We have been saving for new floors in our home for two years now. When we moved in, The Mad House had FIVE different kinds of flooring on the first floor. We planned to replace three rooms of flooring with solid hardwood floors. This summer, we had finally saved up enough to do so, and we chose our flooring and scheduled the installation. Three weeks before the install date, we carried the flooring into the living room so it could start to acclimate.
The carpet, parquet, and laminate that were in the house when we bought it.
Two days before the installation, my mom and I tore up the laminate in the dining room and the carpet in the living room. Every thing was set to go, or at least I thought it was. When the installer arrived, he first took measurements of the moisture levels in our subfloor and in our flooring (thank heavens he did). Our subfloor had WAY more moisture in it than the new floor boards did. Like 7-8% more moisture.
I learned that in order for wood floor to be installed properly and for the installation to hold up, there should be no more than 3-4% difference in moisture levels for strip flooring (less than 3″ wide boards) and 2-3% for plank flooring (floor boards wider than 3″). Even though we chose narrow flooring, a 7% difference was too big a deficit to risk installation. If the flooring eventually acclimated to the subfloor, it would swell and expand, causing the floor to buckle and the nails to pull right out of the subfloor.
The only option we had was to delay the installation until we could dry out the subfloor and close that moisture gap. So for now we’re rocking the industrial look.
The flooring has been acclimating in our living room for over a month now, and we just can’t seem to get the gap in the moisture levels to close up. For whatever reason, our subfloor is abnormally moist (ew). Our best guess is that humidity from the basement is seeping up into the first floor subfloor. So we have been running our dehumidifier on high down there, and emptying it every day hoping to dry it out. Of course, we got heavy rain over the past week which hasn’t helped at all.
The upside to this delay is that I learned how to use a new gadget. Our installer left this moisture meter so I can keep checking our levels. The metal spikes at the top of the instrument go into the wood and the display lets you know the moisture content of the wood. The last I checked, our new flooring boards were averaging high 6% and the floors are still averaging around 11%.
We are praying that it doesn’t take too much longer to dry out the subfloor and that we can reschedule the installation ASAP. We have more than half of our first floor furniture in storage, so it looks awfully empty in here.
I will keep you updated on the floor situation. Once it is installed and we have all the furniture moved back in, I hope to FINALLY do a follow-up to my living room layout post from 2 1/2 years ago. Have any of you had similar issues when installing hard wood floors?