While textile floor coverings are still the product of choice in the majority of client’s homes, there has been a dramatic rise over the last few years in the number of properties that are now installing traditional or panelled engineered wood floors. Engineered wood floorings come in a variety of types from tongue and groove floor boards nailed directly to a timber subfloor, to parquet blocks and wood laminate glued to concrete. In the majority of cases the more expensive the wood flooring, the more moisture resistant it is, increasing its potential for successful restoration.
In this particular instance, our client had an expensive engineered wooden floor fitted in her kitchen a couple of years before the escape of water occurred. A pipe behind the kitchen units had started to leak and gone undetected for several weeks before the client realised. As the leak had been undetected for such a long period of time it had thoroughly soaked the concrete subfloor.
The engineered wood flooring was fitted directly on top of the soaked concrete and ran throughout the downstairs and into 5 rooms with no brakes in the door casings the kitchen units were also fitted directly on top. A building company had quoted over £80,000 to remove the kitchen, lift and dispose of the wet flooring, dry the subfloor with a dehumidifier for then replace the entire wooden floor and put the client in alternative accommodation for a minimum of 8 weeks while the works were completed.
- Drying the subfloor while keeping the engineered wood floor in place.
- Targeting only the water effected areas of the flooring without taking out the kitchen units to dry the floor underneath.
- Keeping the client in her property while the works are undertaken and completed.
- Keeping costs for the insurance company at a minimum, while still providing a premium service.
- Possible gapping between the subfloor and the engineered wood floor, caused by the need to over dry the wood flooring to ensure the subfloor is completely dried.
- The complex way of testing for moisture throughout the drying process.
The actions taken to address these challenges were:
- Dry the subfloor using a boost box and heat mat combination installed directly over the top of the engineered wood flooring. The boost box and heat mat combination are installed to accelerate the evaporative process of the trapped moisture. Dramatically decreasing the drying time of the subfloor.
- If possible force air flow underneath the engineered wood flooring.
Install a dehumidifier in the affected room to help remove any moisture released into the air by the boost box/heat mat combination. To avoid gapping between the two floorings, humidifiers can be introduced to level out the woods natural moisture levels. Or a gentle mop over the top of the boards to achieve the same moisture introduction.
- Moisture testing the subfloor. First a wood moisture equivalent (WME) profile is established by hammering a moisture probe into the top, middle and bottom hardwood layers of an unaffected part of the flooring. The probe is then knocked in to the wood a little deeper to measure the ply layers moisture levels. A moisture reading is taken from each layer and the separate readings create the WME of the floor. This process is then repeated on the affected area of the floor to gain the current WME profile of the damaged area of flooring.
- The drying equipment is then installed, and left in place until the WME profile of the affected area of wood flooring is the same as the profile of the unaffected flooring. The drying equipment is the turned off and left off for an average time of 48 hours. The wood flooring WME profile is the tested again to ensure there has been no bounce back moisture from the sub floor. If the moisture readings remain the same as the unaffected profile then the subfloor is dry and can be signed off. If the moisture readings have risen, the subfloor is still wet and has caused the wood flooring to become wet again. If this is the case the drying and testing process will be continued until the bounce back moisture from the subfloor ceases.
The clients subfloor was successfully dried using a boost box and heat mat combination with the addition of a dehumidifier in 4 weeks, half the time quoted by the construction company. There was no need for removal of the kitchen units, or the engineered wood flooring as the process used meant the subfloor could be dried through the wood floor. As a result of this the client was able to stay at the property instead of being moved to alternative accommodation which would have caused her a tremendous amount of upheaval.
As a result of our drying process the cost of the works from start to finish was just over £1000. Saving the insurance company £79,000.