s been making the comments that he can feel that the floor warps & that it was not a good job. My wife & I beg to differ! Can a warped be “felt”? What I mean is: Is it visible to the eyes or is it so subtle that you have to feel it? I think what he’s feeling is where the planks are joined. Myself, I feel that if sit down & run my hands over them, I can feel that where the planks are joined actually feel “stiffer” (for lack of a better word or description). Should I worry? Thank you for your time,



Dear Vu

You really cannot expect all 1800 sq. ft. to look perfectly flat like a table top. And most hardwood floor sanders don’t level the floor during the first sanding at a 45 degree angle. I do this on most of my floors unless the sub-floor and finished installation are almost perfect. But I charge premium prices for this custom service, along with really good finishing techniques. And unless you had spent a lot of time finding someone as thorough as myself, you would have received the industry standard job. And in most cases it’s good enough for floors. But that said the floor should have no or almost no over-wood showing. That’s when one board is slightly higher that the one next to it, and this MUST be sanded off. It just depends on what you can live with. If you payed a low price for this floor, then maybe these small defects should be accepted.

While it may be true that you can only feel a slight waviness between the floor boards, given the right light in an empty room you might be able to see them. But who is looking that closely, or feeling that closely ? Oh, that’s right your Dad. But you think it looks fine, hmmm.

There is one other factor that by now might be showing up, and that is a true warping of the wood itself, due to the fact that humidity in one side of the broad face is different that the other. This may show up in the middle of the winter, when you heat the house to dessert dryness, and the underside of the wood is somewhat exposed to a damp basement or crawl space. You do need to keep your indoor relative humidity to about 40-60% all year round if you want the floor boards never to warp, or shrink. Buy a wet-dry bulb hygrometer to measure this at http://www.e-sci.com. Order prod. # 848N635. The little cheap metal ones at the hardware stores are not accurate. If you do nothing else increase the humidity, it help the floor and your health.

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As always your Most humble servant, Joseph, the Wood Floor Doctor.