What's happening to our floors?

Our house has pre-finished tongue and groove maple floors. It's solid 3/4", not the 3/8" plywood stuff. There's a stain on top with some sort of clear finish, probably polyeurethane.
The problem is that the finish is coming off in some places. It starts from the edges of the boards. At first, I thought it was water damage because the finsh came off near a plunger that was wet in the bathroom. Then I remembered that our previous house had a similar floor (that one was oak instead of maple) but it was cheaper stuff, and the finish never came off.
Then I found a board nowhere near the bathroom that was doing the same thing. In all cases, the adjascent board is perfect.
Any ideas what's going on? I have plenty of extra boards so worst case, I could cut a board out with the circular saw, then rip off the back side of the tongue and replace it. One of the advantages of being a woodworker I guess. :)
I'm guessing that this is a manufacturing defect on some of the boards. Then again, maybe I just got it wet. Any ideas?
brian
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Since your floors were pre finished, it was likely finished with an aluminum oxide based coating rather than a poly. This coating is extremely durable, but, like carbide, is also very fragile. If the flooring is fairly new, it was likely initially damaged during the install. What makes me think this is the fact that you say its along the edges. If you look closely at the profile of the tongue/groove you'll notice that the groove on the top is slightly back beveled. This allows the flooring to be butt up tight together and minimize gaps. The problem lies in that the top beveled edge on the groove side gets slammed up against the tongue side during the install and the fragile oxide coating cracks. Soon, the finish starts to just flake off in these areas. All to often, this is caused by the installer just giving the boards a hard smack with the tomahawk rather than gently tapping them together before fastening down. Pre finished needs a little easier touch than unfinished for this reason. --dave

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I think you nailed it (couldn't resist the pun). Luckily there are a lot of extra boards, but replacing them is a pain. My only worry here is that we're renting this house. And it is new, we're the first ones in it. I need to call the owner now rather than getting blamed for the finish problems later. Great.
brian
Dave Jackson wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Call by all means. But put it in writing too and keep a copy.
You may be fortunately enough to have a really excellent landlord. But protect yourself, just in case he turns out to be not quite as wonderful as you thought.
--
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 14 Jan 2007 06:20:36 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@malch.com (Malcolm Hoar) wrote:

Photos might also be a good idea.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
So it's the landlord's problem. Be sure to keep it that way.
If you start messing with his floor, then it's YOUR problem, and if you can't fix it it is still YOUR problem and you might have to replace HIS floor for him.
Not all good Samaritans go to heaven, some go to court.
Old Guy

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Old guy wrote:

Listen to the man. He is 100% right.
Other than that, I try to steer clear of all water based finishes. Where the water molecules can get out during drying, they can get back in due to damp and water, and cause all sorts of miscoloring and flaking.
Oil based thinners do not let water back in. The water molecules are too big, I was told by an old pro.
BjarteR
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 14 Jan 2007 14:06:38 +0100, Bjarte Runderheim

I used to do the same, before I tried the latest Fuhr, Target, and ML Cambell products. They're fantastic and have come a very long way.

Many old pros are understandably afraid of water based finishes based on old information and horrible past experiences.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Wan't too see just how clear water based finiahes are? Put a nice thick layer on a sheet of glass and let it dry.
I think the results will surprise you.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
R. Pierce Butler wrote:

I don't understand your point or how it fits with what you quoted, but I'd love to know more.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
brianlanning wrote:

I agree with the other posters.. If you are renting, don't mess with it. Just call the landlord and tell him the damage is starting, and yes, take pictures. Do it now, so you don't get blamed for the damage when you move out.
One of the main benefits of renting is that stuff like this isn't your problem. If you really want to repair a house, you're more than welcome to come over to my place.. LOL I can keep you busy for a long time.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.