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Ask The Doc A Question!

Question:

Our new wood floors in a below ground level basement are warping due to water that I can actually hear underneath. I don't know where to begin in handling the situation. Do you think a floor person will be knowledgeable on how to handle it? I'm hoping the building's insurance will cover the repair. Is this something you'd consider structural?

Answer:



Dear Michelle

Sorry to hear of your troubles. But the new wood floor should not have been installed below grade in the first place. You didn't say if this was a laminated (engineered hardwood plywood) or solid wood floor. In either case a below grade application for these products is ill advised. I'm not sure who advised you to install the wood floor in the basement, but they have contravened industry standards.

You best bet is to remove all of the wood floor. And don't ever bother installing it again, unless you want to repeat this dilemma. Then have a basement water proofing contractor take a look at your problems. Take a look at the article on hiring contractors available in the search box at the top of this web page. It will give you some clues to finding honest people. You may or may not have an insurance claim, on the water damage. If only the wood floor was wrecked, they may say this was an improper material installed in such a water prone area. They would be correct, but don't volunteer the information.

If you actually hear water running under the floor, it may be a leak from a pipe, if you are lucky. But it may be something more sinister like an underground spring that your house was built on. You didn't say if this was a new home. If it is you may have a claim against the new home warranty. But a qualified basement water proofing expert should be able to determine the cause.

You may also find these articles helpful:

1. Hydronic heating under your wood floors

2. How To Repair A Hardwood Floor For D.I.Y

3. Case Study Wood Flooring - Wrong Way Floors

4. Plank Floor: What Special Considerations This Type Of Floor Raises

5. How To Take Care Of Your Health And Safety when Installing, Finishing, Repairing or Cleaning your wood floors