Glue down Hardwood Floor Problems-[6 Simple Fixes]

Glue Down Hardwood Floor Problems Solved

If you are looking for a flooring option that is both cost-effective and durable, then look no further than hardwood floors. Wood floors can last for generations since they are durable, making them a cost-effective flooring alternative. Besides, the floor types are less likely to be damaged and are easier to clean, reducing the repair and cleaning costs over the years.

With the ingrained benefits, you also want to choose a floor installation method to complement the durability and secure your flooring type to the subfloor. Glue down is one of the most used installation processes with hardwood floors. The method involves securing the floor planks to the subfloor using an adhesive or a bonding agent.

Due to its superior stability, the glue-down method is a darling among various manufacturers and installers. Say goodbye to the creaking and shifting of your floors by gluing them down. The method will make your floor feel and sound more secure.

However, despite the benefits, glue-down hardwood floors have certain ingrained problems you must determine before and after installation.

Stick around and learn the glue-down hardwood floor problems.

Also Read:

Glue Down Hardwood Floor Problems

Glue-down hardwood floors experience problems such as buckling, peeling off, cupping, crowning, and flaking. Often, the problems may arise due to temperature changes or high humidity. Besides, your floor may experience these problems when its adhesive wears off.

Here are the problems in detail.


The issue occurs when the hardwood planks separate from the subfloor. Often, you will experience buckling in your wood floors when there is excess moisture in the subfloor or when the hardwood boards are not correctly acclimated.

The problem will also result if you do not correctly install the wood floors or when your house or floor sits in an area with a poor drainage system that allows water to the floors. These may affect any wood floor regardless of the method of installation.

However, suppose you glued down your wood floors; buckling may result from uneven distribution of glue, subfloor contamination such as the accumulation of dirt particles under the wood planks, water damage, and insufficient adhesive. Besides, the structural formation or strength of your subfloor may result in buckling of the hardwood floors.

How do you solve the problem or prevent hardwood floor buckling?

You can prevent the buckling of your wood floors by practicing simple maintenance processes. For instance, immediately clean or dry up any spills on your wood floor. Wood floors quickly absorb the water spills that cause moisture build-up on the wood planks over time.

The excess moisture on the floor will result in buckling. Worse still, the trapped moisture supports mold’s growth on your floorboards and subfloor. Ensure you immediately clean the spills, always keeping your wood floor dry.

Secondly, you must sparingly use water when mopping your floors. Limiting the number of times you mop your hardwood floors is also advisable to ensure they do not always make contact with water. Even after mopping, ensure the floors are completely dry with no traces of water.

Furthermore, practice moisture-free buffing. Use a soft, dry buffing pad to ensure you do not spread water spills on your floor. That is, ensure to only use a buffing material appropriate for the wood flooring. Often, the buffing material should be non-abrasive. Wipe the dry pad in a circular motion, not necessarily using water or any other type of cleaner on the floor. You will still acquire a lovely shine on your wood floors and prevent buckling.

Flaking/Peeling Off

The peeling off, also called flaking of the wood floors, results from water damage, wear and tear, and exposure to high humidity or if you did not effectively apply the finishes.

Understanding and determining why your hardwood floors are peeling off is a good starting point for protecting your floor. Your hardwood floors will last approximately ten years, more or less depending on the level of maintenance. This means, at some point, your hardwood floors will become of age.

If your wood floor is old and exposed to a fair share of heavy traffic, peeling off would be inevitable (wear and tear). However, for other reasons, such as water damage or inappropriate installation, you must be careful to protect your floor at the point of installation. The cause of your wood floor flaking should be identified and addressed before rushing to fix them, as they might re-occur and adds to your continued maintenance costs.

So, how do you protect or repair your wood floor after peeling off?

You can repair a peeled-off hardwood floor by refinishing. First, you must replace or repair the damaged planks before refinishing. Once you have replaced the planks, you will sand the floor and vacuum or sweep up any dust or grit left behind to prepare for staining. Once you have stained the floor and ensured it is dry, a finish or sealant coating must be applied.


Crowning describes a wood that is raised in the centre and dips down on the long edges of the planks. Like peeling off or buckling, crowning may result from the moisture accumulation on the wood floor affecting the centre of the planks.

Crowning occurs if you expose the boards to a moisture imbalance for a long time. Also, the issue may arise when you sand a cupped floor with moisture.

Furthermore, crowning can occur if you apply the glue unevenly before placing or staggering the planks on the base. Natural shrinkage of the wood and poor drainage systems can also cause crowning. As a result, you must ensure that your floor has an efficient moisture control system and proper drainage throughout your building.

So, how do you prevent or contain crowning?

