The backbone of installing a fantastic flooring surface is ensuring the basics are done correctly. Steve Grimwood, Managing Director of Osmo UK offers his advice…
We have held a number of training sessions at Osmo recently and it has given me the chance to talk to flooring contractors in more detail and find out what advice they are looking for from manufacturers. It was interesting to hear that they still want more information on how to do the basics correctly. I have decided to play my part and use my column to start at the very beginning – subfloor preparation.
The phrase ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is commonly used in regards to people, places, products – pretty much anything. Relate this to the flooring industry and the area with which it is most often associated is the subfloor.
A few years ago, there was widespread concern about subfloor moisture amongst contractors. This saw an increase in sales of moisture detection and measuring equipment. After all, contractors have to ensure this stage of flooring is done properly. If not, they would have to return to the job to sort the problem out, which is extremely hard once the floor is laid and stuck to the subfloor.
The maximum moisture level in the subfloor depends on the manufacturer’s installation recommendations. It is also dependant upon the species of wood and local climate. It is essential for contactors to check these details before getting involved in the project. They need to be fully aware of what the levels can be.
Moisture testing needs to be completed when dealing with either wood or concrete subfloors. This test will inform the contactor whether it is possible to install a hardwood or laminate floor. If this is not completed, and the floor is laid, the homeowner will notice that the floor will start to cup and warp at some point. It is not something that will happen straight away, but after a few months. By this point, it would be difficult and time consuming to take up the floor and start again.
Subfloor moisture testing is performed with a hand held meter that can measure the moisture content. This equipment can be expensive, but in the long run, it would cost a contactor far more not to purchase one. The cost would not only refer to money, but also to the contractor’s time and reputation.
If the moisture test highlights a level which is above the maximum allowance, then the subfloor should be dried out before installing the hardwood or laminate flooring.
Follow this advice and it will mean that you have completed this stage successfully and will be able to move onto the second phase.
For more information, please call Osmo UK on 01296 481220 or visit www.osmouk.com.