New wood floor shrinking over top of HVAC Ducts

Hi-- I installed an engineered maple floor on the main floor of my house, on a subfloor over a basement. This was installed in fall and, over winter, the floor has started to shrink in one specific area where the HVAC pipes run underneath the floor.
I realize that this area is getting heated and as the wood dries out, it shrinks.
Can anyone tell me if this is permanent or if some of the moisture is going to return to this area during the summer, as the A/C runs through those same vents?
Would it be worth my time to insulate the pipes from underneath the subfloor, or is the damage done?
Thanks
--
Rocko1


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On 3/9/2013 9:16 AM, Rocko1 wrote:

It's likely on it's own to not readsorb sufficient moisture to "grow" back to initial size. Sounds like the material wasn't acclimated to conditions for long enough before installation might have contributed to problems.
Can't hurt to try to minimize the temp differential; moisture won't be added just by the cooler air. You might, after the installation is in place putting some open containers of water in the area and see if can raise localized humidity enough to get some absorption. More success perhaps w/ actually trying to dampen the shrunken pieces themselves via, say, damp cloth overnight or the like.
Depending on the local climate and just how humid an area it is come warmer weather I might just wait a summer and see what happens on it's own.
Out of curiosity, how thick and wide are the individual pieces?
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On 3/9/2013 4:45 PM, dpb wrote:

Normally manufacturers ask that with engineered you let it climitize for a couple of weeks in the room before installing.
I'd be curious to know the thickness and the width as well as the engineered material i.e. plywood or mdf or hdf....
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Rocko1 wrote:

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Thanks for the tips. The floor is 3/8" engineered, made by Bruce, 5" wide planks of varying length (most are between 2-3 feet). There are several layers of different types of wood composing the product and I am not sure if mdf is one of them.
We did open all of the boxes and leave them scattered around the floor of the house for 3-4 weeks, but not all of the wood was removed from the boxes. For what it's worth, we laid about 600 sq feet, and we're only getting gaps in this one section where the hvac pipes run across the floor. The gaps are showing up between the narrow ends of the long boards, not on the sides. A few are wide enough to stick a quarter into without it touching anything.
There is not a central humidifier, but that's an interesting idea!
--
Rocko1


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What I've done to "fix" gaps that open up between vinyl composition floor tiles is to caulk those gaps with a colour matching caulk. I just put painter's masking tape down on the edge of the tile on each side of the gap, fill the gap with the colour matching caulk, tool the joint with a soapy finger and pull the masking tape off.
You might wanna wait to see what the floor does on it's own come the higher humidity months of summer. But, keep in mind that if push comes to shove, you can always Google "colour matching caulk" and find lots of places that sell acrylic caulk in a wide variety of colours.
--
nestork


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On 3/9/2013 9:05 PM, Rocko1 wrote:

Unless there's a way for air movement around the material, there's not going to be a lot of moisture movement so I still suspect the conditioning wasn't particularly effective.
But...that observable shrinkage is along the length is virtually conclusive whatever movement is there is in the substrate or the substrate is cross-grain to the face grain (and must be very thin veneer or printed) because solid wood shrinkage longitudinally is almost nil.
As said before since it is preferentially occurring in this area it makes sense to remove/minimize the localized heat source and try some localized re-humidification efforts.
I'd also suggest contacting Bruce or an authorized Bruce dealer/installer directly (but not the BORG; they'll have nobody who knows anything specific)...
--


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