The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1st to November 30th and MAPEI’s USA headquarters are located less than 5 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. So, preparing ourselves for storm season is just something that we do every year. People often ask us, what can be done to prepare interior floors from the effects of a Hurricane? And more specifically – can anything be done to protect glued-down wood floors?
It’s a well-known fact that Tropical systems bring severe weather. But, they also bring several types of elevated moisture conditions which can lead to swelling in wood flooring and may trigger subsequent bond failures. Although there is nothing that can protect a wood floor from the extreme water damage caused by flooding, there are some things that can be done to protect glued-down wood flooring from the increases in moisture brought on by tropical systems.
Extra-heavy rain: Tropical systems often bring extra-heavy rain, which can cause the ground around buildings to become saturated. Homes that are built on grade and are more than 15 years old, most likely do not have a vapor barrier membrane underneath the concrete that is still functioning as a continuous membrane. The installation of a liquid-applied epoxy-based or urethane-based moisture barrier such as MAPEI Planiseal VS, Planiseal VS Fast or Planiseal PMB will protect a new wood floor from severe concrete moisture issues, which can happen unexpectedly due to periods of extra-heavy rain.
Power outages: When winds are powerful enough to cause tree damage, large, heavy branches can fall on electric lines. So, it’s possible that cities and neighborhoods may be without power for several days. Most wood flooring manufacturers require that interior living spaces are kept within specific air temperature and air humidity ranges at all times for glued-down installations. In the event of an extended power outage, a standby generator may be the only option in providing the electricity needed to keep the HVAC operating. Make sure that the generator selected is large enough to run the AC unit. With even slight rises in temperature and humidity, individual boards will expand. So, it’s important to leave an expansion joint around the perimeter of the room and also around any columns, kitchen islands, etc. Refer to the wood flooring manufacturer’s written instructions for expansion space requirements as well as proper climate control settings.
Wind-driven rain: Strong winds can push rain in a sideways direction, which can cause water to collect near doorways and create puddles in home entryways. It is important to protect glued-down wood floors from prolonged exposure to wetness. So, wipe up puddles quickly and keep wet umbrellas off the floor. Interior rugs near front doors should be removed promptly when they become wet. The application of a high-quality finish such as MAPEI Ultracoat Easy Plus or MAPEI Ultracoat High Traffic, adds an extra layer of protection to wood flooring and helps shield it from occasional drips and spills.
Interested in learning more? The NWFA (National Wood Flooring Association) is a terrific resource for home owners http://woodfloors.org/ as well as professional wood flooring installers http://www.nwfa.org/. Questions? Contact MAPEI’s Technical Services Department at 1-800-992-6273. Is your wood floor ready?