How Does Moisture Affect Your Atlanta Hardwood Flooring?

Welcome back to the Foxhound Flooring Atlanta blog where today’s article is based on a question that is constantly asked by our clients and potential clients so you guessed it folks, I’m about to share the proverbial “goods” and bring you up to speed on this whole moisture business and how it affects your beautiful hardwood floors so let’s get started.

You should be aware that the moisture content for wood flooring does change with time and more specifically when there are environmental changes as well that will affect your hardwoods in a potentially adverse manner and who needs that?

Not our Foxhound Flooring Atlanta clients and you can be assured that we have moisture prevention down to a science so no need to worry as we have done the worrying for you and have multiple preventive solutions in place when it comes to moisture prevention.

So what is the first step to prevent unwanted moisture related issues?

Glad you asked and acclimating the flooring product itself before installation over either a concrete slab or a wood sub-floor is a reasonable step but that is not enough to prevention moisture damage.

So what’s the issue with a concrete slab when it comes to installing hardwoods on top of it?

That’s a loaded question and we all need to be concerned when it comes to moisture in the concrete slab as the ramifications are real and they aren’t pretty and downright awful when it comes to your finished flooring. Why?

Quite simply because it will ruin the hardwoods and a very common reason due to the fact that the concrete slab did not dry completely per the finished specifications which causes the “evil” moisture to seep through the surface of the concrete slab and that is when the hardwood floors become damaged.

What type of damage are we going to see?

For starters, you will see adhesive failure to the wood to include the hardwoods being warped and eventual cupping which is downright hideous and heartbreaking after beautiful hardwoods have been installed with your hard earned money. And those are the repercussions of a new slab as we have not even gotten to the ramifications of an older slab so let’s keep rolling.

What about that older slab?

For starters if the older slab develops any type of cracks (which they do over time) or simply moist patches, this basically means the same results in new/newer slabs and that is for the moisture to “creep” towards the surface and damage the hardwood flooring which is plain awful if ask anyone. Furthermore, I run into floor installers in my industry who just don’t want to see the light and talk about how a vapor barrier will prevent this but I just don’t see how, in fact moisture will still be an issue if the slab did not properly dry and that’s a fact according to Foxhound Floors Atlanta! There I said it and I feel so much better about it as it’s so frustrating to hear this nonsense being spewed by certain floor installers in our industry who shall remain nameless as I don’t want to get sued just for being upfront about potential hardwood flooring disasters which with some simple common sense can be prevented.

So what methodologies are in place when it comes to concrete moisture issues being tested in order for preventative maintenance to occur and for the record, it is referred to as relative humidity (RH) testing that is used for onsite probes and they are quite handy. There are also moisture meters for concrete which is simply a tool and it indicates whether the concrete itself is wet or dry. How cool is that folks?

This practice is rather complex and the odds of a flooring contractor performing such a test is probably not going to happen but it does require you (the hardwood installer) to pay attention to what the job specifications have called for and what the test results were which should determine the eventual outcome of your Atlanta hardwoods flooring installation. Furthermore, there is a specific reality that moisture problems can cause the flooring contractor who is not quite “aware” of his installation surroundings and though the moisture issue in the slab may not be the fault of the flooring installer and absolutely nothing was ever mentioned to the client, that specific flooring installer (the one who did the hardwood install) will now own the issue however unfair it may be. It happens folks and better to understand the minutiae of your chosen profession then to go around working for free. 

We’ve got wooden sub-floors to cover and it’s the same results as the concrete slabs if you don’t pay attention to moisture related issues, they will ruin your Atlanta hardwood installation to no end. But you are in luck today folks as there are a couple different types of moisture meters that are used for testing wood flooring moisture and used specifically to measure the moisture content. Well what are they then?

Glad you asked (you’re truly a sharp crowd.) They are the pin-style and pin-less meters to be exact so let’s define what each one is. A pin meter measures the moisture content of the hardwood by running an electrical signal between the tips of two sharp probes that are put into the wood and the result is that they can tell what the moisture levels are. With pin-style meters, you can actually test the hardwoods at different depths but the downside (there are always caveats) is that the area tested is really small with each insertion into the hardwood so it damages the wood surface each time you test it.

What about pin-less meters?

They use electromagnetic signals to penetrate the hardwood surface and in turn use the signal to get a measurement of the content of the hardwood that is being checked. The advantage is that you can literally scan large amounts of feet of hardwood in quick fashion and no damage is done to the wood surfaces versus the pin-style meters that do damage. Also make sure to scan a good portion of the area of the wooden sub-floor so you can be absolutely sure that you don’t have any moisture issues at hand and then you will be ready to do your Atlanta hardwood installation.

As a reminder, please make sure before you install the hardwoods that you’ve checked them with a moisture meter and that the room conditions are considered normal for installation. It’s better to be safe than sorry if you ask me so do your homework before any hardwood installation. Once again, if you’ve made it this far, we at Foxhound Floors Atlanta greatly appreciate you for reading our blog and reach out to us if you any questions whatsoever as we are here to be of service to our Metro Atlanta clients and beyond.




Foxhound Floors Atlanta Team


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