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Understanding The Danger Of Moisture When Laying Hardwood Floors

Sure, any honest hardwood flooring installer will reluctantly hold his hand up when asked “Have you been guilty of taking a quick shortcut on a job site at one time or another?” It is understood that it is a risk, but if your installation job is running late, it is so tempting to take short cuts from time to time.

The good news is that laying hardwood floors does not require a PhD. However, the problem is that even if you are an experienced wood floor installer, if you rush the floor laying job, there are many things that can go wrong. Back to the good news, many problems can easily be prevented with a small amount of care by the installer. Follow these pieces of advice that address the most frequent mistakes that contractors make when installing hardwood flooring in Toronto. If any one of them should apply to you, learn how to recover from the problem and learn how to avoid the mistake in the future.

Not checking for moisture


If there is one most common cause of flooring problems, it has to be moisture or the lack of it. It is not that evidence of moisture is going to be a problem, given that the floor installers take the right steps to deal with the moisture that they find. Sadly, many floor installers don’t take the appropriate steps to make sure that the hardwood flooring is ready to be installed.

Here is a perfect example of a problem that could occur. It is mid-winter and a contractor in Toronto arranges for solid strip flooring to be delivered to site. The supplier has a reputation as a reliable supplier as the wood supplies are kept carefully in a climate-controlled warehouse. Now the problems begin, on delivery punctual, as expected, site delays mean that the wood flooring is kept waiting on the work site under cover but where heating is being used to keep the site warm for 30 days until the contractor can catch up and finally install it.

Having been installed the flooring, the contractor asks the client to sign off the work job and as the floor looks great, the owner signs off the installation and proceeds to pay the contractor. When the problem comes to a head, it is the following winter, big gaps begin to appear between the floor boards and the customer is now very unhappy. What could have happened?

The most likely cause of this problem would be that the wood, sitting for 30 days in a dry winter conditions acclimatizes to its dry conditions. The winter passes and the warm humid conditions of a Toronto summer begin to affect the hardwood flooring having been dried out while it was waiting to be installed in the previous winter. Now, it expands crushing each hardwood board against the other. This crushing effect is hard to detect, just a little rise between each floor board making them not as flat as they might be, but nothing for the untrained eye to be concerned about.

When the dry winter comes, the boards dry and shrink, leaving unsightly gaps that are far greater than the industry-accepted seasonal gaps that many floor installation installers advise as being normal.

What can a flooring installer do to deal with this problem?

Well, as an installer, all the problems described above may have happened as you came to install the hardwood flooring. But even if this is the situation, there is much that you can do to ensure there is no angry call from your client. So, follow these steps to make sure that you avoid problems:

• Your answer lies with View Moisture Meter Suppliers or similar alternatives. What these simple but effective devices do is to tell you what the moisture content the storage space and the rooms where you plan to install the hard wood flooring. Essentially, you can see the two extremes and sensible arrangements to deal with then.

• Do not nail down the floor boards to tightly, as you can come back to adjust them should shrinkage or expansion take place during the summer or winter. Another smart move is to include washer rows. These help to space out the rows of floor boards and allow the floor to have room for expansion without the floor boards damaging each other. This technique is well described in documents on the internet that is titled “Plan to Grow”.

• In humid conditions, like a sticky summer, if the floor boards were installed before the AC really got to work to drive the humidity down similar problems of damp boards could occur. Once the AC drove down the humidity the floor boards would immediately start to contract and unsightly gaps would occur.

• If the flooring concrete has not been fully cured before laying the hardwood flooring this could cause problems as the moisture will be blocked from escaping and will swell the floor boards. Make sure the concrete base is dry and ready for the hardwood floor installation.

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