Cupping or air bubbles in engineered floor please help

Discussion in 'Beginners Forum' started by handyflooringpros, Aug 9, 2012.

Help Support Flooring Forum by donating:

  1. Aug 9, 2012 #1

    handyflooringpros

    handyflooringpros

    handyflooringpros

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2012
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    ,
    Hello my name is Jeffrey and I have just started a flooring service in the Pennsylvania area . I received a call for a engineered wood repair . I went to see it and it was something I never saw before . Literally bubbles in the floor . From doing my research it looks like its an expansion problem . The run is longer than 30' . I am under the assumption that after 27' you must put a t- mold to allow for expansion. So my thoughts to fix the floor would be to cut an 1-2" gap after about 15' and install a t-mold . Will this fix the problem ? Also if the answer is yes , how long does it take for the floor to flatten back out ?
     
  2. Aug 9, 2012 #2

    Dan

    Dan

    Dan

    Professional Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2011
    Messages:
    326
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    , MO
    The thread title has me a bit confused.

    Cupping is defined as the edges of the boards being higher than the center. Bubbles would be in the finish only.

    The only time I've ever heard of the length of a run needing an expansion moulding is when installing laminate.

    Are you maybe seeing peaking at the ends of boards?

    Where are the pictures? We like pictures.

    By the way, welcome aboard, Jeffery.
     
  3. Aug 9, 2012 #3

    Incognito

    Incognito

    Incognito

    Professional Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2011
    Messages:
    915
    Likes Received:
    250
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Hi Jeffrey.

    Don't take this the wrong way but what experience and qualifications do you have to be in this business? Your questions sound like they come out of left field as if you just fell off the turnip truck.

    ..............what DO you know about floors and where did you learn?
     
  4. Aug 9, 2012 #4

    handyflooringpros

    handyflooringpros

    handyflooringpros

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2012
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    ,
    Dan,

    I have worked for a flooring contractor doing hardwood floor installation for 8 years . We strictly did hardwood floor installs. My boss didn't like to do anything else . Two years ago he retired . With the economy being the way it was I began doing some side jobs and since flooring is the field I had my experience in I decided to try to expand my knowledge with laminate and vinyl, no carpet though. I am a solid installer but was never really taught how to repair . If you look at the floor you will see "humps " or "air bubbles" when you step on them they kinda sink in. They had the same problem in another location and a flooring contractor cut a strip in the floor and now that "hump" is conpletely gone.
     
  5. Aug 9, 2012 #5

    handyflooringpros

    handyflooringpros

    handyflooringpros

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2012
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    ,
    Dan,

    I read a few threads online and that is where I first heard the term cupping . It looks like "humps" or like air is sitting under the floor . They had the same problem on another part of the floor and the flooring contractor cut a small strip out the floor and the problem went away .
     
  6. Aug 9, 2012 #6

    Dan

    Dan

    Dan

    Professional Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2011
    Messages:
    326
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    , MO
    If you mentioned that this is a floating install, I must have missed it.

    If expansion is causing the humps you have mentioned, why not find where the floor is locked in and address the problem there instead of adding a moulding in the middle of the floor?

    Checking for existing expansion under baseboards is as easy as straightening out a paper clip and bending a small 90° hook to the end of it. Then slip it under the base board, turn it so the hook goes down, push it to the wall, then pull it till it hooks on the floor.

    120802 172.jpg
     
  7. Aug 9, 2012 #7

    handyflooringpros

    handyflooringpros

    handyflooringpros

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2012
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    ,
    Dan ,

    Thanks for responding . It's a small restaurant with large fixtures in place . Should I go around the perimeter of the floor and cut small strips out to allow for expansion ? And use cove base to cover it ? The transition was something another company did in another area of the floor . Once the expansion gaps are taking care of how long will it take for the floor to flatten out ?
     
  8. Aug 9, 2012 #8

    BudCline

    BudCline

    BudCline

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2011
    Messages:
    271
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    ,
    Jeffrey you really aren't providing enough information for anyone to be able to help you.

    Is this a floating floor?

    Your term "air bubbles" may not be an appropriate term and may be misleading. "Air bubbles" would indicate a problem with the finish or in the case of engineered wood it could indicate a de-lamination of the top layer of veneer.

    From what you describe the floor is experiencing "tenting" which is a condition that can occur when a flooring product is jambed up tight against opposing obstacles. If this is the case an expansion gap must be provided at the walls in all cases. Problem is...if heavy restaurant equipment is sitting on this flooring this could also be an issue in that too much weight will not allow the flooring product to expand and contract freely.

    Here's something else you may want to consider. Since you obviously don't have enough experience to deal with this situation you may want to back completely away from this one. Once you work on that floor and charge the customer to do so, and if the situation continues, you have just purchased the problem as your very own.

