Replacing Water Damaged Wood Flooring? Don’t Miss This Crucial Step
Wood Needs To Be Replaced
When wood or wood laminate flooring is damaged by water and needs to be replaced, it isn’t as simple as removing and immediately re-installing a new floor. You have to consider the surface beneath, and whether or not it’s dry enough. Most people probably don’t realize this, but if that surface is a concrete slab, you can’t tell if it’s dry simply by touching it. Since not drying the underlying surface properly could result in damage to your new flooring, you’ll want to make sure it’s done right.
What needs to be done before you re-install flooring will depend on whether your building is on a conventional or slab foundation. Drying plywood subfloor (the kind found on most conventional foundations) is usually a simple matter that doesn’t take long. However, if the surface beneath your flooring is a concrete slab, the drying process will be more complicated.
How Concrete Drys
Concrete, by its very nature, must always contain some moisture, but it will release any excess water through evaporation until it reaches its proper balance. Left to dry naturally, it could take months.
Often, the surface of a concrete slab can appear dry when it’s actually still releasing moisture vapor. That vapor will cause new flooring installed on top of it to warp, so before new flooring is installed on top of a concrete slab, a calcium chloride test is first performed to determine the current level of moisture. This will be compared to the “dry standard” that must be reached before the new flooring can be installed. If it’s determined that there is excess moisture in the slab, a “slab dry” is then performed.
A slab dry is done by “tenting” the affected area with plastic sheeting, and then blowing forced air underneath, combined with a dehumidifier. It basically contains the affected area in one big, warm bubble of air. The dehumidifier collects the resulting water vapor and dries the slab much more rapidly than it would on its own; usually in only a few days.
This is only one example of many circumstances where it pays to consult a professional, and slab drying happens to be one of our specialties. Remember: If there’s damage to your business or home, don’t go it alone – Call Cornerstone.