Finishing laminate flooring near window that has condensation in winter

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Old 02-18-10, 10:11 AM
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Finishing laminate flooring near window that has condensation in winter

Ahhhhhhh, where do I begin...

We used to have carpeting in this room, but changed it to laminate 2 years ago. Knowing that we had a problem with humidity in winter, we didn't just lay the laminate right to the window. I left it unfinished as shown here:

Laminate, window, moisture

I use a dehumidifier, but it's loud and I can't stand it for more than a couple of hours. Still, it helps a bit.

I open the windows so that the cold air (by definition, with lower humidity) would replace the indoor air. That still doesn't help and when it gets really cold, we get this moisture. I live very close to the lake and I see neighbors in our area up to about 5th floor have fogged up windows, too. So it's a problem in this area.

I've made peace with that.

What I need help with is how to finish the flooring near the window.

I've been looking for tile that would have a raised edge, so that even if the water pools on that strip near the window, it wouldn't reach and damage the flooring. I haven't been able to find that kind of tile.

Do you have any suggestions on what I can do to finish the edge and protect the flooring?

Thank you in advance!!
 
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Old 02-18-10, 03:21 PM
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Is this a single residence or high rise? Common walls or separate walls? How hot do you keep your temperature? Do you use gas heat or electric or other? Is your unit sealed up pretty tight? The key is the last question, so let us know if you have any ventilators, etc.
 
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Old 02-18-10, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by chandler View Post
Is this a single residence or high rise? Common walls or separate walls? How hot do you keep your temperature? Do you use gas heat or electric or other? Is your unit sealed up pretty tight? The key is the last question, so let us know if you have any ventilators, etc.
- It's a condo
- Don't understand the question about the walls
- Temperature is about 24C (I think about 75F?)
- Heater is an electric HVAC unit, heat/AC/vent all in one
- We have drafts because the windows are full length and no, don't think they're sealed well, we'll do it in spring
- Dryer and bathroom vent go outside

All your questions are about the humidity. Are you implying this can be resolved? Again, as I mentioned it seems to be a problem in our area, not just in our building. In most newer condo buildings here as well as old renovated loft buildings.

Any ideas as to the flooring/window thing?

Thanks for your interest to my problem
 
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Old 02-18-10, 04:22 PM
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Question about the walls were to see if your floor was all yours or did you have a common wall with another condo? Some condos encompass an entire floor, and some are divided. It was asked to see if you had all outside walls or not.
I know temperature is a personal thing, but 75 is hot. I am confident with that heat you are generating a lot of humidity. Would be interesting to see exactly what the humidity of your main room is.
I think your internal humidity can be the culprit. Higher heat (much higher than outside temps) can lead to higher humidity at the windows. I didn't ask how old the building was, but it would help knowing.
I know you have extreme cold, coupled with the heat, you will have condensation. I notice the windows are double pane, so that is good.
The question about how tight the building is was to see if there was an exchange of air to keep down the humidity. Do you have any outside wall operable windows? Or are they all fixed like these?
I hate to ask so many questions, but I think you want a solution.
I'm not even going near the floor yet. Leaving such close ends on the laminate is not going to be an easy fix, but we'll get there.
 
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Old 02-18-10, 04:40 PM
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I'd love to find a solution for the humidity problem if that's at all possible!! Everything I read online just says "allow cold air in and use a dehumidifer", which I do daily.

The building was finished in 2001.

We have no outside walls whatsoever, it's all windows, all facing South.

I think 75F is average, I don't like wearing long sleeves at home. We lived at other places with even higher temps and it was dry but it was higher up. We're on the third floor now, used to live on the 5th and 9th.

We generate a lot of moisture because we work at home.

Whenever I go on trips and come back, I leave the temp at around 65-68F because of the plants. And then even after 2-3 days the place is much dryer. I'm pretty sure it's not the temperature but the fact that we're human and have to breathe, cook and shower

In this room, the window consists of 3 parts. There's the top part (fixed, about 60% of the height), middle part (sliding windows) and the bottom in the picture (fixed).
 
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Old 02-18-10, 04:47 PM
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By the way, when I heat up the place (add another 2-3C), moisture evaporates from the windows, so we may not be heating enough, right to the dew point.
 
