Problems, Causes & Cures

Every tangible item used in wood flooring has the potential to create a problem. Every problem also has a cause and a cure. Our industry has done a good job of identifying and assessing some of these issues in our Problems, Causes, and Cures (C200) publication.

The first version of Problems, Causes, and Cures that I have been able to uncover from our archives is from 1991. This publication contains 21 common problems including cupping, crowning, buckling, normal cracks, and abnormal cracks. The purpose of this publication was to help the reader properly identify a problem, determine what may have caused it, and provide solutions about how to correct it. The mission of this initial publication was to help make inspections of problems easier and more accurate so that the ultimate owner of the floor will be pleased and satisfied with our industry’s product.

This publication has been updated several times since then; however, the purpose and mission have not changed. New problems, causes, and cures have been added, problem titles have changed or have been combined, and some have been completely removed for various reasons. The industry has evolved as well, which has given us new issues to identify.
The current version of Problems, Causes, and Cures was published in 2011, 20 years after the original version. This version contains 48 common problems including all of the originals, as well as several new additions such as compression set, delamination, end-lifting, overwood/underwood, applicator streaks, and polybeads. Many of the added problems came along with changes in our industry. Many were also added due to the heightened awareness of the true value and international acceptance of this publication, which made its importance and significance even greater.

Most likely, anyone who has worked in the world of wood flooring, including wood floor inspectors, installers, finishers, sales professionals, manufacturers, and distributors, has used this publication as a resource at one time or another, whether quoting from it, using it as a reference, or repurposing the verbiage in an article or technical manual. There is no arguing that the role this manual has had within our industry has changed since 1991, and continues to become more relevant to all who use it.

All NWFA members will receive a new revision of this publication in the coming weeks. Additional copies will be available for purchase at The latest version includes 80 listed problems with much more detail added to potential causes and cures. We have also reorganized the topics to be easier to navigate through, and combined like-topics into a color-coordinated layout. You will find new topics such as end-swell, hollow sounds, crooked installation, telegraphing core, popped filler, open-grain contamination, and white lines (to name a few). There also have been several photos and images added to clarify each topic further. These common problems were identified and subsequently added to this publication to further strengthen its purpose in our industry.

Many professionals who represent all facets of our industry including flooring manufacturers, finish manufacturers, adhesive manufacturers, equipment manufacturers, distributors, installers, and inspectors were an instrumental part in putting this revision together.

Update: The updated publication is now available for download. NWFA members can download the publication here.

4 thoughts

  1. I would like a copy of this publication.

    Kenneth Betts
    Enlighten Inspection Services
    2849 Forest Wood Dr NE
    Marietta, GA 30066

  2. Please share a copy of this publication. I just had new pine hardwoods installed and after they sealed them they started separating in places cause large gaps in the seams. We cannot get the installers to return our calls!
    Thanks so much!

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