Hardwood Flooring Installation Guideline | Chapter 4 – Gaylord Flooring

Hardwood Flooring Installation Guideline | Chapter 4

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Minimal Jobsite Conditions for Hardwood Flooring 

  1. Wood flooring should be one of the last jobs completed on the construction site. Limiting the foot traffic and work done after the installation of the floor will prevent repairs when the job is done.
  2. Evaluate the jobsite for potential problems before installation begins, and before wood flooring is delivered to the jobsite; taking pictures of unacceptable jobsite conditions, recording humidity levels and moisture contents of subfloor throughout the installation.
  3. Upon failed site conditions; Gaylord Hardwood Flooring will require a signed waiver form indicating failed conditions before proceeding with delivery and/or installation. Gaylord Hardwood Flooring accepts no responsibility for any future hardwood issues related to failed jobsite conditions. This includes the ambient temperature and relative humidity at the time of installation and all variables that affect the long term success of the job.

Things to do before your hardwood flooring is delivered 

  • Surface drainage should direct away from the building.
  • Heating, air conditioning, and dehumidification systems must be operating before, during and after the installation. If it is not possible for these permanent systems to be operating, temporary systems must be set up to mimic a temperature of between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity between 30% and 50% for solid wood and between 35% and 55% for engineered wood. Notes: 1. Electric portable heaters excessively dry out the area closest to them. Propane heaters add moisture to the area which can work against already high moisture conditions. Kerosene heaters add an oily film to the floor which makes it more difficult to clean and prevents glue from bonding to concrete.
  • In new home construction a dehumidifier that removes 8-10 gallons per day is required. Anything less will not remove the moisture quickly enough. The dehumidifier should always be set up in the basement which is the largest source of moisture. It is best to draw the moisture down from the subfloor. I would suggest the dehumidifier be set up as close to the middle of the basement as possible, draining into an enclosed sump hole. A couple of fans blowing towards the dehumidifier will ensure more consistent drying results.
  • Do not deliver wood flooring to the jobsite or install wood flooring until these temperature and humidity conditions are achieved and the subfloor is within 2% of the wood flooring. Surface drainage should direct water away from the building. All concrete, masonry, plastering, drywall, texturing and painting must be completed. Note: 1. A newly constructed home may contain more than 1 gallon of water per square foot of home. A 2000 square foot home could have up to 2300 gallons of water; which will be absorbed by the wood flooring if not removed during the construction and newly occupied stages. The quick removal of the majority of this moisture is instrumental to the success of the wood flooring job. As a builder or installer you may have created the perfect conditions (40% relative humidity and a subfloor moisture content within 2% of the hardwood) to proceed with the installation, but you need to understand that the moisture in the walls, concrete etc. will be absorbed by the air; and subsequently by the subfloor and wood flooring. Without continued removal of this moisture, these perfect conditions will quickly deteriorate, resulting in a problem floor in the future. 

Is it realistic to think these subfloors will be within 2% of the wood flooring without operating a dehumidifier?

    Wood subfloor moisture problems for hardwood flooring

    Facts about wood and moisture

    • BASEMENT CEILINGS MUST NOT BE FINISHED UNTIL THE SUBFLOOR AND JOISTS ARE WITHIN 2% MOISTURE CONTENT OF THE HARDWOOD FLOORING. If the moisture is not removed, it remains trapped between the subfloor and basement ceiling; causing the hardwood floor to cup and crack over the long term. With little or no air flow, the trapped moisture is drawn upwards to the drier hardwood floor. This process is very slow and can take 3 years or more, as the moisture has to travel through the underlayment, the wood flooring, and the finish to exit.

    When to finish your basement with flooring

    • Basements and crawl spaces must be dry. Crawl spaces should be a minimum of 18” from the ground to the underside of the joists. Crawl space earth (or thin concrete slab) should be covered 100% by a vapour retarder of black polyethylene (minimum 6 mil) overlapping a minimum of 6”. There are many variations of crawl space conditions. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.
    • Ensure that the flooring selected is suitable for the grade level. Solid hardwood flooring can be installed on-grade and above-grade only on a wood-based subfloor. Engineered hardwood can be installed above-grade, on-grade and below-grade over wood-based subfloor and concrete.

     What level should wood flooring be on?

    • Radiant heating systems must be on and running for at least 7 days prior to installation. Moisture test of the concrete must be taken. For more info please contact us at info@gaylordhardwoodflooring.com.

    Hardwood Flooring Installation Prep Work


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