Moisture Content and Vapor Barrier for Wood Floors

Project: Modern Colonial, Episode 9, Part 4



Bob takes a look at some hardscape work being done, specifically a new cobblestone driveway apron, but the real story is flooring.

On the first floor, Don and Kerry Carlisle from Carlisle Restoration Lumber (a supplier of reclaimed lumber) are on hand to tell Bob about the wide oak flooring that was chosen, and the milling process that goes into a Carlisle board.

Next, Howard Brickman explains different methods of flooring installation before beginning a gluing and nailing process in the kitchen. Moving to the dining room, Howard demonstrates a screwing and plugging technique, as well as the FloorWatch monitor system, which allows you to observe the moisture content of a floor remotely.
Part 1: Laying Down a Cobblestone Driveway Apron
Part 2: Traditional Hardwood Flooring from Carlisle
Part 3: Wideboard Hardwood Floor Installation
Part 4: Moisture Content and Vapor Barrier for Wood Floors
For proper installation, wood flooring should be allowed to acclimate to its surrounding environment before it is installed. Too much or too little moisture in the flooring can cause it to bow, buckle, split, or crack after it is installed.

In the dining room, flooring specialist Howard Brickman shows Bob two ways to measure the moisture content of wood. The first is a traditional moisture meter that is stuck into the floor. The second is the FloorWatch system, which can be monitored remotely. The FloorWatch system monitors moisture levels, temperature, and relative humidity. It can be accessed over the phone or via a Web site.

Before putting the floor down, Brickman applies a vapor barrier that is similar to an ice shield used in roofing. A different floor fastening system is being used in this room; rather than the nailing technique used elsewhere in the house, Brickman uses screws and wood plugs.
This project focuses on the construction of a Colonial-style home built with both history and the future in mind. While the 4-bedroom, 4-bath home will have a traditional exterior and interior detailing, the plan will suit the needs of a modern family, including easy-maintenance fireplaces, a great room, master suite, sun room, 3-car garage, and a large walk-out basement with plenty of room for recreation and indoor/outdoor living.

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