Whether you’ve been working in the hardwood flooring industry for one month or one decade, you know that a leading cause of hardwood floor failure is due to moisture-related problems.
That’s why one of the most important tools for you to utilize is a moisture meter.
Generally speaking, moisture meters come in one of two varieties. There’s the “pin” models like the Delmhorst J-2000 and the “pinless” models like the Wagner MMC 200. There are some similarities to both kinds of moisture readers. Most manufactures will include “presets” of wood types in the moisture readers for the user’s convenience. These “presets” allow you to tell the moisture reader what type of wood you are taking a reading of. There are also moisture readers that can be used to check the hardwood floor and the subfloor.
“Pin” models are used by physically inserting two pins into a piece of wood. The two pins then create an electrical current that travels between the pins (resistance). Using the data from the electrical current the meter can then give the user a readout of how much moisture is in a particular piece of wood. The pin models have the advantage that the pins can be inserted to various depths across a hardwood floor plank which can give the user a better understanding of the Moisture Content (MC) in a particular situation. A downside to the “pin” models is that the pins themselves can become damaged or leave marks in a finished hardwood floor.
“Pinless” models are used by placing the meter on top of the floor. The meter then sends a signal to a predetermined depth. The signal bounces back to the meter and the meter gives the user a readout of the MC. This type of moisture reader is great with pre-finished floors because it does not create a hole and damage the surface of the wood. One disadvantage to the “pinless” models is that the meter must be carefully calibrated not to send a signal down to the subfloor.
If the moisture meter is one of your most useful tools, then one of the most useful steps in installing hardwood floors is to let the wood acclimate to the jobsite before installing it. You may be tempted to skip this step or to rush it, but don’t. Whether it takes 72 hours or longer, properly acclimating the bundles of wood is an absolute necessity. Without acclimation you can run into problems like cupping or excessively large gaps. You’ll save yourself from a lot of potential problems when you properly acclimate. Knowing what the moisture of the wood is at delivery and what the moisture of the wood should be “in use” are critical steps. With a moisture meter, you can accurately record the MC of your wood while it is acclimating.
We at the Philly Floor Store know how important it is to manage and maintain moisture in hardwood floors. That’s why we take moisture readings for you when we deliver wood to your jobsite. That’s right, when we deliver the wood your ordered to your jobsite we take measurements of the relative humidity, temperature, subfloor MC, and the actual wood’s MC. We do this as a benefit for the contractor. Our readings can be used as a baseline or reference point for your jobsite. Taking a moisture reading is such an important step so we want to make sure you get off to a good start with your hardwood floor installation.
Taking accurate (and frequent) moisture readings is one of the best ways to ensure a proper installation of hardwood floors. It is not a step to be skipped over or rushed. When you have accurate moisture readings, you can properly adjust the way in which you install the flooring and help prevent any future problems or call backs from customers.