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aggh what has happened to my floorboards?!

(15 Posts)
IAmOptimusPrime Wed 12-Oct-11 12:05:49

I know I'm not going to be able to get definitive answer to this but any help would be great.

I live in a victorian property, front door leads straight into a hallway which then leads to the stairs. After I first moved in, a year ago, one of the floorboards popped out but now the two next to it have considerably warped since the summer. These are the type that I have like this Survey didn't flag up any problems with the floor but did mention the airbricks needed to be larger and that the damp proof course only had 1 year left on the guarantee.

My worry is that I am a single parent, going through a divorce, feeling a bit stressed and fragile and have no savings. I have no idea what the problem could be or how much it could cost or who to call to fix it!! At the moment if it is something hidious I would just rather not know as there isn't much I can do about it anyway. Not even sure how mumsnet can help but I figure any information is a help or a starting point.

Apologies for sounding pathetic.

aquafunf Wed 12-Oct-11 12:11:41

not pathetic

is it the actual floor boards or your flooring on top which has come up? If it is the flooring on top and that is plank style, it could be something really simple. If it locks together, really it only takes one to go wonky and it has a knock on effect.

IAmOptimusPrime Wed 12-Oct-11 12:43:26

I am assuming they are new floor boards laid over something rather than directly on to the floor joists but I could be talking rubbish!

The one that has popped up is about 1cm thick (it is closest to the wall and is laid slightly under the skirting board) it looks like it has a flat edge rather than the cut bit to lock it together and then the two next to it have raised up like a small hill but not popped up out of place. Further down towards the front door they are flat. The siars which they run under has not been lifted up but it is carpeted and I haven't pulled the carpet off the stairs to have a closer look yet.

sam2cats Wed 12-Oct-11 12:48:12

If you have noticed some warping, that would indicate moisture is present in some form...... lack of ventilation under the floor would create a nice moist environment and if it is the interlocking flooring then there wil be very little air getting in from above......I know that doesn't sound very helpful, but it might be an idea to take up some of the boards near the warping and have if look. if it is a leak you can find the source and if not, get the damp proofing company round who did the original to do a survey - that should be free and they will be able to tell you if the warping is due to damp in Walls or ventilation under the floor - we have rising damp and it doesnt warp our floorboards, (yet) so I would say, either a leak or lack of ventilation.......hth's!

minipie Wed 12-Oct-11 12:57:19

Is there a cellar under the hall? If so are there any signs of damp down there? If not then it seems unlikely it would be a damp problem... though I'm no expert.

Are there any heating pipes under the floor which might be making the wood expand?

One possible reason is if a new cement or concrete layer was laid under the new flooring, and not allowed to dry properly before the wood floor was laid - can lead to wood warping. But that would only fit if it was laid very recently as you'd expect the warping to happen very quickly.

Do you know when the floor was laid?

Sorry, more questions than answers!

IAmOptimusPrime Wed 12-Oct-11 16:52:25

Right I've been doing a bit of investigation!

The damp proof course & woodborer treatment was done in 1998 before those owners moved out. 30 year guarentee on that.

The next owners did lots of work around 1998, loft conversion etc. so I wonder if that is when the floor was laid, not too sure but I know it was def there by 2006 when then next people moved in.

I have pulled the carpet off the bottom stair where it meets the boards. The floorboards are thicker than I thought and do have that click and lock and I think are laid on the joists. It doesn't smell damp and I can feel a draft. There is a 2cm gap between the bottom of the stairs and where the boards start.

The board that has popped up does have a radiator next to it with a pipe that goes through the board and must run under it too. The bowed boards are to the left of this one.

Where the hall meets the dining room the boards must have moved to the right over time and then maybe making 1 board closest to the wall pop up and the 2 next to it lift like this /\ as they have nowhere else to go? Although not as dramatic as this /\ that's the best my keyboard can do.

The boards were originally cut to fit round the door frame and there is now a gap like this shape _] where they should fit round the frame. Does that make sense?!

I've put a floor plan on my profile. Oh and no cellar underneath.

IAmOptimusPrime Wed 12-Oct-11 16:53:36

I should also say thank you, thank you for help with this. Weirdly sharing this takes a bit of the worry away.

IAmOptimusPrime Wed 12-Oct-11 17:06:00

I should probably clarify from my investigation that the boards aren't actually warped but raised up. Wow I didn't know floorboards could be so interesting hmm I really should get out more grin

minipie Wed 12-Oct-11 17:13:49

Hmm. It does seem likely that they have expanded over time due to the heat but have only now got to the point of running out of space and therefore popping up. Have you recently turned your heating on for the winter by any chance?

I suspect the best option is going to be to shave one or more of the problem boards down so that they fit back into the gap (and in fact you'd want to leave a little excess space to allow for any more expansion).

Tianc Wed 12-Oct-11 17:28:14

I'd investigate further – the "why" might be quite important.

Generally, central heating makes boards and other wood shrink (dry heat unlike open fires). They will shrink more across the grain than along it.

Water makes boards expand.

If the boards are fairly loose still, not swollen together and no smell of damp, and in a high traffic area, then it could indeed be stampy feet shoving them in one direction. In that case, screw them down with short galvanised screws, having sketched the pipework on top, so you and the next person can identify and get them up to access the pipes should the need arise.

But first I'd get a torch and mirror down there to survey as much as you can of the pipework, looking for greeny blue stains (assuming copper) or any other signs of water. I had a very fine pinhole leak in my central heating which went on for years until it obligingly did some visible damage and I could locate the bugger.

minipie Wed 12-Oct-11 18:02:06

Ah Tianc you are right blush

sam2cats Wed 12-Oct-11 18:11:46

The radiator could be the source of your problem, as Tianc says, a tiny leak can take a long time to assert itself and you won't necessarily notice any other symptoms, though if you find your boiler loses pressure fairly regularly that could indicate a leak on the heating system, which in turn might be the cause of your shifting boards........

IAmOptimusPrime Wed 12-Oct-11 18:41:13

Ok I'm thinking leak of some sort as the pipe that leads from the radiator and then down under the floorboard does have some green around it. The green is above the floorboards so I'm hoping I won't have to rip the whole lot up. Oh well.

Thanks again for all your help.

Tianc Wed 12-Oct-11 18:57:42

Ah, could the green be from a leaking radiator valve or join to the pipework? Get your annual heating service done now and ask engineer to take a look.

(I actually just wrote, "take a shufti" – but had visions of you asking engineer, "Do you have a shufti? Someone said you'd need to bring one along..." grin)

IAmOptimusPrime Wed 12-Oct-11 19:53:58

Hee hee Tianc, sounds like a dodgy chat up line!!! Single, soon to be divorced mum of two asking a plumber for a shufti grin

Right better find myself someone who can help and worry about the money later or it will only get worse I expect.

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