Q: I have a flooring project we have just completed for a local college. The floors which we glued down to the base have buckled and lifted several inches off the floor at the top of the buckles. The contractor was not controlling the humidity after installation. Readings indicate that the relative humidity was 85 percent with a temperature of 65 degrees. Recently, the moisture levels have since been controlled and are stabilized below 55 percent, but the buckles are not entirely gone. Am I correct that this a moisture problem due to the high RH?
A: The buckles are caused by an installed and well-anchored floor increasing its MC and swelling. A floating floor would expand in size and stay flat, but when the floor is well-fastened, the stress builds up until, eventually, the floor "lets loose" and a buckle develops. The question is "What is the source of moisture?" It could be a leaky roof, broken pipe, wet mopping or very high RH. I think that the high RH in this case is the major cause.
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