Moisture Testing of Hardwood Floors

Understanding The Moisture Testing Of Hardwood Floors

Moisture is the biggest enemy of the hardwood floors. In order to increase the lifespan of your hardwood floors, all due care is required from the homeowner’s end. If you are planning to install hardwood floors in your home, it is very important that you perform a moisture test prior to installation.

Testing before the hardwood floor installation, and taking good care of it after installation is going to add many more years to the lifespan of your hardwood floors. Many experts suggest that the humidity level of the area, where hardwood flooring is installed, be kept in a specific range. It maintains the original appearance of the hardwood floor as well increases its lifespan.


The selection of right type of hardwood is another very important decision. What may be a good choice for someone from northern part of country may not be a good one for one from southern part. Keep this in mind, and never be shy to take expert help.


Subfloor testing

Moisture content at actual subfloor is one of the factors that should be given attention. Once you ignore this, you will see that there is an imbalance between the wood flooring and the subfloor. The most common problem that arises in this sort of a situation is of cupping. It must be realized that both wood and concrete subfloors must not be exposed to excessive moisture.


In new construction, enough time should be allowed to dry up the construction. During building process, normally the internal area of the construction site becomes moist. At times, hardwood flooring is started soon after the construction, and in such cases cupping problem arises very often. Allowing enough drying times, and installation of windows and doors prior to hardwood installation is suggested.


Hardwood testing

Another important factor is moisture content in hardwood itself. In earlier days, the wood was cut from nearby forest and later used to make floors and other things. This is not practiced today. Timber is cut at one place, then stored at another, and sold in a totally different area. How does it make a difference? Moisture is the answer. The climatic and environmental differences in the quantum of moisture affect the content of moisture in hardwood too. If the hardwood and environment where it is going to be installed has a considerable difference, it is very likely that it will create problems. In such cases, hardwood might shrink or expand.


Testing hardwood moisture levels prior to installation is the right solution. Several handheld devices are used for testing the moisture content. These devices are now easily available online which you can purchase.


DIY testing

If you do not have expensive meters for testing, there is nothing to worry about. What you need to do is to arrange some poly film/visqueen and duct tape. You can easily get these items from a hardware store nearby. Cut 5-6 pieces of 2’x2’ size, and place them randomly in installation area. Duct tape these piece with concrete so the pieces remain in the place. Make sure it is sealed properly. Wait for a day or two, and then remove. If you observe any color change or condensation in concrete, you have a moisture issue to take care before hardwood installation.


Jobsite conditions

Actual jobsite conditions are very important for testing and for installation. Older homes may be more prone to the adverse conditions than newer ones. While new ones may have better conditions, they still may offer a completely new set of issues. No doubt, it is out of control of home owners. Still, here are some key points that you can follow for moisture prevention:


•    You must ensure that water should disperse quickly after rain.

•    Periodic check for clogged spouts from leaves should be a part of your routine.

•    Take necessary steps to divert ground water away from the foundation.