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Old 02-19-10, 11:28 AM
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Getting closer. We keep our house at 65 in winter and it is really comfortable once you get used to it. If we are watching TV we can use a throw if we need to, but seldom do.
OK, you have all windows and they all face south. Now I know. You don't have the other three walls that are required for a room!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are outside with only one south facing wall of windows.
See the reason for my questions? You must have outside walls, even if they are in other rooms. Do they abut other condos or are they, in fact, outside walls themselves.
You have hit the nail on the head......dew point. It is the humidity coupled with the temperature that is causing the condensation and water damage. Raise the humidity raise the temperature and you have condensation. Lower either and it will come under somewhat control. Sometimes ventilation is not possible, or practical. Why open a window to -10 degree cold while you are trying to keep the place livable, right?
Others on the forums may be a little more versed on the air exchangers than I, as I live and work in a more temperate region of the USA. I will send PM's to them and see if they will chime in with a little more info on the exchangers. It may prove to be a big help in reducing the humidity so you can keep the temperature where you like it.
Stand by.
 
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Old 02-19-10, 11:41 AM
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Hi Chandler!

I left the blinds and curtain open overnight in the office last night, and there was NO condensation on the windows in the morning.

That's what I'll do from now on, but can't leave everything open in the bedroom (by the way, have the same issue with the flooring in the bedroom, but haven't replaced the laminate there yet because not sure how to finish the edge).

That's correct - the windows are our only outside "walls". There are other condos on each side of our unit.

I was reading about air exchangers last night and all the articles said that they can't be installed in condos.

We can do anything we want inside, but nothing that would alter the outside look of the building or the hallway (we're not even allowed to hang a wreath on the door).
 
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Old 02-19-10, 01:47 PM
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Can you tell us what the RH is inside the home? Do you run bath fans for at least 20 minutes after bathing? Do they vent outside? Do you run the kitchen fan when cooking? Does it vent outside?
 
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Old 02-19-10, 02:06 PM
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Hi Canada, I'm right next door, so do understand the cold. Global warming set a new record just above me last year of minus 40F, burrrr!
Anyway, to address your humidity, you already understand some of the sources, people, plants, and activities. As you discovered, blinds and curtains can cause extra condensation by isolating the heat from the window. A colder window is more likely to reach that dew point.

Since this is apparently an issue on many levels of this building, it would imply a low air exchange. With no outside ceiling or basement, and three of the four walls exposed to other units, the only leakage would be to that mostly glass wall and glass itself doesn't leak. You are left with only the air exchange from leakage around the window and around that glass wall, rather low.

So, your choices are few. Opening a window, running the bath fans continuously, or a dehumidifier. Even if your HVAC system is a heat pump, since they aren't terribly efficient in the really cold country, my assumption is you are basically using electric heat. In that case, running a dehumidifier (dh) is probably your best answer. Any excess heat produced by the dh simply replaces electric heat from your heating system and in the process, removes the excess moisture. Specific models I'm not familiar with, but a unit that can drain directly to the plumbing as opposed to something that has to be dumped would be best. I'm certain there are high end dh units that will not be as noisy, airman or chandler might have a model in mind.

The HRV would work like opening a window, without all of the heat loss, but would require two vents to the outside and, as stated, that's not allowed.

There are other small steps that can help.
1. A timer on the bath exhaust fan to keep it running for 20 minutes after showers. Built into a switch, simple.
2. Not over watering plants
3. Shorter showers
4. Make sure dryer vent is not blocked and you do see steam outside when yours and others are operating.
5. Lids on boiling water
6. Simply monitor any water use or similar activity within your entire building, as the commom wall nature also shares air and moisture.

Also, pick up a home humidistat so you can see your progress. 35% to 40% IMO

What do you think so far?

Bud
 
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Old 02-19-10, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by airman.1994 View Post
Can you tell us what the RH is inside the home? Do you run bath fans for at least 20 minutes after bathing? Do they vent outside? Do you run the kitchen fan when cooking? Does it vent outside?
Yes and yes - run both bath and kitchen fans.

They are connected to the same pipe (or chute) as the dryer and it all vents to the outside. I see vapor near the window when either of these is in use, so it works properly.
 
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Old 02-19-10, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Bud9051 View Post

What do you think so far?

Bud
It's a balmy +35F out there today, no complaints!

Our HVAC uses natural gas for heating (from the main source on the roof), so I'm not sure if it's just electric heat or what? I know that the gas produces moisture when burning, but it's probably burning right there, on the roof?

