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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Hardwood Installation: Minimum Acceptable Job-site Conditions

Wood flooring is one of the last jobs of any construction project.  Prior to delivery of the wood flooring, a site evaluation should be done.  Check for the following:

-Job site should be completely enclosed.
-All outside doors and windows should be in place and have all latching mechanisms installed.
-Surface drainage and grading should direct water away from the job site.
-All wet trades (drywall, plumbing, etc) should be complete and dry.
-All texturing and painting primer coats should be complete.
-In warmer months, the job site should be well ventilated.
-Ensure that the flooring material will not be exposed to extreme humidity or moisture. Interior environmental conditions must be near the average for the geographical location.

Crawl spaces must be dry.

-Crawl space must be a minimum of 18" from the ground to the underside of the floor joist system.
-Crawl space earth must be covered completely by a vapor retarder of at least 6 mil.
-Where proper ground cover is in place, the crawl space should have perimeter venting equal to a minimum of .1600 of the crawl space square footage.
-Vents should be properly located to foster adequate cross ventilation.

Check moisture content of the floor system substrate.

-Wood and concrete sub-floors should be checked by an appropriate method for establishing moisture content.  Average sub-floor moisture content should be within appropriate ranges as specified for the product and according to the product specifications. 
-Assuming all minimum job-site conditions are present, the flooring material can be delivered and stored in the room(s) in which it will be installed.

Many times, flooring contractors are rushed in reference to the job site conditions and end up fielding calls of floor system failures.  Often, these failures occur due to improper job site conditions.  It is the flooring professional's responsibility to properly educate their clients and ensure that all of the above mentioned conditions are present prior to any flooring installation.  

Rushing your hardwood flooring project can have disastrous consequences!  Remember, you get what you pay for! 

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