    Is there a chance there is moisture under the flooring? The rises you describe may never return to their original condition if the floor is wet underneath. This would not be unusual in a restaurant application.

    Some photos would help this diagnosis greatly.

    Good luck...I think I would back away from this one.
     
  9. Aug 9, 2012 #9

    highup

    highup

    highup

    Professional Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2011
    Messages:
    8,463
    Likes Received:
    1,807
    Location:
    ,
    Is the flooring over concrete? Does the floor get wet mopped? Was the floor flat when it was initially installed, or were there some initial complaints.
    I am wondering in addition to my other inquiries, if there was proper floor prep done to make the floor flat withing manufacturers tolerances.
    In a restaurant situation, they do not like down time, making the installation a hurried event.
     
  10. Aug 9, 2012 #10

    handyflooringpros

    handyflooringpros

    handyflooringpros

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2012
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    ,
    Thanks for all your help . The floor was installed two years ago . A floating engineered glue down over a concrete slab. A few months ago they had a new fridge installed , they didnt put in the line right and the damn thing leaked water . Allowing water to get under the flooring . So they began experiencing high spots in the floor , when you step on them they go down . Resembling an air pocket . They had someone come in ( a flooring guy ) , he said the floor didnt have any where to go , i am assuming he was referring to expansion gaps . Right by the fridge he literally cut the floor right down the center . Causing an half inch gap in the floor . The manager of the restaurant put a rug over top of the cut out and left it alone . Well at that point problem solved . Then recently more of these humps , bubbles , air pockets began showing up on the other side . I was called in to put an expansion gap in the floor . What are your thoughts ?
     
  11. Aug 9, 2012 #11

    handyflooringpros

    handyflooringpros

    handyflooringpros

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2012
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    ,
    Is there a way to fix this or no ?
     
  12. Aug 9, 2012 #12

    Floorist

    Floorist

    Floorist

    Administrator Staff Member Admin Moderator Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Messages:
    11,096
    Likes Received:
    3,902
    Location:
    , Missouri
    Run, Forrest, Run.
     
  13. Aug 9, 2012 #13

    BudCline

    BudCline

    BudCline

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2011
    Messages:
    271
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    ,
    Nope! That floor is trashed. All of the expansion-gap in the world won't remedy that situation. That choice of flooring material is the absolute worst anyone could have chosen for that application.:(
     
  14. Aug 9, 2012 #14

    handyflooringpros

    handyflooringpros

    handyflooringpros

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2012
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    ,
    Wow . So you would suggest doing the floor over ?
     
  15. Aug 9, 2012 #15

    Ernesto

    Ernesto

    Ernesto

    Professional Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,943
    Likes Received:
    1,280
    Location:
    , AZ
    Do you have a non-invasive wood meter? If not you should get one. Then you can track down the source of moisture pretty easily. Could be they installed it with a cheapo vapor retarder/underlayment or failed to tape it together. Maybe the water is just traveling along under it, who nows.

    But like as mentioned before, pull the base and find where it is locked in, use a tool to cut the floor there and relieve pressure. Or take out (plank replacement) along wall if there is enough extra flooring.. Thats the easiest plank replacement to do, floater, gluedown or naildown.
     
  16. Aug 9, 2012 #16

    Ernesto

    Ernesto

    Ernesto

    Professional Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,943
    Likes Received:
    1,280
    Location:
    , AZ
    Also a good excuse to buy a plunge cut rail saw like Festool or DeWalt. I think they can get to within a half inch of the wall. I remember another that can cut 1/8 inch to vertical surfaces, can't remember who makes it though.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
  17. Aug 9, 2012 #17

    handyflooringpros

    handyflooringpros

    handyflooringpros

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2012
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    ,
    Thanks do your help . Since they installed the floor first then put pounds an pounds of heavy furniture on top , there are no expansion gaps around the room . I suggested literally going around the entire area and cutting flooring out around the perimeter to allow the floor to expand . Do you think this will work ? And if it does how long does it take for the floor to go back to normal ?
     
  18. Aug 9, 2012 #18

    Ernesto

    Ernesto

    Ernesto

    Professional Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,943
    Likes Received:
    1,280
    Location:
    , AZ
    Yes it will work and should flatten quickly with all the weight on it.
     
  19. Aug 9, 2012 #19

    handyflooringpros

    handyflooringpros

    handyflooringpros

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2012
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    ,
    So do you think I should cut a piece out of the floor and put in a t- mold since the run is longer than 30' ?
     
  20. Aug 9, 2012 #20

    Ernesto

    Ernesto

    Ernesto

    Professional Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,943
    Likes Received:
    1,280
    Location:
    , AZ
    Only as a last resort.
     

Share This Page