Testing your home’s sub-floor, crawlspace, and crossbeams for moisture content is very important under everyday normal conditions. It is extremely important when there has been water damage due to plumbing leaks, roof leaks, etc. It is CRITICAL when there has been extreme adverse conditions like the recent flooding in North Carolina and South Carolina. In addition to testing the sub-floors, crawlspace, and crossbeams, you need to have the walls and studs tested – to ensure they are dry enough to start the repair/replacement process. It is also CRITICAL that you find someone who is CERTIFIED to test your home.
Prior to the recent flooding in North Carolina and South Carolina I went on three inspections for problematic wood flooring. All three were replacement flooring that was replaced due to plumbing leaks. All three were installed during the normal summer months in the Carolina’s. After the second inspection, I started to notice a pattern emerging. I questioned the third homeowner more in depth about the restoration, remediation, and replacement process. I realized my assumptions were correct. The wood sub-floors in all three installations were not dried properly nor were they checked for Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC) prior to replacement by the contractor. All three installations failed. Why? My opinion is improper drying, restoration, and remediation. End result – excessive moisture content and product failure.
The last inspection was for a Restoration Company so I questioned my Client. It was my opinion that the restoration, remediation, and drying process was not performed correctly. In all three installations, they initially only removed part of the solid wood flooring during the drying process (in close proximity to the actual leak). AFTER the drying process was completed, it was determined that all the solid wood flooring needed to be replaced. So, my question was this: “Although I find it beyond my comprehension and it makes no sense to me, do you really believe you can effectively and successfully dry out a plywood or OSB sub-floor with 3/4” solid hardwood on top of it? The answer was YES! Keep in mind that wood, plywood, and OSB react like a sponge to moisture and water.
I am not a Restoration or Remediation Expert, I am a Certified Flooring and Moisture Testing Inspector. FACT: There was no moisture testing done to determine the Equilibrium Moisture Content of the flooring and sub-floor (EMC). Moisture content of the flooring and sub-flooring was above Manufacturer recommended levels in all three installations. ALL THREE installations failed.
Excessive moisture content is the NUMBER ONE reason for product failure in addition to numerous other issues. MAKE SURE YOUR HOME IS DRY AND READY for installation of replacement products PRIOR TO INSTALLATION. It’s important, REALLY IMPORTANT!