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The DIY Flooring Tool List

MI Flooring | Michigan Wood Floors

The do-it-yourself list of flooring installation tools is practical, but one tool that is sometimes overlooked is a wood moisture meter. No successful do-it-yourself flooring project is really complete without the sound measurement and management of the moisture content (MC) of wood.

DIY Flooring Tool List

Different installation methods also may require extra tools such as glue applicators, staple guns or plank jacks. Check with Flooring.org’s customer service to determine the installation method that is recommended for your flooring.
What does a moisture meter have to do with installing wood flooring by yourself? Plenty. In order to ensure that the MC of wood equilibrates, or stabilizes, for the long haul, installers must let newly-arrived wood flooring MC levels balance with the relative humidity (RH) and temperature of its ambient environment, reaching a state called its equilibrium moisture content (EMC). Because ambient conditions can change from the manufacturer’s production facilities to the sales floor to home conditions, it is practically a guaranteed certainty that the flooring needs time to reach this moisture balance. In addition, it’s also a guaranteed risk to install the wood flooring before it has reached its EMC. We recommend a minimum of three weeks for the EMC of your wood flooring to balance and stabilized correctly.

Moisture meters for wood help do-it-yourself floor installers to protect their investments by ensuring long-term flooring strength and performance. There are many kinds from which to choose: digital versus analog, pin versus pinless. However, an effective moisture meter for wood has one main purpose: to accurately measure the MC within the wood. In this sense, a wood moisture meter is a vital tool in wood flooring installations.

Even with engineered wood flooring, installers must let the wood flooring equalize in its new environment per the manufacturers specifications for a certain time period prior to installation. This is to allow the wood’s MC levels to equilibrate with the RH and temperature of the environment. If the MC is not monitored before installation, the inevitable changes can cause a series of moisture-related problems. Why?

When RH rises, wood expands as it absorbs moisture from the air. When RH falls, wood shrinks as it releases excess moisture into the air. This is a natural, organic process which continues for the life of the wood flooring. MC changes should not worry do-it-yourself installers, as long as the MC of the wood flooring is measured, monitored and managed before, during and after installation.

Wood has always held moisture in every one of its cells. In fact, sapwood (the wood right beneath the tree bark) holds a natural moisture distribution and nutrition system. Once a tree is cut, however, moisture (a.k.a. moisture content) remains in the walls and nuclei of every wood cell.

Meters come with a variety of technologies and features to help measure that MC. Pinless wood moisture meters are a popular non-damaging solution for MC measurement and management of hardwoods, softwoods and exotic wood species. They will typically measure a MC range from 5-30%, which is well within the parameters of wood flooring application requirements. Pin-style moisture meters penetrate the wood surface to measure at the depth the pins are inserted into the wood flooring. Hold features, programmable wood species settings and various other features can make the installer’s job simple and confident.

Installing your own hardwood flooring need not be a daunting task. Add a wood moisture meter to your tool list, and be confident that your wood flooring will last for many years to come.

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