Laminate subfloor moisture testing often overlooked yet most critical when installing laminate flooring. Concrete slab and wood subfloor both have moisture limits. Failure to skip laminate subfloor moisture testing often results in laminate floor failures.
Failure to Perform Laminate Subfloor Moisture Testing
Buckling, cupping, squeaking, raised edges are but a few of the problems that result from ones failure to perform subfloor moisture testing. Once the laminate is installed over a substrate with an excessive moisture content it is too late.
When a floor fails because a flooring installer or homeowner decided that the concrete looked dry enough and skipped the laminate subfloor moisture testing, who’s fault is that? The installer is going to blame the homeowner and the homeowner the installer. It certainly isn’t the fault of the laminate flooring manufacturer. After all, the manufacturer warned you in their installation instructions that the floor needed to be tested.
Testing doesn’t only apply to concrete slabs, it also applies to wood subfloors. Yes, even wood can have an excessively high moisture content. You skip the testing and often within days of installation you hear “snap, crackle and pop” or you think you are walking on a trampoline.
Laminate Subfloor Moisture Testing Requirements
Most all laminate flooring manufactures have their own requirements for laminate subfloor moisture testing. Some of these manufacturers may refer you to the installation standards of NALFA, the North American Laminate Flooring Association. If you run into a laminate manufacturer that does not offer their own standards or refers you to NALFA or other standards my best advice is to stay away from that product. A laminate manufacturer without laminate subfloor moisture testing standards or a referral to standards is likely to have a product you would be sorry you installed anyway.
The following are the subfloor moisture testing requirements that have been set by a variety of NALFA members.
Wood Laminate Subfloor Moisture Standards
-Kronotex less that 14% on wood subfloors.
-Shaw 12% maximum on wood using a wood pin probe meter.
-Mannington, Columbia, Mohawk, Quickstep, Unilin each state that subfloor moisture content may not exceed 12%. Since these companies do not specify the type of meter used, either a pin or noninvasive is acceptable under their subfloor moisture testing standards.
-TOYLYS states that subfloor moisture content may not exceed 10%.
As you can see by the moisture standards of these manufacturers, not all requirements are the same. Don’t risk the failure of your new laminate floor and don’t void your warranty by failing to follow the standards of your flooring manufacturer.
Concrete Laminate Subfloor Moisture Standards
Shaw, Pergo, Kronotex, Mannington, TORLYS, Columbia, Mohawk, Quickstep, Unilin all require Calcium Chloride testing performed to ASTM Standards. The vapor emission standard for each of these companies is a vapor emissions reading of less than 5-lbs per 24 hours, per 1000 square feet.