Moisture readings prior to fitting a wood floor
With new builds and renovation projects alike, there is often a newly laid concrete sub-floor to consider. Once the subfloor is in place, you will no doubt want to press on with getting your oak flooring laid. However there is still one critical factor that should be considered prior to this.
The main issue with a newly laid concrete subfloor is the moisture that will still be present. Although the concrete may appear dry to the touch, it will still no doubt contain a significant amount of moisture. As time progresses the moisture in the concrete would ordinarily rise up and dry out.
If an oak floor, or indeed any type of wooden floor, were to be laid too soon over wet concrete it is likely to experience problems. The moisture will continue to rise up, where it will reach the oak flooring. The oak boards will then take in this moisture, causing excessive expansion. Wood is a hygroscopic material, acting like a sponge, taking up moisture and expanding when subjected to higher levels of moisture and conversely, giving up moisture and shrinking in excessively dry conditions. If you plan to lay oak flooring onto concrete, we always recommend that you check the moisture level of the concrete first. This can be done by using a moisture metre, which provides you with an accurate reading of how much moisture is present in the concrete. Our recommendation is that the concrete has a moisture reading which is less than 4-5%. To properly check the moisture level, the moisture metre should be used at various points around the room.
With the subfloor sufficiently dry, and indeed the remainder of the room, you can now proceed with laying your chosen wood flooring!