Conducting A Site Survey

Site Survey To Determine When To Install A Wood Floor

  1. All gutters and down pipes etc. are properly placed to drain away water from the structure.
  2. All damp proof courses are in good condition and inspected. solid hardwood flooring should not be installed below the soil line.
  3. All wet trades plastering tiling painting etc. have completed their work.
  4. Central heating , air conditioning , ventilation is in place and operating (approx. 3-5 days prior to delivery).
  5. A new concrete slab should be flat and to specifications . A dpm must have been installed and the concrete dry to 3% moisture content.
  6. Driveways and side walks should preferably be installed prior to installation.
  7. The building is enclosed and weather tight roof doors windows 6mm black polythene should be installed over exposed soil in the crawl space underneath the floorboards and joists on the ground floor.Cross flow ventilation below suspended ground floor joists should allow vent openings to equal 1.5% of the crawl space area. e.g. a 100m2 crawl space should allow 1.5m2 of vent openings. research has determined that a 100 m2 crawl space house will draw some 70 litres of water every 24 hours out of the soil inside and outside the foundation and send it up into the house.
  8. Temperature and relative humidity within the building are at normal or expected living conditions example temp. 15 – 25 degrees celsius and relative humidity 35-50 per cent
  9. Moisture content of the wood subfloor should be no more than 2-3% above the moisture content of the hardwood floor to be installed.
  10. Subfloor preferably 18mm plywood so that the floor can be secret nailed using a portanailer . The floor can also be stuck down using an elastic polyurethane such as sika T52 especially over dry concrete. The floor should be flat and level. Flooring can also be installed over joists or existing floorboards.
  11. Check all internal pipe work washing machines , dishwashers etc. for leaks
  12. All outside doors and windows are properly installed , sealed and nearby areas dry

Installer / Owner Responsibility

Solid hardwood floors are a natural product and are subject to a grading and manufacturing tolerance of 5%.

The installer or owner assumes all responsibility for final inspection of product quality prior to installation.

Prior to installation the installer or owner must determine that the job site environment and the sub-surfaces involved meet or exceed all requirements . All flooring should be stored in the correct conditions prior to installing.

The owner has final responsibility to ensure purchase of the correct grade, species manufacture and finish that he requires.

The installer/ owner should use reasonable selectivity and hold out or cut off pieces with glaring defects whatever the cause. These should not be installed. all pieces should be inspected before installation and any below grade lengths used in cupboards or thrown out. Always work from 3 to 4 cartons to achieve the appearance you require.

Use of stain, filler or putty stick for defect correction should be considered normal. A 5% cutting or waste allowance should be added to the actual square meterage before ordering.

Acclimatising Your New Floor

The aim of acclimatising wood flooring is to allow the moisture content of the timber to adjust to the normal expected day to day conditions expected within the building once occupied. this should be within 2-3% of any wooden subfloor. Normally mafkildea hardwood flooring would be supplied at under 10% moisture content from our warehouse and may need to increase to meet these requirements.

Hardwood flooring supplied from Canada and North America is generally kiln dried to a lower moisture content for their particular drier climate conditions (e.g. 7-9%). similar to furniture manufacturers we would suggest a moisture content 11-12% more suited to the english climate. however modern well insulated homes may vary considerably from older victorian houses. some wood flooring may already be at the correct moisture content but always consider acclimatisation as being advisable.

All wet work must have been completed otherwise the moisture will transfer from walls floors and ceilings to the hardwood flooring.

The building should be fully enclosed including doors and windows and heating should be operational. generally the humidity should be in the range 35-55% and temperature 15-25 degrees celsius. possibly in the english climate this may be at the higher end considering average outside uk climate humidity in the range 25-75% giving seasonal average 50%.

The delivered flooring can be left in the cartons. Polythene wrapping may have to be removed if it prevents the acclimatisation process. opening packages and racking the flooring helps the process but is often not practical. The timber should be stacked or distributed around the building so that it receives good air circulation away from any standing or flowing water and off the floor especially above concrete.

Gas, paraffin heaters etc. should be avoided as they increase moisture into the air. Preferably it should not be stacked more than 2 to 3 cartons high or wide otherwise break up cartons with battens to increase air circulation. Do not store next to radiators.

Normally pre finished flooring should be left to acclimatise for 3-7 days while unfinished will take longer . Of course it would be advisable to take moisture readings for an accurate measurement.

In practice a new job site needs to dry out before wood flooring is delivered . There is nearly always excessive moisture on new construction sites and major refurbishment contracts. The wood will absorb the moisture cupping, expanding and later contracting in service. It helps to provide dehumidification equipment on such projects. NORMALLY the flooring should be one of the last jobs to tackle on site , otherwise trades can damage an excellent installation. removed if it prevents the acclimatisation process. opening packages and racking the flooring helps the process but is often not practical. The timber should be stacked or distributed around the building in so that it receives good air circulation away from any standing or flowing water and off the floor especially above concrete. Gas , paraffin heaters should be avoided.

In new building projects moisture is introduced into the fabric during the construction process. Under BS882 a concrete mix of (1:2:4) one cubic metre of concrete will contain 187 litres of water. This will have to dry out to approximately 3% moisture content before your flooring is installed . This may take a day per 1mm thickness to dry but take a new moisture reading before proceeding.