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Damaged Floors Part II

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Joined: Mar 24 2003

I need your thinking caps fellow Eichler enthusiasts. I'm having some real trouble.

Perhaps you all remember when I wrote many months ago about our brand new hardwood floors warping and becoming severely damaged due to water. As a bit of background, we have a 3/2 Eichler in Terra Linda. The damage occurred in our living room. If you enter our front door you walk past the kitchen on your right and into the living room which then opens up to the court yard.

We thought we nailed the problem. We found a hole in our roof directly above the area most damaged. We had the roof repaired and had the floors completely torn out and rebuilt. This was 1 month ago. As you all know, we've had alot of heat and no rain to speak of.

We are now seeing the EXACT same issue begin to happen again. The NEW floors are beginning to warp in the exact same places.

After reading some of the other people's posts (under slab leak) I went out and looked at our water meter when no water was being used in the house. It didnt move. I even turned off the water to see if that effected the meter and it still didnt budge. So Im assuming we have no pipe leak under the slab.. Additionally, our radiant heating was disabled like 15 years ago and is not the issue. There is no water in the old system. We have baseboard heating which uses hot water. But, we havent used the heater since the winter (although I know it must still have pressure in it). The only thing I can think of is perhaps their is a tiny leak in that system. I'll have someone come out and pressure test that system quickly.

What could be causing this trouble for us? Where is the water coming from? Any ideas?

Any help would be appreciated!

Thanks/Russell

tom
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Joined: Mar 23 2003

Hi Russel , I had the same problem you had with the hardwood flooring because the floor did not have a vapor barrier so the floor warped I had the floor redone with tiles if you live on a slab you will always have a some kind of moisture on the slab. I installed a french drain and that took care of most the water problem. If you already have a french drain al i think u may have a leaking sewer drain or if u live on a hill your neighbor could be over watering there yard and casue the water into your slab. good luck and keep us posted Tom

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Joined: Mar 24 2003

Question though.

One. I have a vapor barrier between the plywood subfloor and the hardwood.

Two..the warping is completely isolated in only one section of the house---the living room.

Does that shed any light?

Thanks/Russell

tom
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Joined: Mar 23 2003

Russell even if u have a vapor barrier water will find its way in somehow. like from the edge or the overlap of the vapor barrier i had the same problem in the living room too i think the water was coming from the atruim where my wife waters the tree all the time. I had the floor removed twice and it was just soaked with water so finally i gave up on the hardwood floor.

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

Russell: sorry about your misfortune. But their has been tons of discussion on this board regarding hardwood floors and slabs. They don't play well together.

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

Hi Russell- Sounds like a major dissapointment. I agree with the previous post- concrete slabs always emit water to some degree. I am hoping to put new flooring in my home and have eliminated many types of flooring because they are not compatible with moisture coming off the slab.

You sound like you have done a good job troubleshooting and good news- you don't have a slab leak like some of us have (keep a keen eye on the meter and your utilitiy bill no matter what).

My suggestion is to do a moisture test on your slab. There is a test called a calcium chloride test that is an ASTM "standardized" test for measuring moisture content coming from a slab. I had it tested by a professional about 3 years ago to find out why the humidity in my home was so high. ( It just turned out that we have a well insulated house and our family of 4 did a average job of generated moisture i.e. showers, cooking, etc.). When I had a pro do it, it cost me $750. If you are resourceful, you can do the test yourself for a much cheaper price. You would need to follow the directions closely. Here is where you can buy the test:

http://www.taylortools.com/tftmktp.html

Any really good flooring pro should be doing this test and my local flooring company offered this when asked. When I wanted to put Linoleum down, it turns out the pros at Forbo do not recommend over a certain water limit (based on this test). Yet....has anyone gone to a flooring store to buy and had the salesperson ask for test results before deciding what floor to buy? Not that I have seen and what I have heard on this message board. My results are between 5 and 10 lbs which some consider somewhat high (5 is in the more acceptable range). You may want to ask your local flooring shops who would do the test in your area.

Anyway, at this point, I have narrowed down the field to either tile or concrete based on ability to withstand slab moisture.

Oh and one more thing...water from landscaping may be a big source of water coming up from the slab. I don't know how much, but I plan to redirect some outdoor watering to reduce moisture- just seems like a good idea.

Good luck and keep us posted.
Lynn

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Joined: Mar 24 2003

I appreciate all of your responses.

Our flooring contractor did the calcium test and it showed that the water was not coming up from the slab. The only other thing I can think of is our baseboard heating system (which is filled with water under pressure) runs right along the wall where the floor problems are.

Perhaps it has a minute leak?

On another note, the damage to the floor is in the EXACT SAME PATTERN as it was the first time. Identical.

Whole thing is strange. I refuse to believe that this is water seeping up from slab. Or maybe its hard to believe. We walked all over the slab for like 3 months with just a thin remnant carpet on top of it while we organized our new floor installation. We never ntoiced any water or dampness of anysort! At this point, I gotta go with a leaking baseboard heater. Thats my next are to inspect...im organizing a inspection as we speak..ill let you all know what i learn.

Thanks/Russell

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Joined: Mar 24 2003

So in our continuing drama to find our water source, we had a baseboard heating expert come out and pressure test our heating system. It's unfortunately water tight. He then pressure tested our main water system in the house and determined that we have a leak someplace.

I would hazard a guess that since there is new water damage to our 2nd set of brand new hardwood floors that the leak is directly under our living room. Also, our humidity is 75% in the living room as compared with 55% in the rest of the house.

I've read the other posting in this forum called" Help Ive got a leak in the slab." Well, apparently I do too! At this point we have shut off all water to the house and feel like were camping.

Ive called American Leak Detection and am waiting for their phone call. Do you guys have any contact information for reputable plumbers and/or leak detection people? I think we'll run new pipes across the roof and avoid the slab entirely. I was quite interested in the company that also insulated the pipes. I'm in the Terra Linda area and need to move VERY FAST to avoid complete destruction of my 2nd set of floors in one year.

Help! Any advice? Any names and phone numbers around Marin?

My email address is: russell.quinan@publicis-usa.com

Thanks for all your assistance.

Russell

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