Will Cupped Hardwood Floors Flatten Out Overtime

Hardwood flooring is familiar to every homeowner as it is durable, requires low maintenance, and complements every home decor. Therefore, it gives a natural feel to your home. 

Despite having these upsides, hardwood surfaces also have some downsides. This flooring type can’t resist water, moisture, or humidity. The hardwood base starts buckling up if the moisture level rises and forms a cup. 

In other words, hardwood floor cupping is the most common issue every homeowner encounters and they often ask: will cupped hardwood floors flatten out over time? If yes, how long does it take to flatten out the hardwood boards?

Fortunately, we will give every answer to your question. So, continue to read to get your answer.

What is Hardwood Floor Cupping

Hardwood floor cupping is a common issue of a hardwood surface. Due to water or humidity, the edges of the wood planks get higher than the center of the board. When one side of the wood board is exposed to moisture or water, that side will warp away, and edges curl up. It gives a wavy or cupping appearance, which is known to us as hardwood floor cupping.

In short, cupping is a natural reaction to moisture. Hardwood cupping problems often occur in area, which has high relative humidity.  It’s very common on both engineered and solid hardwood.

What Causes Hardwood Floors to Cup?

Cupping is the first sign that lets you know your hardwood floor is affected by moisture content in its environment. Your hardwood surface will naturally expand when it’s exposed to moisture.

cause of hardwood floor cupping

When only one side of a plank is exposed, just that side will expand. Consequently, the entire plank will warp away from the damp side. It makes the plank edges curl up, which gives a wavy appearance to your hardwood boards. 

This can happen because of seasonal changes, like the humidity levels will rise during the summertime. 

However, the expansion of the hardwood boards will correct itself naturally when the season changes and the humidity level drops off. 

The most common reason behind a cupping hardwood surface is wet mopping. You should avoid wet mopping your hardwood floor at any cost. 

The second is if you fail to keep the humidity level within a 20% range. 

Your hardwood floor may also cup due to faulty plumbing, bad ventilation, others that increase the moisture level in your home. 

Will Cupped Hardwood Floors Flatten Out Overtime?

In some cases, the cupped floor can flatten out naturally over time.

But what we recommend you to do first is identify all potential sources of moisture. Then, take proper initiatives to treat them before letting them damage your floor permanently. 

For example, if you notice the cupped floor around a particular appliance like a refrigerator or dishwasher, take a look for a leak.

On the other hand, if cupping is everywhere, understand you may have a wet basement below, and there is no moisture barrier under the surface. 

In this case, you can use a dehumidifier to mitigate the cupping. 

Once you discover and eliminate the trouble spots, ensure the underlying subfloor is dry by taking readings with a moisture reader. It may take several days, even an entire heating season.

We recommend you take moisture readings at different levels in the flooring. 

If the readings show the difference of moisture level between the top and the bottom boards is 1% or more, they are not done drying. 

Your home may have underlying moisture if you see the cupped board doesn’t come back to an acceptable state. 

Regarding this, your floor requires a closer inspection by a professional certified by the NWFA

How to Avoid Cupping?

As there is little chance to remediate a cupped hardwood floor, it is better to take some precautions to avoid cupping. Follow the below tips to prevent your hardwood surface from cupping. 

  • Avoid wet mopping your hardwood floor
  • Keep the relative humidity level within a 20% range. Install humidity controlling device, if need
  • Determine each moisture source with a moisture meter/reader in your home and quickly treat the source of moisture
  • Take regular moisture reading of the underlying subfloor and do the needful to keep them dry
  • Use recommended moisture barriers
  • Create proper ventilation throughout your home
  • Crawl space areas are known for trapping and causing moisture to your wood floor
  • Broken pipes and leaks cause moisture issues, you must be careful about that.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is hardwood floor cupping permanent?

If the cupping isn’t severe and you can fix the moisture, there is a chance to fix the cupped hardwood floor. Hardwood floor cupping could be resolved if it can return to the proper equilibrium. Just be careful that if the hardwood floor is over-dried, it can be shrunk and lose its initial shape.

Can you fix the buckled hardwood floor?

Buckled hardwood floor means minor damage. So, by removing the excess moisture, you can fix the buckled hardwood floor. However, you may need to replace the hardwood board, if the entire floor is buckled.
The easiest process is to repair buckled floor is, relocate the buckled area, and place an electric fan on it to speed up the drying process.


So, will cupped hardwood floors flatten over time? 

Yes, the cupped hardwood surface may flatten over time if you can remove the excess moisture. However, it will take a lot of time, even a season to fix the cupped hardwood planks. 

Otherwise, you need to replace the cupped hardwood boards with new ones to fix the issue. 

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