Wood moisture meter

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by jsnwhite619, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. jsnwhite619

    jsnwhite619 Friend of Leo's

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    I figure there's got to be some folks here who know and use moisture meters for wood enough to help here. We built & moved into a new house last summer, and we've had lots of problems with the wood floors - cupping and buckling. Can a moisture meter really get a reading through a finished floor? This is hickory with 3 coats of oil based polyurethane over it. A guy came out recently to check it, pressed the meter to the floor and said it was reading fine. Can it actually measure the wood moisture through the finish?
     
  2. Nixxy

    Nixxy TDPRI Member

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    I think no. I would open the floor and check what is really inside in there before it's too late.
     
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  3. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    is it solid wood floors or engineered flooring? is it laid on concrete or wood substraight?
     
  4. jsnwhite619

    jsnwhite619 Friend of Leo's

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    Solid hickory over subfloor & crawlspace.
     
  5. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I was in the flood restoration and mold business for quite awhile and the answer is yes. There are 2 types of meters (invasive and non-invasive) with the invasive type consisting of inserting 2 metal probes into the wood and the other essentially just held against the wood. Either method would provide an acceptable reading to see what the moisture content was.
     
  6. jsnwhite619

    jsnwhite619 Friend of Leo's

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    I'm glad you chimed in if that is your background! It is all new construction. Tongue & groove flooring. 2x12 joists.

    The entire build process was a nightmare. They closed in the crawlspace too soon before it dried in and had to tear out & replace all the insulation because it molded a couple months before closing. Now, everyone from the construction company to the flooring company tells us the floor issues are environmental & it's settling still.

    There are 3 places where the floor is raised up and you can see it & feel it. I finally crawled under the house and took pictures. There are subfloor panels that aren't locked together. They used liquid nails to try and fix creaks after the floor was down, but I think that it expanded and pushed the subfloor up after it cured and caused the ridges & buckling. Now, we noticed this week that the boards around the floor vents have actually pushed up and broken the wood filler & finish in the edges.

    All the boards are cupped 1/16" or more in every room. And we've had a dehumidifier with an automatic pump running set at 45% in the crawlspace since May. And I'll add, this was not a cheap house.

    The pictures with the straight edge and gaps, I rested it on the crowns of where the floor is raised up then shifted it to lay flat on one side of the crown. So, the pivot point has one half flat on the floor (as flat as it can be), and the speed square is on the side past the crown. So, 12-15" away has a 3/8" gap.

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  7. jsnwhite619

    jsnwhite619 Friend of Leo's

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    Add in that every single HVAC person I've talked to has laughed and said our system is way under sized. Two story, 3900 square feet, and we have two 2-ton units in a state that regularly sees 100+ degree days each summer. It ran non-stop through July & August.
     
  8. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Much of the time the problem starts because the new flooring wasn't allowed to climatize to the room first. The boards should be allowed to "rest" in the living space for at least a week prior to installation so that it adjusts to the RH% of the space first. If not, the boards will try to move and swell after the installation. You would get creeking, cupping, etc.

    If they were allowed to rest for some time prior to installation, then the RH% above and below the flooring needs to be checked. If they are greatly different (especially below) you will get cupping.

    Most HVAC guys don't know a damn thing when it comes to sizing a system. Most use the square foot estimate instead of actually doing the detailed calculations according to length of duct work, windows, etc. Around here, most systems were over-sized instead of undersized and that is a far greater issue. An over-sized unit will cycle off/on way too often and will not remove the humidity as a result. Undersized will be running longer than desired which would waste electricity, but would also remove the most humidity. Either one can be bad, but over-sized is far worse. With modern efficiencies of systems, I would lean towards going undersized anyway.

    Check your humidity levels above and below to see what is happening.
     
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  9. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I just realized that you stated you have dual 2-ton hvac units for a 3900 sqft home.....that does not sound undersized at all. The generic method is 1 ton per 1,000 sqft which like I said is not the best way to calculate the needs, but is a common method. That would make your system capacity to be right on the money instead of being undersized. If you did all the calculations, you would likely be at a 2.5 to 3 ton unit. I live in an old house built by the railroad in 1860, only 2,200 square feet 2.5 story....I run a 2 ton unit without any issues. I would be willing to wager that Nebraska summers are right up there with Georgia.
     
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  10. jsnwhite619

    jsnwhite619 Friend of Leo's

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    95% humidity most of the summer. And we've had more than 2 feet of rain since Thanksgiving. 75 this week.

    Sent from my moto g(6) using Tapatalk
     
  11. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    We are in the low 90% RH much of the Summer but not much moisture this time of year. I'll trade you that 75 as we are in single digits with sub-zero windchills right now.
     
  12. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    The subfloor panels should be locked together. In your picture #5 if that's the male end of the tung & grove panel not inserted to the the panel That is wrong on every level. Also I would wonder if the have a vapor barrier between the sub floor and flooring. I would probably phone the building department to inspect the tung & grove subfloor is installed correctly.
     
  13. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Looking at your pictures one more time I'd probably be seeking legal advice at this time . Settling in my ars
     
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  14. jsnwhite619

    jsnwhite619 Friend of Leo's

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    That's the direction we're going at this point. $13,000 floor in a brand new construction that feel like you're walking through a fun house. But, it's nobody's fault...

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  15. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I would get some third-party opinions of the quality of work. Also, a call to the state contractors board may reveal some information on the builder, any actions/ infractions against them. It’s a shame what the building trades have become excuses and passing the blame is the new norm.
     
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  16. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I try to stay out of argument as to if it was installed correctly as construction codes vary by region, but would not be pleased with the installation based on those pictures either. To me, the job was rushed from the start and no amount of "adjustment" is going to help much as they all interlock so any adjustment to one plank effects every plank that it attaches to. I used to see a lot of small companies try to fix a water damaged floor by driving in break-away screws, but they quickly learned that it doesn't work that way. If there is movement, there is a problem.

    It really is sad how liitle quality there is in products / services these days. My home was built 1860 and not by carpenters, but by railroad workers and my oak floors remain solid and flat. You would think that modern trained people could duplicate that in new construction, but then again, ask yourself how many fridges your parents bought when you were a kid? Now they last 7-8 years tops.
     
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