Pierce Flooring Tackles Wood Flooring Issues with Wagner’s Environmental Data Logger

Installers for Pierce Flooring always test for wood moisture before and during the installation process.

Installers for Pierce Flooring always test for wood moisture before and during the installation process.

Whenever you run into a moisture-related problem with a wood floor—whether crowning, cupping, buckling, warping, cracking, gapping, or some other issue—you want an easy way to address the source of the problem.

Plus, if you’re like Pierce Flooring, a third-generation retail flooring and installation company in Montana, you want to know: Is it a problem related to your installation? Or did the customer fail to maintain the inside temperature and humidity levels?

Pierce doesn’t take these questions lightly.

Want to discover their solution for addressing such questions and pinpointing who may be at fault when a flooring issue arises? Then read on.

Pierce wants to do everything they can to make things right, as evidenced by the fact that they’ve been successfully serving customers for 99 years. Their longevity sets them apart and shows that they stand behind their work if there’s a problem.

Moisture-Related Problems and the Environment

Pierce Flooring serves its customers by ensuring quality wood flooring installations.

Problems, of course, are bound to occur at times, and moisture is often the cause. It can be as simple as an issue with the indoor environment. When swings in temperature and humidity become too great, the hygroscopic nature of wood causes floorboards to expand or shrink to the point that the flooring can be seriously harmed.

Steve Denny, Pierce Flooring’s Vice President and Director of Operations/Retail Sales, says, “We have had many issues in the past with hardwood problems that we believe were environmentally caused.”

Denny has seen a variety of issues, including gapping between floorboards, cracking and splintering of boards, and cupping—all of which he says can be humidity-related.
In Montana, where Pierce does business, humidity levels tend to be in the teens to low twenties. Manufacturers, on the other hand, typically require keeping the indoor humidity within the 35 to 55% range for proper care of the wood floor (and to keep the floor’s warranty in force).

This is why Pierce Flooring always recommends the use of a humidifier to its customers. Not all customers, however, follow this recommendation.

Unfortunately, when problems have arisen, Pierce Flooring has lacked a way to demonstrate that the underlying issue was how the humidity levels were maintained inside the building rather than something that wasn’t quite right with the installation.

That is, until now.

Addressing Problems Using the Smart Logger

Denny is excited that they’ve arrived at a simple, inexpensive solution to this dilemma: “We are now requiring Wagner Smart Loggers to be installed with every purchase that we install.”

The Smart Logger is a small, portable device that automatically collects temperature and relative humidity data in the room. No one needs to be present. The Smart Logger does the work for you 24/7—even when you are away.

Why the Smart Logger?

Smart Logger with app

At every Pierce wood flooring installation, the Wagner Smart Logger gets used to monitor temperature and humidity.

Pierce Flooring decided to require Wagner Smart Loggers on every job for two reasons. The first is for the customer’s sake.

Denny explains, “It will help our customers keep track of their temperature and humidity levels in their home or business, sending them notices if things fall outside programmed levels.”

The second reason, according to Denny, is to give Pierce the exact information they lacked before. “If there are issues, we want to be able to verify if the owner maintained the proper temperature and humidity levels in the home or business.”

The bottom line for requiring Smart Loggers on every job: “The decision came about because of some bigger jobs that we had issues with. We spent money to fix issues that we probably should not have, but it is hard without the type of information that we will get from a Smart Logger.”

Another useful aspect of placing a Smart Logger onsite at every flooring project is that it serves as a tangible reminder to Pierce’s customers to maintain optimal conditions inside their homes or businesses.

But what if a flooring issue has nothing to do with the way conditions were maintained?

Problems can stem from a variety of different causes, and Denny points out that the Smart Logger “can also show us the customer has maintained the proper environment. Therefore, other factors are probably causing the issue.”

So, the Smart Logger’s value for any wood flooring project is to protect both the customer’s and installer’s interests and help troubleshoot the root cause of problems—truly a win-win for all parties.

The Real Key to Dealing with Moisture

Orion 950 wood moisture meter in use

The Orion 950 offers “smart” capabilities, just one of many reasons it’s the go-to meter for most Pierce flooring installations.

As important as the use of the Smart Logger has now become for Pierce Flooring, dealing with moisture issues in wood flooring goes far beyond using an environmental data logger.

Accurate moisture testing of the wood flooring and the subfloor is imperative.

Denny explains, “We are logging all moisture testing results for the hardwood floor and subfloor before and during the installation process.”

The reason for paying so much attention to wood moisture is its hygroscopic nature. The wood will tend toward the equilibrium moisture content (EMC), or the moisture content that the wood reaches in response to the surrounding environment.

If the wood flooring is not reasonably close to the EMC at the time of installation, the wood will expand or shrink considerably, which could cause many types of issues.
That’s why, on commercial jobs, Pierce Flooring has been testing both the concrete subfloor and wood moisture levels for a long time.

For non-commercial wood flooring jobs, a lot of the focus is on the wood. Denny says, “All of our installers now have a [wood] moisture meter. Most of them utilize the Wagner Orion 950,” a meter with “smart” capabilities.

He likes how the complimentary app “makes logging the moisture readings much easier and faster. There is no writing needed; it will log the readings and create a report that can be emailed and printed.”

Pierce Flooring’s Winning Combination

Clearly, Pierce Flooring has crafted a winning combination that’s surprisingly simple yet effective. They pay close attention to moisture conditions on every job. Equally important, they always put their customers first.

Pierce sees the addition of a data logging device like the Smart Logger as fitting nicely within this winning strategy.

“We realized we needed to do more than we had been doing” to gather jobsite environmental data and help protect the company’s bottom line, explains Denny. Plus, he likes how their customers will be more aware of their critical role in maintaining a consistent indoor environment.

That’s a smart approach that should help Pierce stay ahead of the competition for many more years to come.

Buy a Smart Logger Today

For more information about the Smart Logger read our article about moisture risks with sawmills and during shipping and how a Smart Logger can help manage moisture.

Last updated on March 6th, 2024

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *