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4 Glue Down Hardwood Floor Problems

Glue down hardwood flooring has a lot of outstanding features that keeps your floor looking stunning and neat for a lifetime. With glue down hardwood flooring, you do not need a vapor barrier.

There are other benefits associated with it. But that doesn’t mean it is all pros. There are also glue down hardwood problems you need to know to enable you to make an informed decision. 

These problems can lead to tear and wear as you use the floor. But your ability to notice and handle these problems will keep your floor in a good shape for a long time. For this reason, knowing how to identify and fix these common problems with gluing down hardwood flooring is an important skill to have.

Here are some of the most common problems with glue down hardwood floors:

a. Buckling

This happens when the hardwood flooring has separated from the subfloor. This can occur as a result of excess moisture. It can also occur when the boards are not acclimated. This in essence makes the flooring to expand and crush together and finally lift from the subfloor.

Also, this can be a result of an improper installation. For instance, if you install when its too dry or when there was a damp basement and improper fastening. Other reasons has to do with maintenance factors such as the use of steam mops, non-breathable rugs, and wet mopping. 


To fix this problem, you will have to eliminate the source of moisture by making use of dehumidification systems. Allow the subflooring and flooring to dry to normal levels before you commence the repair process. You can remove and replace any of the affected areas to get your glue down hardwood floor back in shape.

b. Abnormal Gaps

This is another common problem that can occur as a result to an installation issue. When you notice this, it is because the floor was too wet when it was installed. The other reason that is associated with this issue is when the flooring was installed in an excessive dryness area.

It is necessary to you fix the issue when it is obvious that the gaps are disrupting the look of the hardwood floor. 


To fix this you have to wait for a humid season when the gaps will be smaller. This is because if you try to repair it when the weather is dry, the gaps will be wide and then you will be unable to leave adequate clearance space in between the boards.

This will cause the floor to buckle when It expands. To repair this problem, create small patches of wood and glue the patches to the board edges. Remember not to glue the boards together, rather glue the patches to one side of the board. 

c. Cupping

Cupping appears when the edges of the board are raised higher than the center of the board. This is common because wood must shrink in linkage with its grain orientation. The cupped appearance now comes upwards because it is the top of a board that swells more. An increase in moisture conditions and moisture imbalance through the thickness of the wood can also be a reason for this problem. Wet mopping can also be a cause of this 


Before any repair is done, you must eliminate all sources of moisture on the cupped floor. Sanding should take place after this, which might take up to weeks, months, or an entire heating season. Hold the flooring in place with an approved adhesive and maintain the environment till it is suitable enough to be worked on. 

d. Crowning

This can come in form of a convex appearance of individual boards with the center of the board higher than the edges. One can say that it is the opposite of cupping. It is caused by natural shrinkage on the wood, poor moisture imbalance, poor building drainage, or even an inadequate moisture control system. Poor maintenance can also be a cause for this.


To cure this problem, you will have to first determine if the moisture content in the subfloor is back to its normal living conditions. If it is so, then resand and finish. While this is done, maintain your environment, temperature, and humidity level. 

Is It Better To Glue Or Float Hardwood Floors?

Both options are good. But before you decide on choosing the right wood, there are some factors you need to put into consideration. With this factor, decisions will be made concerning your hardwood floor.  

a. Ease Of Installation And Removal

When you are doing the installation to minimize cost then you should choose a floating hardwood flooring. This is because fixing a floating hardwood flooring is easier and faster compared to a glue down flooring. You will end up saving money and having a great floor afterward. Glue floor does not pose as difficult, but it is time-consuming and needs some special type of professionalism. 

b. Working With An Unlevel Floor

With a glue down hardwood floor, you do not have to spend all the time trying to level the floor just to make it fit in. With a floating floor, the ground sure needs to be leveled. If you have a flooring that is more than ¼ out of level over a 10′ distance, then go for a glue down flooring, but in a case where you want to level it, then opt-in for floating flooring. 

c. Incompatible Subfloor Options

Making choices also has to do with your type of subfloors, those that can accept glue and those that cannot. While dealing with a floating floor, you need a wider surface to make the work easier. You will also have to save the stress of trying to get your subfloor to a different material. You can enjoy floating floors without going the extra mile.

Should I Glue Tongue And Grooves?

No, do not glue tongue and grooves. What is known by all is glue down installation and not gluing the tongue and groove system. It is possible to glue tongue and groove but it is not recommended when the process is being used on a subfloor. A normal wood flooring needs room to move when it expands. 

Also, when you adopt the glue tongue and grooves system on the subfloor and between the planks, movement will be an issue. When there is no movement for this wood flooring, it will start cracking, warping, and disfiguring. Even if this process is so important to you, then use a floating floor installation. Do not glue on the planks to allow movement.


The durability and longevity of your hardwood floor start from the installation process. There are some cases where your subfloor does not support the type of floor you want, what is needed is to fix it to the desired result or settle for the suitable floor. When proper care and maintenance are given to your floor, it will have little or no problem and still save extra cost on maintenance. Both glue down and floating floors are good hardwoods but it is the ability to sustain them is where the strength lies.