In my first blog, I talked about starting your documentation and moisture testing procedures. In this edition, I will talk about moisture testing and documentation from delivery of product to installation.
Now I have already delivered my material to a stable job site and it is acclimating, all I have to do is wait. Experience has given me a good idea about how long a particular species will take before it is ready for installation based on its original moisture content and where it needs to be for installation in the environment.
I will usually check the product one week before installation. This gives me a buffer and helps me accommodate a product that is not acclimating very quickly. When at the job site, again I check the environment with a thermo-hygrometer and document the readings. It is not uncommon for me to use a jobsite monitoring device or data logger (Meter #4). This is a tool that stays on-site and can remotely send job site conditions to my email. This is especially helpful on new construction sites when the general contractor is telling you that the air has been on and in reality, it is 95 °F in the house.
Once the wood is acclimated, we are ready for demo of the existing flooring. Once this is completed, I will walk the entire project looking for any signs of old water damage or moisture. On a wood subfloor, I will also randomly check the subfloor with a wood moisture meter, or if concrete I will use a concrete moisture meter (Meter #5). This concrete meter only gives me a qualitative number! Meaning that it does not give me any actual values, but it will help me determine whether to install or not. This test does give me the ability to check the moisture content of areas known to be dry because of relative humidity tests, which is a quantitative test, against areas of possible past or present moisture damage. If I have a high reading from the concrete moisture meter, then I need to evaluate whether a relative humidity test needs to be done to confirm the accurate moisture content.
Now that I am installing, I need to determine if I am going to be installing any wood flooring monitoring devices/data loggers (Meter #6). This is a device that is installed in the floor and will remain in the floor. It will give us accurate moisture content of the floor and in some cases the subfloor. These can be pricy, and some of my customers love them, but honestly, most don’t think it is worth the money. There are some floors where I just don’t give the customer a choice. It is peace of mind for me! After all, these are my floors.
I will continue to monitor the job site conditions throughout the installation. If the conditions fall out of acceptable ranges, then the homeowner/builder will get an email. In the email, I will document the readings and reiterate the necessity for this floor to remain in its “happy place.”
Now that the floor is installed, we will let the floor settle for a week or two and come back for our sand and finish and our final part.
Jason Elquest is owner of Scottsdale, Arizona-based Blackhawk Floors Inc. and is an NWFA Regional Instructor. He can be reached at [email protected].