Moisture in engineered flooring

Discussion in 'Hardwood & Laminate Sales and Installations' started by Jvan, Oct 2, 2017.

  1. Jvan

    Jvan Pro Member

    Hey everyone,

    Got an install to do, product is 7.5 inch wide oak with birch ply core, 9/16 thick. Customer bought online and product is Chinese like most of the wide engineered flooring today.

    Anyways I went out to start job today, flooring has been on site for 4 or 5 days but I ran into the following:

    1. The flooring tests on average 15%-17% in the birch plys, the oak veneer is all over the map from 6 to 12% but lower than the birch core.

    2. The house is not climate controlled yet, local building code allows none until inside is finished including flooring for permanent power to be turned on. House readings are not bad avg. 10% moisture readings with 35 to 40% humidity.

    3. This wood flooring pretty much covers every floor in the house except the bathrooms, and it's a three level home with concrete on bottom level.

    I have made the home owner aware of these issues and he understands if we go ahead with the install I can't warranty it, I just hate to put that much work into something that might fail regardless of whether i'm liable.

    So what would you guys do?
  2. Chris 45

    Chris 45 Director of P.R. on some deserted island. I Support TFP

    What do you usually do when this happens?
  3. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    I see this all the time from the China wood. Don't open the boxes it say.... humidity is through the roof and what can you do.

    Open them all up and wait a couple days?

    Lord knows plastic wrap isn't helping. I called a manufacturer about this last fall, their rep assured me they we packaged at "nominal" standards.... well what the hell are those?? clearly not 15%. I got a new moisture metre incase my wagner was screwed and lo and behold it wasn't.

    I just waited it out however it was a 14 dollar a sqft product.

    Test it with a second metre if you can??

    Good luck mate!
  4. Jvan

    Jvan Pro Member


    Seriously what do you think should be done? It's a tough job to begin with, the slab is all out of whack, they already installed all the baseboards and its rough sawn so it all has to be pulled and reinstalled.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP


    Love that by the way.

    I walked off a 1800 sqft job about a month ago for way less problems.... I have no problem not having problems.
    • Like Like x 2
  6. Chris 45

    Chris 45 Director of P.R. on some deserted island. I Support TFP

    I wouldn't touch it, that's what I'd do. Too much liability to see if a sign off really holds up in court or having a botched job with your name on it. If someone is paying that much for flooring, they can either wait or pay to get a temp HVAC system up an running for the job to proceed.
  7. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    I get this all the time here as well. Can't turn the hvac on until the house is complete.... can't lay hard wood until the hvac is on and round and round we go. I have just come to the conclusion that no one but me seems to care. So far we have gotten away with them all but the day will come, and when it does.... well, I will let you know how it turns out.

    .... for the record I hate the term "got away with it"
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Jvan

    Jvan Pro Member

    This job is out of my usual area of work. Where I normally install the hvac is on and everything pins within specs before any boards are installed. Yeah I should just just walk away, but works been slow and I would really like to make this install happen and I like a challenge.

    BTW...the homeowner paid 2.59 sqft plus 600.00 for shipping which I can't even touch wholesale for a 9/16 engineered.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017
  9. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    I know how you feel, the pressure is real.

    What's your time frame??

    Long enough to open it up and see if comes down??

    Who knows, maybe it is a bad batch that didn't get dried properly?? packed with too much moisture??
  10. Chris 45

    Chris 45 Director of P.R. on some deserted island. I Support TFP

    Is this a cash job? That sweet payday always makes you consider doing something you know is just not right. I had two 10x10 rooms today and I eliminated a T-mold between them. That's the level of risk that I feel comfortable with these days. I don't need to make as much money these days but I sure don't need to lose money either.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Jvan

    Jvan Pro Member

    2 or 3 weeks, it should all be unboxed, cross stacked, and a dehumidifier ran to try an even things out, he has a 30 day return policy on flooring so time is running out since it was delivered a week ago.
  12. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    We have gotten AC on a few times prior to certificate of occupancy. The retailer worked with the GC, somehow they made it happen. I was always Leary to break the seal on plastic I assumed the wood would twist. Some packages said remove the plastic on the ends.

    It's been a slow summer, many reasons but I made it through, business is picking up, I'd say skip that one, there's always one right after. One I thought would cup ended up doing so despite all the warnings to the sales manager after two years, maybe same size, 3 levels. I don't mind walking, 3 or 4 job inquiries this week I haven't called back. Usually if they call 2 or 3 times I know they're serious.
  13. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    I have never understood engineered wood... all wrapped in plastic and told not to unbox it until it is ready to use....but on the other hand once it is opened it is immediately subjected to the full force of living conditions? ? Which I can only assume are different than plastic wrap?

    You got yourself a pickle. If you open it you own it, if you install it your boned and if you walk your broke...

    Do what any good installer would do, LIE :)
    • Funny Funny x 1
  14. Jvan

    Jvan Pro Member

    Yeah I hear you, it is a cash job and I am not worried about liability. My problem is that I pour every ounce of energy I have to do the best job possible..I can't muster that if I think there's a significant chance of failure despite my best efforts...
  15. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    if your conscience says run then run. Some other monkey will do it anyway. I have been trying my best to reconcile this lately, do I abandon a client to someone else who just doesn't give a damn or do I do the best I can with what I have. More times than not I roll those dice and do what I can, floor is going to get installed, in the absence of ideal conditions, it is even more vital that professional standards are followed. Give that floor a fighting chance.

    ... I say this with the full knowledge that it is technically a poor attitude.
  16. Chris 45

    Chris 45 Director of P.R. on some deserted island. I Support TFP

    Oh, there is always liability. Even if it is someone else looking at your work. They don't know the goat screw that took place during the job, they just see something wrong and your name is on it. I've been in your shoes before and knowing what I know now, I wouldn't do it again. But hey, cash talks and it seems like nobody but you cares. Until somebody cares.
  17. Dan Schultz

    Dan Schultz Certified Wood Floor Inspector Charter Member

    Don't open the packages, blah, blah, blah, bs. Really, BS!

    What manufacturer, in their right mind, actually believes the plastic wrap (most likely made of recycled material) on a box, has a perm rating good enough to stop the material from gaining moisture inside the package? In transit. On a ship!?!

    Yes, of course it will slow it down, that's why we want to open the package.

    You guys also realize that 6-8 mil black plastic (also made of recycled plastic) is a moisture retarder, NOT a moisture barrier. Right? Granted, this is what we are directed by standards to use in crawl spaces, and in most cases it will suffice, by reducing the vapor transmission enough to be acceptable.

    Okay, rant over. Well, probably not.
  18. Dan Schultz

    Dan Schultz Certified Wood Floor Inspector Charter Member

    Jvan, what meter are you using?
  19. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    If the home owner or GC signs off on the hvac system, they will fire it up. I've had to do that too many times to count. I just shop vac out the whole place and tape a filter over the intake vent on the wall so it satisfies them.
  20. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Usually the plastic is perforated if you look closely. Recently I saw radiant heat barrier for roof sheathing, then got a closer look.

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