Cracks in new hardwood floors

We've just moved into our new home, most of which we built. We had hardwood floors installed in most of the house. The floor company wanted the floors to acclimate after the installation for two weeks before finishing. But we had no choice with our move-in date, so they acclimated only one week before the finishing work. However, the wood had been delivered to our house a week before installation began.
The finished floors looked amazing--smooth, tight, beautiful. About two or three weeks after finishing, the weather here (Southern California) took a bit of a dip--lots of rain on several days and low temperatures that were ten or fifteen degrees colder than at installation time (we're still only talking about the low 40s and high 30s). Around that time, we began (a.) hearing repeated loud pops and bangs during the night, and (b.) seeing cracks emerge between boards. The flooring company says these cracks are the normal results of cold(er) weather shrinkage and should close up again somewhat as weather warms in the spring. But I'm concerned. The vast majority of the cracks/separations are less than the thickness of a credit card. But there are at least a dozen that two credit cards would fit into, and two or three that I can pretty easily fit four credit cards into.
My questions: are these separations indeed normal, particularly in a mild climate where nighttime temperatures don't get down much below 38? Can I actually expect the cracks to close back up in the spring (and then, presumably, open up again next winter)? Did I lose any right to complain by not waiting the full two weeks between installation and finishing? What options do I have, as regards the appearance of these floors?
Jim Beaver
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or
snip The flooring company says these cracks are

into,
by
Wood moves along the width of the board, not the length. This is somewhat normal. It probably will expand in the spring. You may want to consider running a humidifier in the house if the humidity is much less than normal for your area. It may take some time for the wood to swell again. Ed
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On Sat, 10 Jan 2004 18:55:53 GMT, "Jim Beaver"

Separations will happen if the floor was not properly installed. "Floating floors" won't do this. Wood expands/contracts due to humidity, rather than temperature changes. Two weeks wait should have been done, one month is even better although that is not always practical or folks are impatient. Do they have a customer satisfaction guarantee?
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My only experience with hard wood floors (not engineered flooring) are with stage floors. The contractor demanded that the boards be delivered into a conditioned space 30 days before installation. They did the installation and never a problem even with heavy stage equipment.
I can not imagine that the temp inside your home varied like it does outside. Kalifornia is pretty temperate me thinks you might have rushed things a mite.
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I
engineered
long
I think this goes beyond "character." The number and width of the cracks has increased so much that virtually everyone who steps into my house says, "What's wrong with your floors?" My contractor (not the sub-contractor who put the floors in) says he's never seen anything like it. I do in fact snag my socks on the cracks, often and repeatedly. Two credit cards is now the minimum width of the cracks--they've all widened to as much as four or five credit-card thicknesses.
The waiver I signed read as follows: "It is recommended that the 1/2" x 2" select red oak flooring have an acclimation period of two weeks after installation. Due to time perimeters the contractor has chosen to have the newly installed floors acclimate for only one week and shall hold [the company] harmeless of any possible cupping or other natural conditions."
There is no sign of cupping. Just wide, wide cracks between probably forty percent of the boards in the house. The flooring sub-contractor has stated in his defense not that this is a serious flaw due to a shortened acclimation time, but that these cracks are normal and will close up in the summer (when it doesn't rain for months on end? How does that work? They're shrinking during the most humid part of the year here in Southern California.)
Any further ideas?
Jim Beaver
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Jim Beaver wrote:

It seems to me that your floor is a bloody mess! Unfortunately. Can't say I have a lot of experience with wood floors, only put in one but it has *zero* gaps between planks winter or summer. And that's in Florida where both heat and humidity vary markedly by season.
Seems to me that the gaps are way too much to be accounted for by seasonal expansion and contraction (I'm assuming planks 2 1/4" or so). What else? Don't know...improperly fastened maybe?
Were the joints tight after installation but before sanding? Could it be that they weren't and sanding dust filled the joints when finished and has worked out? Again, don't know, wouldn't think so unless they were oil finished. In my case, I filled any gaps after installation (not many and narrow) with a mix of sanding dust and lacquer. Those areas are still tight too. ___________________________

OK, the company would seem to be off the hook. But not the contractor. Frankly, I can't see another week's acclimation making that much difference. Unless the stuff had been hosed down. _____________________________

I sure wouldn't consider them "normal". If push is coming to shove, it seems to me that you need an opinion as to cause from an impartial expert. Not another contractor but I don't know what...engineer maybe?
I'd also be measuring the total width of cracks across a given area and checking the maximum possible seasonal expansion/contraction against that.
Good luck...
-- dadiOH _____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.0... ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico ____________________________
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Your contractor shouldnt have allowed you to force the instal. But he made you sign a waiver. So take it all up and re- lay the floor.
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