Professional moisture meters are highly effective moisture detection tools in a wide scope of construction applications. One of these applications, flooring installation and inspection is no exception. Many flooring service professionals use moisture meters to provide flawless, high-quality floors and surfaces, which in turn benefits their business.
If you are a flooring specialist, or even a DIY enthusiast, we ask you to consider the following six reasons why moisture meters are an integral part of any high-quality flooring operation.
1.) Accurate Moisture Readings
Professional moisture meters have a notable role in flooring due to their accuracy and reliability in a range of applications. Precise moisture measurements on flooring materials are essential for successful and safe installations and maintenance. There are two main types of meters used to measure moisture content in flooring surfaces: pin-less moisture meters and pin-type moisture meters.
Pin-less moisture meters use a radio frequency to scan broad flooring areas for moisture presence without physically penetrating the surface. This is ideal for high-quality wood floorboards or other circumstances where visible pin holes are undesirable. These meters are perfectly suited for larger flooring operations, which affect large surface areas.
Pin-type meters provide more precise moisture readings than pin-less meters and can identify exact moisture locations in sub-floors. This impressive accuracy is achieved by using insulated contact pins that measure %MC only at the non-insulated tip of the pin, allowing the operator to drive the pins into the floor and into the sub-floor, noting readings at each level of penetration. Pin-type meters, which use the principle of electrical resistance, use wood as an element in a circuit by driving two pins or electrodes into it.
2.) Combined Meter Use Efficiently Pinpoints Moisture
Often, the most successful flooring installations are the result of the combined use of a pin-less meter and pin-type meter to make a quick and precise identification of moisture.
First, these flooring professionals perform general area scans with pin-less moisture meters; these broader moisture measurements are the strongest application of pin-less meters. The radio waves pin-less meters use very effectively scan larger surface areas for general moisture content, which makes area detection with pin-less meters much quicker than pin-type meters.
Once the flooring professional finds high moisture areas with a pin-less meter, they will typically drill-down into those areas with a pin-type meter to learn the exact moisture content percentage (%MC), and identify the source of moisture in the flooring material.
Meters such as the TotalCheck 3-in-1 meter combine the functions of pinless and pin-type moisture meters into one convenient device.
In the instance of a flooring claim, after installation, it is almost always recommended to use a pin-type meter as it is the only way to identify the source of moisture in a flooring system.
3.) Avoid Unsightly Damage
By using moisture meter technology in floor inspection and installation, you can avoid many types of damage.
Proper moisture content levels are essential to avoid cracking, shrinkage, buckling, warping or cupping in wood floor surfaces. Ambient relative humidity conditions can also affect the stability of wood, so it’s crucial for installers to identify their flooring’s ideal equilibrium of moisture content and measure for it. Installer experience, the right installation tools and good wood quality combined with the correct moisture content are a great recipe for long lasting, high integrity, quality flooring.
4.) Thermo-Hygrometers for Concrete Applications
In addition to pin-type and pin-less moisture meters, thermo-hygrometers are highly effective tools to accurately read the relative humidity of a concrete slab, according to the ASTM F-2170-11 Standard. Thermo-hygrometers with in-situ probes can measure moisture conditions within the slab, allowing contractors to more accurately predict when a given slab will be ready to be built on.
5.) No Limit on Wood Shape or Size
High-grade moisture meters can also be used on virtually any shape or size of flooring materials. While pin-less moisture meters require a sufficiently flat surface to operate, pin-type meters can measure moisture in any surface their pins can enter.
As pin-type meter readings come from the pin sensors at the tip of the meter, flat surfaces are not required for quality readings. These meters can measure moisture in pre-bend, damaged or warped flooring surfaces, an invaluable ability in determining moisture content.
6.) Simple Use and Quick Results
Best of all, today’s industrial moisture meters are easy to use, with simple user interfaces and clear, legible readings. Some moisture meter manufacturers offer PC-compatible software, so flooring professionals can download meter readings to a spreadsheet and never lose track of their readings and progress.
As many moisture meters scan for moisture content instantaneously, flooring operations can be completed with the utmost efficiency. This efficiency is important for jobs with a tight schedule, and minimal room for error.