You must first determine the cause of the excessive moisture levels on the surface of your floor. Pay attention to the affected areas and allow them to dry and re-acclimate before you can sand them if necessary. Often, strive and address the problem as soon as possible before it becomes extensive. Severe water damage may be costly to repair. If you happen to identify the water damage problem immediately, equalization would be the most appropriate remedial action.

Moreover, due to temperature changes, wood floors will expand in the summer and shrink in the winter. You can monitor these changes and create a consistent indoor temperature throughout the year by installing a humidifier or a dehumidifier, depending on the season (winter or summer).

Besides, always ensure that your wood floor makes no contact with water spills, as the hardwood floors are not waterproof.  The wood floors will absorb water which will eventually result in crowning. If you notice water spills on your floor, clean them immediately with dry mobs. Do not use wet mops on the floorboards.

If you suspect areas susceptible to water spills, especially under or next to the sinks, place waterproof mats to ensure no spill seeps into your wood floors.


Cupping is the opposite of crowning and occurs when the hardwood floorboards’ center is lower than the edges. Normally, you will experience this issue when you use steam cleaners on your wood floors or due to increased moisture conditions on wood floors. The enhancements in the moisture conditions may also result from wet mopping.

The changes on the floorboards that makes them lower than the edges result in the weakened adhesive used to install the planks. The usual maintenance practices you may use on your wood floors, like steam mopping, interferes with the adhesive and translates to cupping.

Cupping damages your floor’s aesthetics and can make your home lose its value. You will struggle with structural problems on your hardwood floors, which could worsen if you intend to lay a carpet on your floor. The lifespan of your hardwood floor is also shortened.

Gaps in the Planks

If you are a hardwood floor owner, you must have occasionally seen certain abnormal gaps between the planks. Often, these gaps will surface on your wood floors due to improper or poor installation. Particularly, most wood floors that experience these gaps are due to the installation of excessively wet or dry floors, causing imbalance.

If you want to eradicate or prevent the problem of abnormal gaps between the planks, assess the humidity condition of your home before you start the installation process. You must ensure that you can control the humidity level between 30% and 50% throughout the year, whether in the summer or winter.

If you maintain the interior humidity to the levels (30-50%), most of the wood flooring brands will acclimate and become steady. Use a humidifier or dehumidifier to control the interior humidity based on the time of the year.

Adhesive Failure

If the adhesive used to hold the hardwood floor to the subfloor is insufficient or placed incorrectly, floorboards may become loose over time.

You can prevent adhesive failure can be prevented when you acclimatize the hardwood before installing them. Use the correct glue for the subfloor and maintain stable temperatures and humidity levels in the space to avoid these issues. Taking care of problems immediately is crucial to saving the flooring from harm.

Floating vs. Glue down hardwood floors: Which is Better

Floating Wood Floors 

Floating wood floors refer to thinner grooves and tongue flooring sections that interlock together without adding any fastener. You can set up this flooring type by using a series of grooves and tongues to attach them.

With the locking systems, you can effortlessly install hardwood planks to hover above the subfloor. As a result, the floating hardwood floors are ideal for uneven or flawed subfloors.

If you want to install the floating hardwood floors, you only need to slide the tongues into grooves and directly place the flooring over your subfloor. Even with the simple installation process, you will still enjoy the services of floating wood floors due to their durability, which is rare with other flooring types.

Furthermore, with the floating hardwood floors, you can easily attach the planks using simple tools such as a rubber mallet

There are numerous benefits you will get from floating hardwood floors:

  • Easy to install. You do not need an expert to help you install floating wood floors. The installation process is pretty simple and designed for longevity. As such, you will save time and installation costs.
  • Versatile. Floating hardwood floors can function in various environments as they naturally expand and contract with humidity levels. Suppose you are staying in an area that experience extreme levels of humidity in the summer and winter, install a dehumidifier or a humidifier, depending on the time of the year, to keep the humidity levels between 30% and 50%.
  • Greater Strength. If you want outstanding strength from your hardwood flooring, place your bet on the floating type. The flooring type is made from numerous layers of hardwood that have been meshed together to provide a resounding strength.

Glue Down Hardwood Floors 

Glue-down hardwood flooring involves fixing the wood planks or floorboards to the subfloor using liquid glue or adhesive tape instead of locking them together. Unlike floating wood floors, this installation method is more permanent. However, it takes longer to install.

One aspect you will love with the glue-down hardwood floor is that, unlike the floating type, you can use it on surfaces that are not level. Also, with glue down wood floors, you will not need vapor barrier in the installation process as the glue itself creates or act as a barrier. You, thus, benefit from reduced installation costs.

