Think about all the hard work, time and money you put into each wood floor you install for your customers. Would you want serious moisture damage to jeopardize that investment? Of course not! Fortunately, it’s now easy to shield your investment and empower your customers with the use of Floor Sentry by Wagner Meters

Floor Sentry is a small smart device that you install on the underside of a wood plank. Although hidden from view, it alerts your customers when the temperature and relative humidity conditions could lead to moisture-related problems. We’ll take a closer look at how Floor Sentry transforms your wood floor into a smart floor, but first, let’s consider moisture in the wood floor installation process.

Common Causes of Flooring Failures 

A wood floor can fail for many different reasons. These include improper floor maintenance or cleaning, improper installation, contamination or alkalinity issues in a concrete subfloor, excessive wear and tear, and various problems with moisture. 

That last reason—moisture—is the root cause of most flooring issues. That’s why a simple, easy-to-install monitoring device like Floor Sentry can prove so valuable to you and your customers.

Tips for Subfloor Preparation 

Often overlooked, the subfloor is a critical component of a successful installation. For one, the subfloor must be reasonably flat. If working with a concrete slab, you may have to grind high spots or apply a self-leveling compound to address low areas. 

You must also assess the subfloor’s moisture condition. For a wood-based subfloor, use a reliable wood moisture meter to ensure that the subfloor’s moisture content (MC) closely matches that of the wood you plan to install. 

The same principle goes for a concrete slab. It may look dry, but a surprising amount of moisture could be lurking deep below the surface. The reason for this is that after the concrete has cured (hardened), it still literally has tons of water that needs to escape—and even old slabs can have major issues if they didn’t dry properly. So, here’s what it comes down to: Always evaluate concrete for moisture using in situ relative humidity testing.

Installation Best Practices to Prevent Moisture Damage 

The right tools, techniques and materials are all important for a successful wood floor for your customers, but one critically important aspect to prevent moisture damage is acclimation of the wood flooring. Always bring the wood flooring to the jobsite at least several days beforehand so that it can acclimate properly. 

Generally, you want the wood to acclimate to about 6% to 9% MC. Keep in mind that the target MC can vary by region and climate. In a humid environment, for example, your target number may be somewhat higher. The best way to determine whether the wood has fully acclimated is to use a wood moisture meter. Opt for a high-quality meter because you want MC readings that are accurate and reliable and choose a pinless meter because it’s totally non-damaging and won’t leave unsightly holes in the wood the way a pin meter would.

Proper acclimation and testing of the wood’s MC are essential for preventing a costly moisture-related callback. 

Make Your Floor a Smart Floor 

Another important aspect of a successful wood floor installation has to do with what happens after you’ve long since moved on to other projects. You installed the customer’s floor with great care, but what if your customer doesn’t know how to maintain it properly? Does your customer understand the need to monitor indoor conditions and avoid wide swings in temperature and relative humidity? That’s where Floor Sentry comes in. 

Simply use a router to carve out a small area under a floor plank (see above photo) and fit this compact device into the routed area. Then, choose the best location to place it as you’re installing the floor.

The next step is to pair the Bluetooth-enabled Floor Sentry with the complementary Wagner Sentry app. With the app, you can work with your customer to set the desired alarm thresholds for temperature and humidity. That’s it! You’ve now transformed a new wood floor into a smart floor! And you’ve provided the homeowner with a handy tool to help keep their floor in great condition. 

Customers will have instant access on their smartphones to the temperature and relative humidity conditions of the wood floor as well as the underlayment or concrete subfloor. They will also receive alerts anytime these conditions go outside the desired range. Plus, whenever you install Floor Sentry, you’re giving yourself cheap insurance that could save an expensive floor from moisture-related damage. 

Why Do It Any Other Way? 

Moisture can wreak havoc on a wood floor, and if a serious moisture issue were to arise long after you’re gone, you could get blamed—even if it isn’t your fault. So, why not empower customers to spot a potential moisture issue so it can be addressed quickly? Floor Sentry provides this smart and easy way to a beautiful, long-lasting wood floor. 

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