A wood flooring installer relies on a variety of specialized tools to provide quality installation of wood floors. Among the most important of the tools available should be a quality wood moisture meter. What can it do?
- Establish job-site MC conditions
- Be species specific
- Limit liability
- Increase accuracy
- Reduce warranty work
Every industry has rules-of-thumb. However, accepting them as the standard for your business practices can be hazardous, particularly if you’re not clear why a rule-of-thumb exists.Wood is a hygroscopic material. It constantly interacts with the air around it, including the water vapor (humidity) in the air. Because each job site will have different ambient conditions, care must be taken to be sure that the wood flooring reaches a state of equilibration (EMC) with its own unique situation. Initial moisture content of the flooring, relative humidity of the job site, HVAC operation – there are a number of factors that come into play and determine the length of this process. Only a wood moisture meter can accurately determine when the flooring MC has stabilized.
As every wood flooring professional knows, each species of wood will react differently to moisture around it. Woods like cedar or teak are known for their moisture resistance, while other woods are more susceptible to moisture intrusion. By accurately measuring wood flooring, with the appropriate setting for the species, wood flooring installers can be sure they have accurately gauged the installation details, including possible expansion during seasonal shifts. With so many species of natural and engineered flooring products on the floor, understanding the distinct species provides one more step to the success of the finished floor.
Moisture-related wood flooring problems result in millions of dollars of damage in lost materials, man hours and reputation each year. Each layer of a flooring system must be tested and confirmed to prevent moisture-related problems that may come back to haunt a flooring professional. By accurately monitoring flooring MC during installation, wood flooring specialists do all they can to ensure a durable, reliable quality job that will last for decades of client use. If your moisture meter also has data storage available, it can provide necessary records should the question of liability ever be at stake.
Accuracy is the true key to success when using wood moisture meters. A variety of technologies and features means that it’s necessary to both choose wisely and understand the operation of your wood moisture meter. Some meters, like Wagner Meters’ wood moisture meters, adjust automatically for wood temperature while others require correction tables. The same is true of species settings. Variable depth readings or the interplay of surface moisture can also affect accuracy just as deeply as basic calibration. With a quality wood moisture meter, your chances of a successful installation and floor lifespan increase dramatically.
As with most things, the proverbial ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to moisture-related flooring problems. With accurate moisture measurement during acclimation and installation, warranty work should quickly become a thing of the past; freeing you to carry on with what you do best – installing beautiful floors for a lifetime of natural durability.