Which is Better 

It is better to decide whether to use floating or glue-down hardwood floor installation by considering the advantages and drawbacks associated with each method.

For instance, floating flooring will be the most suitable option if you aim to use DIY installation. The method will not require special equipment or tools. Thus, floating wood floors are easier to install than glue-down wood floors. Ideally, using the floating method, you can only use a day to install the floors in your entire house. The glue-down process is more intensive and will take more of your time and money.

Regarding cost, the floating wood floors are more affordable. If you want to restore the aesthetic of your house or enhance your floor’s value, there wouldn’t be any cheaper option than floating wood floors.

As a result, when you are on a budget while striving to improve and enhance the look of your home, choose a floating method to help you save money over the glue-down wood floors.

However, despite their significance, drawbacks are inevitable with the floating wood floors. For instance, you must understand that with floating wood floors, you will experience more shifts than when you install glue-down flooring.

Besides, the floating wood floors may require you to have a separate underlying that would add to installation cost and time. You may need a completely leveled surface to install the floating wood floors. Conversely, you wouldn’t worry about the leveled surface for the glue-down floors as they can sit well on uneven surfaces.

So, how do you choose the wood floor option?

If you are working on a slim budget and do not want to incur extra costs on labor and installation, your best bet is floating wood floors. With the flooring type, you can install it yourself without consulting an expert.

Floating hardwood floors go down faster and are easier to install. Overall, the cost is also lower, saving you money for the end result and installation process.

Even though glue-down wood floors are relatively easy to install, the process is lengthy, taking much time and experience, and may also require special tools that you must have the knowledge to use to realize desired installation outcome effectively. As such, if you want to do the installation yourself, the floating wood flooring will be ideal for you.

In conclusion, glue-down wood flooring is the better alternative if you want a more long-lasting and permanent flooring solution. Floating wood flooring is an ideal option for a rapid and simple installation.

How to Remove Glued-Down Hardwood Floor

Your glued-down hardwood flooring will not last forever. Eventually, you will be forced to replace the wood floor when they age or get damaged. As such, you must be equipped with the process and the potential tools that you will need for safe removal without damaging or creating an uneven subfloor.

Tools Needed

  • Hand-held Floor Scraper
  • Plastic Sheeting
  • Breathing Mask
  • Gloves and glasses
  • Painter’s tape
  • A prybar
  • Hammer or nail claw
  • Wood Chisel
  • Closed-toe shoes

Step 1: Cut the Hardwood Planks into Manageable sections

The first step to removing the glued-down hardwood floors is to reduce the planks to sizes you can easily manage. Use a handsaw or circular saw to cut the hardwood planks for this process. Reducing the planks to manageable sizes will promote easy removal.

Note that: Before you begin any process, ensure you have put on safety equipment, including glasses to protect your eyes, gloves to protect your hands, a breathing mask to prevent you from inhaling dust and other substances from the floor surface and wear long-sleeved clothing to protects the bear parts of your body.

Step 2: Pry up the Sections to Remove the Planks

Begin prying up the floor sections you have cut using a pry bar and a hammer. If the boards are nailed down, pry the nails out with a nail puller. If the boards are cemented down, scrape off as much glue as possible before prying them up.

You can use a hand-held floor scraper to remove the hardwood planks from your subfloor. All you need is to lift the handle of a hand-held floor scraper while pressing the blade under the last hardwood plank’s loosening edge.

Step 3:  Remove any Leftover Glue

You might discover that there is still adhesive on the subfloor after you have taken out all the floor components. To remove any leftover adhesive, use a scraper or chemical adhesive remover.

Step 4:  Clean up the Area

After the adhesive has been removed, vacuum and mop the surface. Ensure that you dispose of any trash and adhesive dependent on local regulations.

Note: Removing a hardwood floor that has been cemented down can be challenging and time-consuming. If you are unclear on how to proceed or lack the required tools and equipment, consider hiring an expert.

The following video illustrates how to remove and replace damaged glue down wood floor in the middle.

Does Glue Down Hardwood Expand?

Yes. Glue-down hardwood floors may expand and contract due to variations in temperature and humidity. The type of wood, the installation technique, and the environmental conditions in the installation region will all impact how much the wood will expand and contract.

Natural materials like wood absorb and release moisture in response to their environment. Wood will collect moisture and expand as the air’s humidity level rises, and it will release moisture and compress as the air’s humidity level falls. The hardwood flooring may buckle or warp due to excessive expansion.

As a result, it is imperative to acclimatize the hardwood to the installation location before installation and use a suitable glue that allows for some mobility to avoid problems with expansion and contraction. The flooring manufacturer or installer should specify the minimum and maximum humidity levels and the temperature ranges needed for installation and maintenance after installation.

