Buying a home with wooden floors or replacing the carpet in areas of your home with sleek wooden flooring is great to enhance a more modern look to your home. Not only this but they’re also longer lasting and more cost-effective, meaning you won’t have to worry about replacing them in 5-10 years as you do with carpets.
Wooden floors are also low maintenance and easy to clean, ideal if you’ve got accident-prone children or pets.
However, this is not to say that wooden floors don’t come without their problems sometimes, one of which is when they become spongy or soft.
If this has happened to you then this article will help you find out how to fix your spongy wood floors and also discover why your floor is getting soft.
Why is my floor getting soft?
1. Improper Underlayment Installation
Using the wrong type of underlayment or installing it incorrectly can lead to soft or spongy areas on your wooden floor. You should make sure to use underlayment that’s made for wooden flooring and not carpets, however, if you’ve bought a house with existing wooden floors then this would have been out of your control.
Underlayment for carpet is softer and thicker so that the carpet is more comfortable to walk on, however, when under wooden flooring it will feel spongy.
If the underlayment has been laid improperly, for example, parts of the underlayment are overlapping or more than one layer has been installed then this can cause the wooden flooring to go spongy.
2. Uneven Subfloor
An uneven subfloor in your home can cause soft spots on your wooden flooring. This may cause the wooden floorboard to not be attached securely to the floor joists which is causing movement and gives slightly when you step on it.
Another key sign of an uneven subfloor is that your subfloor is concrete, plywood, or OSB and that the spongy area of the floor is still pretty flat but flexes when you step on a lot more than when you step on other areas of the flooring.
3. Water Damage
A very common cause of spongy wooden floors is water damage which could be anything from using excessive amounts of water whilst mopping or a burst pipe in the room or under the room.
4. Termite Damage
An unfortunate cause of spongy wooden floors in your home is termite damage, which is much more common with older homes. Termites can penetrate the floor and cause the subfloor and wooden areas to begin to disintegrate. You may notice that your floorboards may move or make a noise when you walk over them if termites are present.
How to fix your spongy wood floors
1. Solving Improper Underlayment Installation
If you were the people to install the underlayment with the wooden flooring and you know it has been done incorrectly or you may have used the wrong type of underlayment, then you’ll need to completely redo it. You’ll have to remove the wooden flooring, fix the underlayment issue, and then reinstall the flooring.
If you hired a professional to do your flooring and they did it incorrectly, you could probably get reimbursed for the issues and possibly a free reinstallation.
2. Fixing Uneven Subfloor
You can follow this DIY method to even out your subfloor under your flooring.
- Start by locating all of your spongy areas and apply some masking tape to the surface of the flooring
- Drill a small hole using a power drill on your floor seem
- Attach an air inflator needle to the tube nozzle of an expanding foam can
- Insert the air inflator needle (attached to the expanding foam) into the hole until it fills the gap and the floor feels more secure
- Wipe away excess foam and block off the area so it can set without anyone touching it
- Once it is properly set, fill the hole with a putty that matches the color of your wood floors
However, if you’re not quite the handyman/woman, then we’d recommend getting in some professionals who’ll be able to do the job properly and efficiently.
3. Finding and Fixing Water Damage
Water damage should be fairly obvious if a pipe has burst in your home, however, if you’ve suspected water damage but you don’t know what’s causing it, then you should get a professional plumber in to take a look.
Once the water issue has been addressed and solved you can now focus on replacing your wooden floorboards that are damaged.
You may also need to check that the sub-floor or the floor joists have not been affected by water damage as this will also make the wooden floor feel spongy as delamination can occur which means the glue that holds the sub-floor sheets together swells.
4. Addressing Termite Damage
If you’ve concluded that termites are the cause of spongy floors, then you’ll probably need to replace the affected floorboards. However, before reinstalling your fresh floorboards, you’ll need to address the termite problem and see if they’ve affected the subfloor or floor joists under the underlayment as well.
If you’ve got a termite infestation then you’ll need to hire a professional to come in to take care of them who will provide treatment to get rid of them. They may assess any structural damage and then advise you on whether you should hire a contractor to conduct the repairs and replacement of affected areas.
Hopefully, our recommendations will allow you to address and solve the problems that are causing your wooden floors to become spongy. If you’re having difficulty finding out what is causing it, then we’d recommend getting in a contractor to take a look, this may be recommended more so for people who own an older home or were not the ones to install the wooden flooring.