Sweating wood floor?

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  #1  
Old 06-07-02, 08:27 AM
PJMorgan
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Sweating wood floor?

I recently bought a 61 yr odl wood frame house. The previous owner had refinished the hardwood floor in a room adjacent to the living room and it looks great so we pulled the carpet in the living room and found the floor in decent shape. A week later we got heavy rand we have found several spots ranging from 2" to 2 feet that "sweat". They seem to get wet from underneath but there is no evidence of moisture in the ceiling of the basement underneath these spots.

Is there anything I can do about this? I assume that if I use a power sander on this wood that has been getting wet ove rthe years it will start to splinteror shatter all together. I cannot place a floor on top of it that will not tolerate the moisture......help!!!!!
 
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  #2  
Old 06-07-02, 07:09 PM
T
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Condensation on wood floors

Warm humid air forms condensation when it makes contact with a cooler surface. You indicated that you have had some rain in your area. Keeping HVAC system running to maintain temperature and humidity at occupancy levels is important to controlling problems associated with humidity in the home. You do not indicate that there appears to be any staining or discoloration to "wood that has been getting wet over the years." The carpet has acted as an insulative barrier and has not been exposed to condensation.

You might also want to check to see if the floor is insulated underneath the house.

If you are planning on refinishing your wood floors, go to http://www.finishingwoodfloors.com for the National Oak Flooring Manufacturer's Assoc. Finishing Manual and other helpful info.
 
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Old 06-08-02, 06:32 PM
PJMorgan
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Thank you and another question

Thank you twelvepole! There does not appear to be any insulation between the floor and the sub floor. The floor actually appears to be getting wet from beneath leading me to believe that the sub floor is actually sweating. And it appears to be only in specific spots on the floor.
We want to install a floor on top of the existing floor. In doing this we would be putting a thin layer of insulation between the old floor and teh new. Most of the Do it yourself floors state that high humidity is a no no so we assumed that we were screwed. Do you think that this thin layer of insulation may be our answer?
 
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Old 06-08-02, 08:05 PM
AzFred
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PJ you could have a problem and insulation MAY help. Heating and air conditioning WILL help. There is more to this story and you could call in a good HVAC contractor or you could explain the atmosphere that the construction of the home offers and the climate where it is located. Prevention of condensation is important enough that the EPA offers volumes of info on the subject. This could be "small potatoes" or a problem waiting to happen.
 
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Old 06-13-02, 05:39 AM
PJMorgan
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HVAC

I have a home with boiler heat so I have no vents for AC. WOuld something as simple as a de-humidifier help? It is getting worse with the humid weather.
 
  #6  
Old 06-13-02, 05:58 AM
AzFred
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Yes, humidity control should help but that does not address the underlaying problem if there is one. A humidity issue also falls in the area of HVAC expertise.
 
  #7  
Old 06-13-02, 07:55 AM
PJMorgan
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Suggestions?

I suspect that this has been the normal for this floor. When we moved in there was carpet. We pulled up the carpet and the areas with the majority of the moisture had the pad stuck to them.

What can I do here? The basement ceiling where the floor sweats is not wet so am I getting a layer of moisture between the floor and sub floor? is there anything that can be done short of ripping up the floor and properly insulating the sub floor?
 
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Old 06-13-02, 05:33 PM
AzFred
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I'm Sorry this is so long

I really believe that you have an imbalance in the pressures of the building and that an HVAC professional can debug the problem. It may be as simple as balancing the HVAC output or may require a storm window or ceiling (above the room) insulation. I think an HVAC survey will uncover the problem if you are confident that it is not a plumbing issue. We don't know enough about this building or where it's located. Here is a quote from an EPA report that may provide some insight. The issue is not the mold but the difference in atmosphere. Disregard the reference to mold and focus on the cause and effect! "Mold and mildew are commonly found on the exterior wall surfaces of corner rooms in heating climate locations. An exposed corner room is likely to be significantly colder than adjoining rooms, so that it has a higher relative humidity (RH) than other rooms at the same water vapor pressure. If mold and mildew growth are found in a corner room, then relative humidity next to the room surfaces is above 70%. However, is the RH above 70% at the surfaces because the room is too cold or because there is too much moisture present (high water vapor pressure)?The amount of moisture in the room can be estimated by measuring both temperature and RH at the same location and at the same time. Suppose there are two cases. In the first case, assume that the RH is 30% and the temperature is 70oF in the middle of the room. The low RH at that temperature indicates that the water vapor pressure (or absolute humidity) is low. The high surface RH is probably due to room surfaces that are "too cold." Temperature is the dominating factor, and control strategies should involve increasing the temperature at cold room surfaces.

In the second case, assume that the RH is 50% and the temperature is 70oF in the middle of the room. The higher RH at that temperature indicates that the water vapor pressure is high and there is a relatively large amount of moisture in the air. The high surface RH is probably due to air that is "too moist." Humidity is the dominating factor, and control strategies should involve decreasing the moisture content of the indoor air."

This example may convince you to contact a professional with knows that which a DIY hasn't considered. No offence intended.
 
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Old 06-13-02, 07:42 PM
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Condensation on wood floors

Without an HVAC system and just a boiler system, you have temperatures and humidity levels that may well be out of control. We also do not know if there is insulation beneath the subfloor if your basement has a ceiling. There are many factors that could be contributing to the problem with moisture collection on your wood floor. As azfred recommends, perhaps you should contact a professional to help you assess the situation. There are housing inspectors who will inspect your whole house for $150-$200 and let you know what is amiss. It may be money that is well spent.
 
  #10  
Old 06-14-02, 05:29 AM
PJMorgan
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Thanks much

Just to be clear when I referred to the basement ceiling I meant the underside of the sub floor. It shows no sign of dampness at all.

It has been very humid here and it just is getting worse. When you first referred to the HVAC contractor I thought I was stuck because of not having a home with duct work. I will certainly invest in that inspection. Thanks again!

FYI My home is a wood frame home with aluminum siding. The home was built in 1941 and a new roof was placed on it 3 years ago. the siding was put on in 1972.

We just bought it in December from my wife's grandfather and have been "rehabbing" it ever since. We have had no major issues but I want to get on things like this before they get worse.

he had carpet in this room and we ripped it out. Remembering the pattern of the carpet pad being stuck on the floor it was in the most moist locations so this has been going on for a while.

Thanks again for the help and once I get that inspection I will share the results!
 
  #11  
Old 06-14-02, 06:34 AM
AzFred
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The aluminum siding is interesting. See the exchange started by 'kwedberg' also based on your acknowledgment of high humidity and what I now see as rain from your original post adds a dimension.
 
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