Concrete is known for its high water absorption abilities, and hardwood is susceptible to moisture damage. If a hardwood gym floor isn’t installed correctly, the hardwood floor on concrete slab problems will quickly show. To help you recognize the early warning signs of hardwood floor failure, we’ll give you a few examples and warning signs to heed.
Moisture Management in the Slab Before the Installation
Moisture can cause an array of hardwood problems. That’s why, before installing a hardwood floor, the contractor must make sure the slab meets all the required standards for the installation. The contractor should run three different tests to determine whether or not the slab is ready.
The three requirements for which your flooring contractor should test the slab are:
- Dryness — Before installing the hardwood floorboards, the slab should be left to dry for at least 60 days after pouring. Rushing the process can result in a humid concrete slab, which will lead to hardwood water damage.
- Flatness — If the hardwood floor is installed over a slab that isn’t completely flat, it will suffer greatly in terms of performance. There will be dead spots, vibration, and ball bounce problems, as well as many aesthetic issues.
- Softness — The concrete slab should range between 3,000 P.S.I. and 3,500 P.S.I. In other words, it should be soft enough to support an installation but not too soft to contain too much moisture.
Early Signs of Moisture-Related Hardwood Problems
Cupping, crowning, or buckling are all more severe and apparent signs of underlying hardwood problems. They’re easy to spot and often occur when the wood is already too far gone to reuse. On the other hand, there are several early warning signs of hardwood floor on concrete slab problems that aren’t nearly as dramatic.
These issues can be fixed if you take prompt action. Some of the most common early signs of moisture-related hardwood problems include the following:
Improper Acclimation or Poor Installation
Suppose you’ve just had a new hardwood floor installed directly over a concrete slab. In that case, the problem might lie in poor installation or improper acclimation. The wood must be acclimated to the temperature of the facility where it will be installed.
Failing to do so can lead to excessive wood expansion or contraction problems early on and more significant issues like buckling as time goes by. Poor installation can also cause the hardwood to absorb too much moisture and deteriorate rapidly.
If water droplets often form on your hardwood’s surface without any apparent reason, it could be a sign that your floorboards are soaked underneath. High relative humidity in your facility and fluctuating indoor temperature can cause condensation problems between the slab and the floorboards. A simple way to check on your sports facility’s relative humidity conditions is to use a thermo-hygrometer.
Stale and Moldy Odors
Where there’s excessive moisture, bacteria are bound to show up. As bacteria multiply and spread underneath your hardwood floor, they may give off strong and unpleasant odors.
Moisture promotes rapid bacteria and mold growth in wood. Moldy odors can be a big sign that you have problems with moisture levels between the hardwood floor and the concrete slab.
Any moisture that gets between the slab and the hardwood floor can cause significant problems over time. Leaks from nearby appliances, groundwater intrusion, or simply condensation and excessive moisture can lead to your hardwood failing. These signs are often far more difficult to spot early on, as most of them aren’t visible on the surface.
Make sure to keep all of these tips in mind, as they can help you save a lot of money on maintenance in the long run. If you notice any signs early on, you’ll have a better chance of restoring a water-damaged floor and won’t have to replace it.
Is A Subfloor Necessary for A Hardwood Gym Floor?
Gym subfloors are an essential part of every flooring system. Unfortunately, not many sports facility operators are aware of this. Subfloor materials such as rubber pads and plywood significantly contribute to the hardwood floor’s overall quality and performance.
According to the official MFMA specifications, there are three types of subfloor designs, each with different characteristics and advantages. Your needs and the purpose of your sports facility will impact which of the three types of subfloors you’ll choose.
Do you already have a hardwood sports floor that’s installed directly over a concrete slab? You may worry that it’s too expensive for you to plan for a subfloor installation project. In that case, the best you can do is watch for the warning signs of hardwood floors on concrete slab problems and promptly mitigate them.
Is Your Hardwood Floor Failing?
Being proactive and regularly maintaining your hardwood floor are the best ways to prevent expensive repairs. Even more importantly, being proactive will prevent you from having to replace your entire indoor court prematurely.
In some cases, hardwood floors on concrete slab problems come down to improper installation. Contractors who take shortcuts often make mistakes, which tend to show quickly in this business — especially when working over concrete.
If you’ve noticed any early signs that point to your hardwood failing, take care of the problem without delay. Contact us, and we’ll be happy to help! Call (973) 801-7219 or fill out our online form, and we’ll get back to you asap.