Case studies – Temporary Climate Solutions

Drying wooden floors

While textile floor coverings are still the product of choice in the majority of commercial applications, there has been an increase in the number of residential properties that are now installing traditional or panelled timber floors. These are all susceptible to moisture damage.

Timber flooring 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. Typically the more expensive the wood flooring, the more moisture resistant it is, increasing the potential for successful restoration.

Although timber is tougher than a textile floor covering, it is susceptible to water damage. High humidity as well as water can cause floor boards to buckle and in these situations it is important to quickly extract the moisture using appropriate air movement and dehumidifiers to reverse any seemingly permanent effects of water damage. Like many porous materials, timber expands when moisture levels surrounding the pores of the timber change. This expansion is often seen as permanent and too often timber floors are unnecessarily replaced. However, in 90% of cases a controlled method of drying or the removal of excess moisture can return the timber to its pre-damage condition. There does have to be an element of caution surrounding drying, as an uncontrolled environment will see the timber permanently distorted and could cause stress fractures or buckling.

After the removal of excess moisture, a trained Polygon technician examines the extent of the damage, obtains a baseline moisture target from an unaffected area of the flooring, and carefully maps out the moisture profile using hammer probe electrodes on a calibrated instrument. This enables the technician to establish how deep the moisture has penetrated within the timber. Using hammer probe electrodes on a calibrated instrument, along with the measurements of the actual floor size, the technician can monitor and regulate the rate of change and select the appropriate drying method. Initially air movement alone can be used during the first stage of drying, this is followed by the deployment of dehumidifiers to decrease the moisture content of the air surrounding the timber, allowing moisture to evaporate, returning the timber to its pre-damage state. Only when the timber and its surrounding environment has been stabilised, can an assessment be made on the need for sanding and recoating.

In 80% of cases the timber floor is returned to its pre-damaged state, negating the need to resurface the floor.

The restoration cost of a timber floor versus that of the cost of the replacement is significantly lower leading to substantial cost savings. Choosing the restoration process is also more environmentally friendly and less disruptive for the client.

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