Repair & Care
Hardwood Flooring Moisture Meters
Meters used for testing moisture are numerous. A few companies that stand out in the field and widely used by flooring professionals include Lignomat and Tramex. If in doubt of a contractors ability to asses conditions, especially in new construction it may pay to purchase one for yourself.
Tramex Encounter Plus
There are several types of meters. Some function by probing pins that are pushed into the material itself, or the Tramex Encounter Plus. This little beauty can detect moisture levels into material one inch, opposed to some meters that only test surface areas. In other words, if you're seeking the moisture content of common pine framing studs it can be placed on the drywall and a reading is taken, opposed to ripping out the drywall.
Tramex and other meters are ideal for not only testing the wood flooring being used but the sub floor as well. Plan on floating a wood floor over ceramic tile or VCT? No need for removal, simply place the unit over the material and a reading is seen. The instant reading has to be calibrated for the type of material being tested. A calibration guide is included for subfloors and dozens of wood species being used today.
Tramex Concrete Encounter Moisture Meter
This meter works to test new or older concrete substrates. You may think that old concrete slab is fine and never showed any signs of problems, but has there been any new grading work done? Any changes could alter the drainage from or around the property. Perhaps there's a slow plumbing leak. Concrete wicks moisture like a
sponge. This meter can detect readings as deep as four inches into concrete.
Both products shown are lightweight pocket sized tools and battery operated. Testing should not be overlooked. Any wide variances will likely result in problems with your new hardwood floor. Often the only solutions are complete removal. Situations like this do not happen immediately. Floor covering failures as a result of moisture problems are usually noticeable within the first year after installation.
Large Sized Lumber Mill Meters
Here's another tidbit that may help determine whether or not to think about buying that low priced hardwood, or one priced too good to be true. Nearly every American manufacturer adheres to the strict schedule of drying the product before it goes into production. But we've noticed that is not the case with a number of off named imported hardwoods because we've tested them.
Show on the right is a large scale industry moisture meter. In this case a lumber technician is shown measuring the moisture content of a stack of dried hardwood that has been brought from an outdoor air drying area. Once satisfactory levels are achieved the lumber is then brought into production and sawed for flooring.