It is also advised to leave expansion gaps around the room’s perimeter to accommodate the flooring’s normal expansion and contraction.

Should hardwood floors be nailed or glued?

Hardwood floor installation frequently involves either nailing or gluing, and each technique has benefits and drawbacks of its own.

Using a pneumatic nail gun or a hand Nailer, nailing entails fastening the hardwood flooring directly to the subfloor. In most cases, this approach is quicker than gluing and enables the simple removal and replacement of damaged boards. A more durable installation that can endure greater movement and moisture is produced.

However, nailing might not be appropriate for installations over concrete or other subfloors because it can make a little louder noise while people walk on the floor.

Gluing is attaching the hardwood flooring directly to the subfloor using powerful glue. This technique creates a quiet, stable floor surface that does not move or shift. It can also be used on top of concrete subfloors. Gluing takes longer than nailing and can be challenging to remove and replace individual boards when damaged.

Ultimately, whether to nail or glue a hardwood floor will rely on the installation’s particular circumstances, such as the subfloor’s type, condition, and desired finished appearance. It’s usually recommended to seek advice from a qualified flooring specialist to ascertain the ideal installation strategy for your particular circumstance.

Can you glue solid wood flooring to concrete?

Yes. Solid wood flooring can be glued to concrete. There are, however, a few crucial things to consider.

Before starting the installation procedure, it is crucial to ensure the concrete surface is clean, level, and dry. Any unevenness or wetness in the concrete can cause issues with the flooring’s installation and durability.

Second, it’s crucial to pick the appropriate adhesive for the task. On the market, numerous adhesives are made expressly for attaching solid wood flooring to concrete. It is crucial to select an adhesive appropriate for the type of wood flooring being installed and the environmental conditions in the installation area.Top of Form

Thirdly, following the manufacturer’s directions properly is crucial when using glue. The adhesive must be applied evenly and properly to achieve a solid binding between the wood and the concrete.

Finally, giving the adhesive time to dry completely is crucial before using the newly laid flooring or setting up furniture. Depending on the type of glue and the surrounding environment, this may take many days.

In general, homeowners searching for a strong, long-lasting flooring solution may find attaching solid wood flooring to concrete a perfect choice. To guarantee a successful installation, it is crucial to take the appropriate safety precautions and pay close attention to the manufacturer’s instructions.

What is the best way to attach wood to the concrete floor?

There are several ways to attach wood to a concrete floor, but the best approach will depend on the circumstances, the kind of wood, and the concrete being utilized.

Here are a few typical approaches:

Adhesive: The concrete floor can be coated with a construction adhesive, such as polyurethane or epoxy, and then the wood can be positioned on top. This technique works well for tiny pieces of wood, like trim or molding.

Join concrete to wood using screws: You can join the concrete to wood using concrete screws. The screws have a head that can be pushed into wood and threads that grip the concrete. This technique works well for larger pieces of wood, such as framing or subflooring.

Wedge anchors: Another choice for fastening wood to concrete is wedge anchors. When a nut is tightened on the threaded end, they expand as they are placed into a pre-drilled hole in the concrete, securing the wood firmly in place. It works best with heavier loads like cabinets or shelving.

Tools that use powder: Wood can be fastened to concrete using a powder-actuated tool, such as a nail gun or a stud gun. This technique uses explosive charges to secure the wood by driving nails or pins into the concrete. The ideal approach for framing or other structural work is this one.

Note: Each technique needs a unique set of equipment and abilities to be used effectively. It would help if you spoke to a specialist when in doubt of the best approach or have any queries regarding the procedure.

What are the side effects of floor glue?

If exposed to floor glue, you may experience several adverse reactions, including headaches, nausea, dizziness, asthma, allergies, and skin and eye irritation due to the chemicals in adhesive and sealant systems in the wood glue.

The degree of these side effects may depend on a particular glue being used, the person’s level of exposure, and their sensitivity.

The compounds in some varieties of floor glue may also potentially harm the neurological system, liver, or kidneys when exposed for an extended period or repeatedly.

As a result, when working with floor glue, it is crucial to take the right safety precautions, including wearing protective clothing, ensuring proper ventilation, and avoiding extended or repetitive exposure, to reduce the possibility of experiencing adverse effects.


Glued-down hardwood floors may encounter several issues, including adhesive failure, buckling, cupping, crowning, and gapping. Things like incorrect installation, insufficient hardwood acclimatization, temperature and humidity swings, and the use of improper adhesives can bring these problems.

However, following the right installation techniques, using the right materials, and maintaining constant climatic conditions are crucial to preventing the problems. Additionally, any emerging difficulties should be treated to stop future harm to the hardwood flooring.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top