Protect Your Hardwood Floor from Moisture Problems
The range of wood species used for flooring has been increasing far beyond standard domestic Northern Hemisphere softwoods and hardwoods. The choice of species can be motivated by aesthetics, functionality or a sense of environmental responsibility. For the home or business owner, it can seem like a dizzying array of colors, grains, patterns, prices and options. For the installer, it can raise questions about the quality of the manufacturer and the accuracy of their moisture meter.
For both client and installer, it pays to understand the natures of the various exotic woods being used for flooring. By nature, they are beautiful. But also by nature, they may react differently to moisture.
Cork, for example, is a great choice for softening sound and impact. But it doesn’t just absorb sound, it also rather readily absorbs moisture. This makes it a poorer choice for kitchen, bath or laundry areas, and it also means that any moisture meter readings may seem more unpredictable when testing a cork floor. It may not mean that the meters are inaccurate, but instead could indicate a moisture condition that will be highly subject to environmental influences.
Understanding the susceptibility of cork to moisture can have a huge impact on the installers schedule, and on the finishes used to protect a cork floor.
Several exotic choices, including Brazilian cherry, Wenge, Bubinga, and some bamboos are excellent choices for hardwood floors due to the inherent strength that helps them resist dents and scratches. Oak has typically been the North American standard for a “hard” wood but these wood choices all have two to three times the density and subsequent strength of oak. But it does not follow that they are immune to moisture-related problems. In fact, their increased density can make the installer’s task more precisely demanding to avoid shifting and splitting with use. The other challenge for installers is in knowing their moisture meter includes settings or corrections for the specific gravity (SG) of these hardwoods. Meters like the Wagner MMC220, with its user-settable extended SG range make it easy to switch from one species of flooring to another.
The range of exotic woods available offers a dazzling array of choices. But both client and installer are responsible to protect their exotic flooring investment with knowledge of the specific wood’s attributes and a professional installation that takes appropriate measures to prevent moisture-related problems in the future. It will be well worth the investment.
Wagner Meters can help you protect your beautiful hardwood floors from moisture damage. Wagner offers a variety of easy to use, handheld moisture meters for wood that can accurately verify the moisture content level of your flooring.
Ron is an application specialist for Wagner Meters, and has over 30 years of experience in instrumentation and measurement systems in different industries. In previous positions, he has served as a regional sales manager, product and projects manager, and sales manager with manufacturers involved in measurement instrumentation.