We bought a Whirlpool Gold "Most Compact" dehumidifier. It's the one with a tray you have to empty, but I never run it long enough to fill up fully anyway. It collects about 30 to 50oz of water in 1.5-2 hours.

The dh helped A LOT. It removed the musty smell we had, and there's no steamy feeling in the home. Used to be you walk in and feel like you're in a sauna. Right now it's pretty comfortable and fairly dry, sometimes even to the point that my hair is static'y.

Before dh, condensation would be on the windows when it was 50F outside (!), now they're dry when it's 32F.

We're very aware of our activities contributing moisture and do everything possible to counteract that but there's only so much you can do. Use vents, shower quickly, close the lid on the toilet (that comes easily to me ) etc.

Opening windows also helps a lot. Just don't always feel like doing it: being right downtown, there's a lot of traffic noise and sirens.

I've been wondering if our shower vent is efficient. It's a cheap one that "came with the building". It's pretty noisy as well, but doesn't seem that powerful to me, takes awhile to defog the mirrors.

You guys have all pointed out all the inefficiencies in this building, and I think it's probably true in a lot of the modern condos built around this area. I'm looking forward to completing the renovations and moving out
 
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Old 02-19-10, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by airman.1994 View Post
Can you tell us what the RH is inside the home?
Sorry, missed this question -- don't know what the RH is, don't have a hygrometer, just go by the "feel"
 
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Old 02-19-10, 03:25 PM
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Well you shot my big guns in the foot with the news about not being able to install an air exchanger. They gave great information, so when you get the moisture under control, we have to work on the flooring. It's not going to be easy. Just for advance information are the ends of the laminate factory or are they cut? What is the largest gap you have between the wall and the edge of the laminate? I'll work on a solution for that, while you take charge of the humidity from what Airman and Bud brought up.
 
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Old 02-19-10, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by chandler View Post
Well you shot my big guns in the foot with the news about not being able to install an air exchanger.
We have an air exchanger in the hallway, they tried their best. Probably couldn't put one in every unit because of size.

Originally Posted by chandler View Post
Just for advance information are the ends of the laminate factory or are they cut?

What is the largest gap you have between the wall and the edge of the laminate?
- The ends are cut, somewhat uneven right now (variation up to 1/5" in length).

- "between the wall and the edge of the laminate" - I assume you mean between the window and the laminate. It's 4".
 
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Old 02-19-10, 06:30 PM
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I would get a RH meter and try this! I would try this Open a window a 1/2 (don't know what that is in metric) {can't believe we won't switch to metric} or so and turn a bath fan on for 24 hours. This should lower RH a lot. Your bath fans could be under sized. I recommend at least 90 CFM for the smallest of bath rooms. Stupid question the people under you don't have a grow room going do they?
 
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Old 02-20-10, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by airman.1994 View Post
turn a bath fan on for 24 hours. This should lower RH a lot.

Your bath fans could be under sized. I recommend at least 90 CFM for the smallest of bath rooms.

Stupid question the people under you don't have a grow room going do they?
- 24 hours of bath fan would be like an air raid!

- I'll check the model and specs, I remember seeing the CFM number before and believe it was 55 or something like that.

- Not a stupid question, there are lots of grow ops here, but no, nothing like that in our building
 
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Old 02-20-10, 06:56 AM
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If the bath fan is undersized, you may can retrofit the guts with a low sone high volume fan for a price. It would be much quieter and move much more air.
 
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Old 02-20-10, 07:11 AM
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Ours has either 59 or 70 CFM (can't remember exact model number)

Not sure I want to deal with the fan, to be honest, because we intend to sell the place within a year or two at most, and move into a house.
 
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Old 02-23-10, 05:41 AM
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Bumpity bump...

Back to my original request - do you have any suggestions as to how to finish the floor near the window?

Thanks!
 
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Old 02-23-10, 11:08 AM
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Cut a piece of 1x6 lumber of your choice (oak, poplar, pine, etc.) rabbet one edge about one inch long by 3/8" deep. Bevel the top of the rabbeted end. Rip the board to the width of your shortest gap plus about 1/2" and lay the rabbet over the flooring and face nail it down. You can stain it to match and apply polyurethane to it to keep it looking good. I don't think you will ever get laminate to lay properly in the area where the damage occurred, mainly because you cut the ends of the laminate rather than leaving factory edges which could lock into new pieces.
 
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