Hardwood floors, vapor barrier and insulation
August 1, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Our subfloor floor (under carpet) had moisture read highs in some spots of 10-15% the other day. The crawl space is dry but we get a lot of fog and the heat has been off in the house. Our contractor is telling us we can still safely install solid plank hard wood floors if he installs a vapor barrier under the crawl space and adds insulation under the floors. Does anyone have an opinion on whether this is sufficient or do we have to go the engineered wood route? My husband grew up with and is set on having solid plank instead of engineered wood floors. If we install the insulation, vapor barrier and keep the heat on, will that be enough to keep the floors from cupping? The crawl space is not wet so i am not sure i understand what help a vapor barrier will provide. Will we forever have to have the heat on or after several years does it become less of am issue?
Thanks in advance for any help!
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Fred S
Where do you live, and are there water pipes under the floor joists in the crawl space? Are there vents on the outside of the house for the crawl space? Is there black plastic on top of the dirt in the crawl space? How much insulation is on the walls of the crawl space?
August 1, 2013 at 10:58PM      Thanked by joellaszabo
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We are in northern coastal California, 1/4 mile from the beach outside Monterey. We get a lot of fog in the summer that can just hang around all day. I do not know if there are water pipes in the crawl space but there probably have to be some.. There are vents to the outside from the crawl space. There is no black plastic on the dirt and I don't think there is any insulation as the home inspection report recommended we install some in the crawl space. There are sump pumps under the house. We were told that there was an issue with water under the house that the previous homeowners remedied 15 years ago (sump pumps) so it is dry under the home. Home inspections were done in March of this year (during our rainy season) and we were told the ground in the crawl space was dry and there was no water in the sump pums. Then again just last week when I had someone go under to check I was told it was dry. This is why we thought we were ok installing solid plank. Still need to meet with contractor to discuss but sounds like he thinks he can fix the moisture in the sub floor with vapor barrier and insulation so we could still do solid plank. Just want tot research a bit myself. Thanks for responding.
August 2, 2013 at 7:40AM   
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Oak & Broad
The vapor barrier should be part of every installation of wood flooring no matter how dry the crawlspace may be. Joellaszabo our team typically holds hands with our clients through the entire project after making their floor for them. I have some pretty straight forward installation instructions that usually accompany a floor when we ship it. I dont mind giving them to you in hopes they may answers some of your questions. Just email me for them. PS who made your floor for you? Joel@eutree.com
August 2, 2013 at 10:09AM      Thanked by joellaszabo
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Fred S
Even if the crawl space seams dry, it can give off enough moisture to cause a problem. When you say add insulation under the floors, it sounds like the contractor wants to put it in-between the floor joists. This would be wrong. The crawl space should have insulation around the outside and have basically the same climate as the inside of the house. Moisture is always moving through the walls and floor of a house. It is when you slow it down with insulation that it causes condensation and creates problems. Plastic on the ground and more insulation on the outside walls is the place to start, as well as eutree's comment. If the plastic and insulation don't make enough difference, get a mechanical ventilation system tor the whole house.
August 2, 2013 at 2:13PM      Thanked by joellaszabo
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