Moisture in engineered flooring

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

  1. Jvan

    Jvan Pro Member

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  2. Commercial Floor Rep

    Commercial Floor Rep I Support TFP Published

    I always thought it was a bit of an interesting technical conundrum when testing engineered hardwood for moisture. What exactly are you testing? When I was distributing Wagner's moisture meters, I had many long conversations trying to wrap my head around it with their technical department and I never really got a good answer. At the time they were trying to develop a non-invasive meter for specifically for engineered hardwoods. In fact they eventually abandoned the project because their were too many technical difficulties and variables to overcome.

    Here's my point - Engineered hardwoods are constructed like plywood. Several layers of veneer adhered together. When you insert the pins of the meter, how do you know which layer you are in? Are you in the wood are you in the adhesive are you through both and how does that effect the result? Most engineered woods do not use one species all the way through their product. When measuring a solid piece of wood with a pin meter, the result has to be adjusted based on the species of the wood because of the different specific gravities from species to species. How could that possibly be different for an engineered product? For example, an oak or hickory top veneer with a poplar core (poplar is very commonly used by many manufacturers as an inner core because of it's dimensional stability) which layer is the pin measuring?

    Sorry, I know this doesn't answer your questions, but I've always been baffled how the NWFA can develop a standard that states what the moisture difference must be when, to the best of my knowledge, no one has developed a truly accurate way of measuring the moisture content of an engineered product. To my mind it's really created a gray area that can be used to hang an installer when things go sideways, when in reality it's more likely due to poor manufacturing. So, I definitely feel your frustration.
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  3. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    You are so right, it is a joke in my mind. I try my best to shoot pins in horizontally to catch the layer of veneer, lord knows that accurate.... then hit the ply from the bottom. Help me sleep at night, not too sure it helps determine the MC of the boards. Not to mention, the SG of each layer.... well god only knows. It is 100% a crap shoot!
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  4. wood butcher

    wood butcher Charter Member

    No power? So you have to cut by hand? There must be power. Surely the Climate control can be "tested"?
  5. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    I have been told that several times, but when I pushed back no one has ever been able to show me in the code book that it is true. Building code enforcement does NOT care when the power goes on. Usually it is a GC not wanting to pay an additional bill, or an end user not wanting to pay a connection fee, causing everything to jam up at the end of a project. I did see one where the concern was firing the permanent HVAC, they felt that dust and dirt would contaminate the ductwork.

    So I call BS on that excuse.
  6. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    No permanent HVAC in place has become the mantra of most every builder I work work. I say kudos to them because right behind that friendly clause of theirs I sing loud and proud NO WARRANTY!
  7. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Gotcha, it may absolve the retailer and mfg. but in many states the installer is still on the hook (the argument is you knew NOT to install it). It is becoming more prevalent not to have permanent utilities, whether thru being cheap or carelessness.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    You aren't wrong. If it ever came to litigation I would be in the hook, for certain. Lucky enough it hasn't happened yet and if we ever do go down that dark road I bring a lot of ammunition for a fire fight. Can't say I would come out alive, but I would make damn sure to take a lot of people with me. It is the nice thing about working with a solid retailer. I trust them not to burn me, they feel the same and we March on to the beat of the broken drum :)
    • Winner Winner x 1
  9. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    True, some do back you up. Ours did, gotta admire that about them.
  10. Graeme

    Graeme Pro Member

    Thanks for including this! I have never been able to get my head around this problem of measuring engineered hardwood. The unfortunate truth is manufacturers have the money and authority to strongly influence standards and testing. Rarely are these things written in favor of the installer over the manufacturer.

    I think understanding this has caused me to be meticulous with my testing & documentation - and to become a stickler (or just a pain) about ensuring "warranty compliant" conditions... being able to quote chapter and verse on requirements and putting the responsibility back on to the builder / end user has also helped get things done the right way. One of my favorite ways to get my point across to these folks who try to bully you to do things the wrong way is to explain the guarantee: "I guarantee this method will fail". If you want this project to be successful, then we need HVAC up and running, etc...

    - Just another unsolicited $0.02 - I hope you can get this done without too much grief.
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