As wood flooring contractors, we have all been faced at one time or another with a subfloor that is too wet and will not dry within the industry guidelines. I recall in my contracting days that sometimes we would have to wait weeks or even a couple of months to obtain the appropriate moisture content to proceed with the flooring installation.
In my area here in Minneapolis, Belrose and Company is a high-end flooring contractor that has come up with a solution to dry the subfloors to be within standards within a short period of time. The owner, Steve Belrose, explains that with homes having poured concrete basement walls instead of block walls these days, more moisture is added into the basement. Additionally, with basements being below grade, they are slow to dry, affecting our subfloors. The process Belrose and Company developed is double-drying from both sides using one piece of equipment. As you can see from the photo, they use a commercial dehumidifier to dry out the main level of the residence, drill a 4” hole in the subfloor and blow the heated dry air into the basement. This drops the RH in both levels at the same time and shortens the necessary time for drying the subfloor. Steve pointed out that when you are getting near the specified MC, you must carefully watch to not over-dry and create other issues like sheetrock cracking, crown/millwork shrinkage, etc.
Belrose has good reason to be this careful. “We are a high-end flooring contractor, and we have high standards we must adhere to. We take every precaution to provide a successful wood floor to our clients,” he says.
[Note from the Editor: You can read about Steve Belrose's work with creating custom colors in this article.]