FAQ: Why Do I Need a Moisture Barrier for my Floors
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
This is a common question but the answer is vital to laying down a new floor that will look great for years to come. If you live in an area with high humidity or a high water table, keep reading! Matter of fact if you have flooring in your home, keep reading! It doesn’t matter whether your desired flooring is hardwood, tile, carpet or even leather.
In Houston, we see moisture problems all the time, due to the humidity of the region. Despite its prevalence, a homeowner may be reluctant to invest in the extra cost. In fact, I will occasionally arrive for an estimate where you can see the bare slab, and the owners will tell me that “it was already checked, there’s no moisture, so I don’t need one.” My response? “Well, the only way moisture can harm a wood floor if its trapped, so a slab that is exposed is not going to have the moisture level that a sealed slab would have; it will evaporate off or be easily cleaned! This won’t be the case once there is something installed over it.”
There are three types of “hardwood” floors: laminate, engineered, and solid wood. When the wood is manufactured to sell to the public, it is first kiln dried. Why? Dried to – of course – get all the moisture out. Without a barrier, when your flooring is installed, moisture will seep out of your slab and that nice dried wood (laminate is a composite) will soak it up. And that’s when you’ll start to see “buckling” of a floor.
Putting new hardwood floors down is a big investment, so why not spend a little more to protect that investment? If you’re putting a laminate down, this moisture barrier might cost as little as $50. The barrier for a glued down floor is a little pricier, but its better than buying a new floor, right?
It isn’t just hardwood floors that are affected. I have seen high levels of moisture pop tiles out of place. Using an appropriate sealer assures that you’ll never worry about your tile popping loose.
What about carpet? Turns out, moisture is not so bad for carpet; it’s bad for you! Fortunately, the barrier is very affordable. Insects, mold, dirt and more get trapped down on a wet carpet pad. All you have to do is put a 6mm plastic sheeting down to prevent any allergens to get trapped in the pad.
I hope you find this introduction to moisture barrier helpful! Please don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email if there’s anything I can do for you!