Jump to content

Tell Me About Cupped Hardwood Floors


Recommended Posts

In our quest for a smaller home, we have seen a few with cupped (warped) hardwood floors.

This is a moisture problem, I know.  A fair number of homes in Dallas have had drainage patterns altered by overcoverage of lots, particularly to the north, making previously dry crawlspaces now damp.  The remedy would seem to be french drains, sump pumps and the like.

What kind of experience (success, failure, cost) has the surl had with foundation moisture problems and relatedly with fixing/replacing cupped floors without recurrence?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

In our quest for a smaller home, we have seen a few with cupped (warped) hardwood floors.

This is a moisture problem, I know.  A fair number of homes in Dallas have had drainage patterns altered by overcoverage of lots, particularly to the north, making previously dry crawlspaces now damp.  The remedy would seem to be french drains, sump pumps and the like.

What kind of experience (success, failure, cost) has the surl had with foundation moisture problems and relatedly with fixing/replacing cupped floors without recurrence?

I had no idea moisture underneath the house could lead to cupped hardwood floors with P&B. I thought they actually would have to physically get wet themselves to warp.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, C-Man said:

I had no idea moisture underneath the house could lead to cupped hardwood floors with P&B. I thought they actually would have to physically get wet themselves to warp.

Yeah, without knowing more, that seems like moisture came from somewhere other than below the floors. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, that's the 64k question.  Where did it come from?  On the seller's disclosure notice, there is reference to a sump pump, which leads me to believe the moisture problems may relate to the crawlspace.

This is also the house that provoked my other questions about piering the perimeter beam of a pier and beam foundation, which seems super srs, compared to most p/b foundation issues.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, South Austin said:

Yeah, without knowing more, that seems like moisture came from somewhere other than below the floors. 

 

1 hour ago, TwiceHorn said:

Well, that's the 64k question.  Where did it come from?  On the seller's disclosure notice, there is reference to a sump pump, which leads me to believe the moisture problems may relate to the crawlspace.

This is also the house that provoked my other questions about piering the perimeter beam of a pier and beam foundation, which seems super srs, compared to most p/b foundation issues.

Just fired off a text to my contractor/buddy who redid our entire downstairs following our refrigerator leak. I'll report back.

  • Hook 'Em 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I'll be damned. He said it is possible that moisture down below (that's what she said!) can cause the wood floors to crown/cup.

I've asked him for down-and-dirty estimate on fixing this kind of problem on a 1-story, 2000 SF home over in M Streets for example.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

His quick estimate for 2000 SF, one-story (100% wood floors) home:

Sand and refinish floors -- $8,500-$9,000

Ventilation under the house (fan) -- $3,000

French drain -- approx $10,000

Edited by C-Man
Link to comment
Share on other sites

27 minutes ago, Dr Fear said:

Crawlspace vent fans? I would think that would get rid of a mild moisture problem, maybe you only run it for a few days after it rains?

Yeah, it seems like there are a range of solutions and costs to moisture problems, from vapor barrier and fans to elaborate french drains.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, TwiceHorn said:

In our quest for a smaller home, we have seen a few with cupped (warped) hardwood floors.

This is a moisture problem, I know.  A fair number of homes in Dallas have had drainage patterns altered by overcoverage of lots, particularly to the north, making previously dry crawlspaces now damp.  The remedy would seem to be french drains, sump pumps and the like.

What kind of experience (success, failure, cost) has the surl had with foundation moisture problems and relatedly with fixing/replacing cupped floors without recurrence?

Lotsa houses out there without moisture problems.  Just go buy one of them.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, TwiceHorn said:

In our quest for a smaller home, we have seen a few with cupped (warped) hardwood floors.

This is a moisture problem, I know.  A fair number of homes in Dallas have had drainage patterns altered by overcoverage of lots, particularly to the north, making previously dry crawlspaces now damp.  The remedy would seem to be french drains, sump pumps and the like.

What kind of experience (success, failure, cost) has the surl had with foundation moisture problems and relatedly with fixing/replacing cupped floors without recurrence?

I had the problem in another state and it was solved easily by sloping all the dirt away from the house and installing larger/better gutters. I could have installed french drains but didn't just because of the additional work that it would have required. One caveat, though, I decided against putting hardwood floors back in the basement.

If a crawl space is getting too wet, I would probably go an additional route. Besides doing the above, I would change my crawl space into a conditioned crawl space by putting in the right kind of rock/sand/soil, tarp, dehumidifier, drain and sump pump, and closed cell foam. This was recommended by the VA architect who hasn't been on this board in awhile. It makes sense as it will also help with cooling/heating costs, bug problems, and rotting of the subfloor, trusses, etc.

Edited by Bevo
  • Hook 'Em 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, C-Man said:

His quick estimate for 2000 SF, one-story (100% wood floors) home:

Sand and refinish floors -- $8,500-$9,000

Ventilation under the house (fan) -- $3,000

French drain -- approx $10,000

Why were the french drains so expensive? That seems way overpriced.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, Bevo said:

Why were the french drains so expensive? That seems way overpriced.

Beats me. I just asked and that's the response I got. My buddy does high-end work, mostly in/around the Park Cities/Preston Hollow/Bluffview. I'm sure you could find somebody who could/would do it cheaper.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Parliament said:

Lotsa houses out there without moisture problems.  Just go buy one of them.

