Dark stains on wood floors installed 2004

These wood floors show stains across them that are not next to a door or plumbing of any kind. This is a ground floor of a two story home at the formal din room/hall to powder/breakfast, and stairs. Took moisture readings and they were in the normal range. Have a couple of ideas as to what might be happening (vapor barrier msg at slab, fish tank) but wanted other input.

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It “was” water.

Conditions change with the weather.

The question is not what caused the staining (water/moisture) so much as where did it come from. My first question, before you stated it, was is this a slab foundation? My WAG would be no vapor barrier, or damaged, or mis-installed barrier. And as David said, conditions change all the time. The water may be back when conditions change.

Well, the neighbor stated that there was a drainage issue but that underground drains were put in. Home, btw, is 6-7’ from neighbors on sides.
If it is a vapor barrier issue couldn’t the floor be pulled up and have a plastic sheeting put down?
If there is sanding done would that be effective?
Is it possible this is a bad batch of hardwood, etc and call it a defect or does the dark stain just pretty much guarantee moisture?
I’m going to put all of these possibles in my wording since this was the buyers biggest concern.

The patterns look just like what I see with thermal imaging when water is present below the flooring. I see no other cause. Without active water presence, that is all we have to go on.

As water damage occurred from below (not above from a plant etc.) sanding will not likely work.

And where were the neighbors downspouts draining to? I had one a few weeks ago, neighbors house was 12ft away, and the downspouts were aimed at this home with 6ft extensions!!! Guess where all the water pooled at?

If it worked at all, it may only be a temprary solution. Personally, I wouldn’t bet on it, unless they went to a darker stain to mask it.

Doubtfull it is a defect. Water is pretty much guaranteed.

Shot in the dark here, but I have seen rugs get wet and hold it to the floor, destroying it.

The floor can be saved but that does not address the issue of how it happened. Floor would need to be sanded down, treated with oxalic acid and then re-stained / re-finished. But if the cause is not taken care of, it will most likely return.

Thanks for all of the input. Here is my verbage. Suggestions on it.

There are multiple areas of the hardwood flooring with what appear to be moisture stains. These stains are not as a result of a plumbing or roof leak and are not recent. Moisture readings were taken and the levels are not elevated. It may have been that the previous owner had a fish tank which transferred to the floor. A second scenario is that a moisture barrier is either missing in certain areas or not placed at all causing the vapor to emanate up through the wood. A moisture barrier is both necessary to separate the bare soil from the foundation concrete and also one is needed to separate the foundation from the wood. Without invasive inspection, which is outside of the scope of this visual only inspection, it cannot be determined with certainty as to the origination of these stains. It is recommended that the flooring be removed and further assessment be made by a qualified, competent contractor that speciallizes in the installation of hardwood flooring. If the source of this moisture is not determined then it will likely continue. PHOTOGRAPH’S “B & C”

Unless you have reason to believe that a fish tank caused this, I would take that sentence out of your comment. From my point of view, that appears to be pure speculation, and probably not the best idea for your inspection report.

Just my 2 cents. :D:D

http://www.hardwoodinstaller.com/hardwoodinstaller/hardwood-floors-basements.htm

I agree with Mark. IMO for you to try to determine cause in this case is all speculation. I would only report what I found and my recommendation. I would eliminate all of this verbiage in the report;

“These stains are not as a result of a plumbing or roof leak and are not recent. It may have been that the previous owner had a fish tank which transferred to the floor. A second scenario is that a moisture barrier is either missing in certain areas or not placed at all causing the vapor to emanate up through the wood. A moisture barrier is both necessary to separate the bare soil from the foundation concrete and also one is needed to separate the foundation from the wood.”

I my choose to say this verbally to my client, but I wouldn’t put it in writing.

The hardwood flooring has inconsistent discoloration present at numerous locations, generally associated with liquid spillage and or moisture intrusion. Nondestructive moisture readings were taken with (state type of equipment, unless you own the proper deep sensing MM your test equip. may not be of any value) at the discolored areas and the levels are not elevated above what is considered acceptable by industry standards **(if you know these are). **The inspector did not locate nor identify the source causing this discoloration. Consult a qualified flooring contractor for further evaluation possibly including destructive testing of the associated components to locate and remedy the source. This should also include all repair, retrofit, replacement or upgrade recommendations and cost estimates of any items deemed necessary prior to closing on or listing this property.

I never report on defects as to how or why they are there unless I absolutely know from experience.

Simply report these stained floors and recommend that a hardwood floor specialist evaluate and estimate repairs.

Done and no more worrying.

I agree with David and the other guys Richard. Too many variables to know what happened.
Very eratic staining and in all my years of installing and viewing hardwood floors is beyound my capacity also as to the cause.

Staining of the hardwood floor was observed in numerous location and unknown cause from this inspectors observation, recommend a full evaluation from a flooring expert or manufacturers representative. Done.

And why didn’t you pick up that coin in the third picture?:mrgreen::wink:

how about dog or cat urine? I have come across stains similar to these and found out it was due to animal urine.

That’s what I thought too, but it’s usually more “spotty” in my opinion. This almost looks like a carpet runner was wet…

I don’t know. I think I’d just say water stains, defer, and move on.

How many confirmed dog/cat pee cases do we have here?

I guess this just proves that your WAG, is as good as our WAG.

I have a dozen cases that were water coming up from the slab; confirmed cases.

Still doesn’t mean that is what it is.

I’d be happy to come down and determine what is really is…

Check SOP; not required to determine “what” caused the problem.
Just report what you see. That is all your expected to do.

In the last 38 years I have seen this more times than I can remember. This looks like a dog or cat has been “marking its territory”. Most likely on the carpet/runner.

You can do a scan with a “black light” and the uric acid will glow under the light. Also, there are several kits that you can buy that will confirm the presence of urine.

dog pee
I agree seen it many times and once in a rental home I had 8 months $13,000;00 damage welfare person and I never had another rental home since .

Roy