Drying hardwood floor

Drying hardwood floors is the most challenging of all materials. The factors that go into the ability and the effectiveness of any attempt to dry hardwood floors are numerous. For one, the specie of the wood plays an important role as different species will react differently to water and to the drying process. Wood has a natural level of moisture in its cellular structure that is critical to its physical characteristics including its strength, durability and appearance, when attempting to dry hardwood floors the evaporation process affects the inter cellular moisture content and over drying may cause permanent damage to the wood.

Another important factor is the type of finish applied to the wood and whether it was applied before or after installation. Finishes such as lacquer based or oil and water based urethane are applied to protect the wood from the environment and provide a uniform look. The drying process may affect the hardness of the finish as well as cause discoloration from the evaporation process. Woods that have been finished in place (after installation) have a complete seal on the surface and restrict the ability to get air to the lower parts therefore blocking the drying process.

Last the construction of the subfloor and the ability to access it may play the biggest part in the ability to dry hardwood floors. the makings of the subfloor its layers and the materials used will usually be the most important piece of information needed to properly dryout a hardwood floor. moisture barriers, spacing, material and installation process are just some of those factors. A successful dryout must not only consider the subfloor as a factor but also ensure it is included in the drying and assessment process.

It is important that when hiring a contractor to dryout hardwood floors that you hire one that doesnt just have the equipment but also the training and experience required to properly use it. The results of a failed dryout on hardwood floors may not be visible until long after the contractor has “finished” the job.

 

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