Almost done. I have discussed moisture testing and documentation from the estimate through the installation, and now I am back for the sand and finish. The first thing I do is check all my job site conditions with my thermo-hygrometer and document them. Then I will walk the job site and look for any sign of changes, like cupping, gaps, or where the tile guy sloshed water on my floor. I will use my wood moisture meter again to confirm the moisture content of the wood and of course document all of my readings. If everything is good, it’s time to make some money.
Now that my floor is sanded, I am ready to water pop my floor. I will once again take moisture content readings of my floor. After I water pop, I will not proceed with stain until the wood returns to this moisture reading. That may mean overnight, or even a few days. In very rare cases is that the same day, even with mixtures of alcohol and water. At this point, you have poured too much blood, sweat, and tears into this floor to botch it. Be patient and don’t let anyone rush you! It will take much longer to fix it when it fails than it will to wait until it’s dry. When you are sure the floor is acclimated, go to work!
The floor came out wonderful, and I have another happy customer. When I send the final invoice, I also send all of the compiled data on a form. This allows the customer to have a copy for their records.
My records will contain all of the detailed data in long form. The homeowner/builder will receive this info in short form. In this file, I will have all of the photos taken during the process. This will include photos of relative humidity tests installed in their home, any pictures of standing water from the tile guy on my floor, and moisture meter readings, just to name a few. I will try to include some feature of the home in the photo that assures everyone that it is not a stock photo. I use this method since everyone has a cellphone and photos are easier to take and retrieve. I used to use the old method of writing on the subfloor in the past, but I have evolved a little.
Now if I ever have an issue with that job site, I am able to go back and look at the data compiled before, during, and after and determine the cause.
I talked about six different moisture meters. You might not need all of them, but I can guarantee that you are probably not documenting your floors the way you should. This is a very short glimpse into how I use moisture meters on a daily basis, for more info check out the NWFA University or Hardwood Floors Magazine.
Jason Elquest is owner of Scottsdale, Arizona-based Blackhawk Floors Inc. and is an NWFA Regional Instructor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.