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Question DetailsAsked on 9/30/2015

Who would I call to check out the damage of my engineered hardwood floors and to find the cause of the damage.

We recently just installed engineered hardwood floors in our home. They were glued down directly onto the concrete slab. In certain areas, mainly underneath an exterior window, the floor seems to be deteriorating. I don't see any water coming in and the floor doesn't feel wet. I don't know if it's just the moisture from the slab or what may be causing it. If you can please direct me to what service category would help me get to the bottom of this. Thank you.

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I am assuming there is no chance rain came in the window ?

Sounds like likely damp slab, or could be that the cooler night air coming off the window (especially if fall temps in your area now) is just enough to drop the temperature of the slab in that area to the point where it is condensing moisture under the flooring.

Sounds to me like this was installed without a vapor barrier, which if this is a slab-on-grade or basement slab, was an installation defect so I would be documenting it NOW and talking to the contractor to make it good - meaning in this case take it all up and put down proper vapor barrier, then reinstall (if snap joints that can be taken apart without damage) or new flooring.

Be prepared for the argument that the floor was OK before he installed it, and came up wet AFTER, so not his fault. In my opinion, ANY floor other than polished concrete or tile put on a slab on grade or basement slab should go over a vapor barrier, because while the bare concrete might evaporate the moisture wicking through it without visible damp spots on the concrete, put a flooring over it that does not allow at least as effective evaporation (so basically some open-weave carpets, if you are lucky) traps the moisture coming through and can cause moisture damage because it is no longer able to evaporate as fast as it comes into the concrete from below, so it starts condensing or causing actually damp concrete. In my experience, most flooring installers are not aware of this.

I have also seen the same thing happen below window or split air conditioners, where the cold air cascades to the floor, causing the temperature under the flooring to drop below the dew point and cause condensation, even on non-concrete floors.

A test with a pin probe type moisture meter would likely indicate if moisture is the issue.

I would NOT let him string you along saying it will all be OK with time or such - make a point of it NOW while the job is fresh and it is clearly defective workmanship rather than a situiation where it could be blamed on other causes later on.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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