Not so many as you think, least round here.  All involve some kind of compromise.  Need renovation, cupped floors, aluminum wiring, fucked up foundations, you name it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, C-Man said:

Beats me. I just asked and that's the response I got. My buddy does high-end work, mostly in/around the Park Cities/Preston Hollow/Bluffview. I'm sure you could find somebody who could/would do it cheaper.

It's expensive to bring them over from France.  Mexican drains are a lot cheaper

  • Like 2
  • Haha 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/21/2022 at 3:23 PM, Bevo said:

Why were the french drains so expensive? That seems way overpriced.

Labor is expensive.

 

Solve for bulk water first.  Gutters, grading, etc.  Then french drains and the like.

Finally, the option of closed cell foam on the underside of the foundation and subfloor, and/or making the crawlspace "conditioned" are both common and work well.

  • Hook 'Em 1
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, drt said:

Labor is expensive.

 

Solve for bulk water first.  Gutters, grading, etc.  Then french drains and the like.

Finally, the option of closed cell foam on the underside of the foundation and subfloor, and/or making the crawlspace "conditioned" are both common and work well.

How much do you think french drains would cost if done at the time of construction? When the heavy equipment is there it would be pretty fast, although I wonder if it would get destroyed during later construction. But, I guess it could be done at the time of final grading when the driveway is installed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We've done them early, once they're covered as long as you don't have delivery trucks or dumpsters driving over them they're fine.  That's assuming you put them at appropriate depth, backfill appropriately, manage runoff during construction, etc.

As far as cost 10k didn't really seem that out of wack to me depending on the specs.  2-3 days of guys plus equipment, plus a shitton of gravel adds up.  The PVC and landscaping fabric are cheap, but that's about it.  In my head I'm assuming you have a normalish quarter acre lot, which means doing 3 sides of the house, one at at least 50', call the 2 long sides 75' towards the street, for a total run of 200'.  Even if your cross section is just 2 sq ft for gravel (which is a bit small, do it right and do it once) that's 44 yards of gravel.  It's not a small undertaking, but sadly basics like giving water somewhere to go that isn't your house is often ignored.

If you like the house, buy it.  In the grand scheme of things 10k is worth a lot less than a good place for your kids, short commute...etc.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

46 minutes ago, drt said:

We've done them early, once they're covered as long as you don't have delivery trucks or dumpsters driving over them they're fine.  That's assuming you put them at appropriate depth, backfill appropriately, manage runoff during construction, etc.

As far as cost 10k didn't really seem that out of wack to me depending on the specs.  2-3 days of guys plus equipment, plus a shitton of gravel adds up.  The PVC and landscaping fabric are cheap, but that's about it.  In my head I'm assuming you have a normalish quarter acre lot, which means doing 3 sides of the house, one at at least 50', call the 2 long sides 75' towards the street, for a total run of 200'.  Even if your cross section is just 2 sq ft for gravel (which is a bit small, do it right and do it once) that's 44 yards of gravel.  It's not a small undertaking, but sadly basics like giving water somewhere to go that isn't your house is often ignored.

If you like the house, buy it.  In the grand scheme of things 10k is worth a lot less than a good place for your kids, short commute...etc.

Just so I know how it should be done, it sounds like you would dig a 1.5ft wide trench and 1.5 ft. deep and put about 6" of gravel, lay the PVC, place fabric over PVC, add another 6" of gravel and then cover with 6" of dirt. How far away from the house, a couple feet?

Edited by Bevo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Burrito the gravel, not the pvc, but yeah that’s the minimums I would do. If you’re to the point of having an issue I’d say go bigger.
 

Site conditions obviously play a huge part in where you put this stuff.  I lean towards managing the water as far from the structure as possible. Usually there are utilities on at least one side of the house, side yards aren’t very big, getting appropriate grade can be a challenge…it’s not rocket science but getting it right does take some work. 
 

Honestly I try to not ever need a French drain by grading, guttering, and landscaping.  They are needed in some situations but the majority of problems can be solved for with those. 

  • Hook 'Em 1
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, drt said:

Burrito the gravel, not the pvc, but yeah that’s the minimums I would do. If you’re to the point of having an issue I’d say go bigger.
 

Site conditions obviously play a huge part in where you put this stuff.  I lean towards managing the water as far from the structure as possible. Usually there are utilities on at least one side of the house, side yards aren’t very big, getting appropriate grade can be a challenge…it’s not rocket science but getting it right does take some work. 
 

Honestly I try to not ever need a French drain by grading, guttering, and landscaping.  They are needed in some situations but the majority of problems can be solved for with those. 

Thanks. The reason I ask is for new construction in the mountains. The house has a crawlspace foundation that will be conditioned. I'm just kind of wondering whether it makes sense to be proactive and do french drains from the very beginning. There's already a stormwater drainage plan that was done by a landscape architect that was required. And the lot is kind of mid-mountain with a lake down below. Our lot is fairly flat but there will be of course significant slope above and below the lot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you have stormwater management in place already, then your structural engineer should be able to look at your soils report and tell you if you need french or perimeter drains based on your foundation plan.  They're a conservative bunch, but have a group conversation with your builder, SE, and LA about future development and how your roof and future impervious cover is going to direct water long term.  I'm guessing by your comment there may be future development uphill of you.  

At least you have plenty of grade to direct water!

  • Hook 'Em 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...