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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    St. Louis, Mo. area.

    Default Hardwood Flooring Gaps

    I noticed this odd uniform concentrated area of gaps showing between the boards of this hardwood flooring. There is also a hint of a circular area of stain around it. Has anyone seen anything like this, and/or have any idea of what could have caused it? Heat comes to mind, but that's just grasping for straws. Thanks a lot for your help with this!

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Hardwood Flooring Gaps

    Sure, prior to the floor being refinished, there was a potted plant there with no basin under it and the floor got wet all the time.
    In the same realm as the poodle house.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Hardwood Flooring Gaps

    The area in your photo shows definite signs of moisture/water damage over a significant period of time. The area can be repaired and refinished but a true professional is needed or the areas will not match the rest of the floor.

    Jeff Zehnder - Home Inspector, Raleigh, NC

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Ormond Beach, Florida

    Default Re: Hardwood Flooring Gaps

    Typically, moisture and water swell things and cause expansion, especially to wood.

    That area is suffering from contraction and not expansion, that is why there are gaps in the center of the circular stained area, but the gaps disappear the farther out from the stained area you look.

    Putting the two together indicates that, as has been said, there was a potted plant of something there for a long time and which cause those board to swell and expand, pushing the adjacent boards sideways for a very long period of time. After the potted plant (or other cause) was removed, the wood dried out back to its normal size, but the other wood did not fully come back to their original positions, that left gaps between the wood.

    Just my thinking of why those gaps are there and why the boards "look" narrower, but probably are not any narrower, now that they have dried back out.

    Open to other ideas for that cause.

    Michael, did you measure the boards at the gaps and where they are tight to see if the boards measured the same (or close to the same)? If the board really are narrower where the gaps are ... my supposition and reasoning are flawed .

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( )

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    No. San Diego Co., CA

    Default Re: Hardwood Flooring Gaps

    Looking at the deep scratch on the floor running through the area of damage and what appears to be an open door, at the top of the picture, it doesnt appear to me that a plant (or similar) was positioned in that space. Nevertheless, as others have stated, the wood is warped - probably from moisture, perhaps source unknown - and could be repaired.

    Is the finish flooring laid over ply or concrete? If ply then what lies beneath the subfloor - basement/crawl, living space etc? Is there any direct heat source beneath the area of damage which might cause the boards to contract?


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Default Re: Hardwood Flooring Gaps

    Mystery solved on this one, the floor has been wet...the gaps are there because when the wood was wet it pushed out the rest of the flooring and when it dried the wet ones shrunk back to normal size and the rest of the floor remained pushed away.

    Randy Gordon, construction
    Michigan Building Inspector/Plan Reviewer

  7. #7
    James Norman's Avatar
    James Norman Guest

    Default Re: Hardwood Flooring Gaps

    Looks like a good place for a rug....


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