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Help w/ reducing moister in sub-floors.

Posted by Kevin on February 20th, 2003 11:13 AM

Hi, I am trying to find information on how to deal with a moister problem in my sub-floors. Unlike many of you braver soles, I am having hardwood floors installed by a local company. In the process, they identified the fact that I have between 11% and 16% moisture content in my sub-floors. This is not only impacting the types of flooring products I can choose from, but also is a concern for me for molds, dry rot etc. I'm no expert, but here are some details. I have a 30 year old, single level home with a raised foundation. The house sits at the base of a large hill which, when saturated by rain, pushes water underneath my foundation and up into my crawlspace (surface run-off is handled well). Most of this water then flows down to the low point of the foundation and is pumped out by a sump pump. In very wet times, some of the water does collect in small pools. Fortunately, I have pretty good air circulation and do not have any visible water damage on the substructure of the home (so I've been told), but obviously, I've got a problem given the moisture content (which has been measured on three separate occasions after both dry and wet weather with consistent results). The flooring company believes they have found a couple products that will work under these conditions and I'm OK with what I've seen (there's a nice looking bamboo product that can handle up to 18%), but I really what to the resolve underlying problem to protect my investment, house, and family. I've talked with the flooring company and one concrete contractor. Here's what I've heard are my options: 1) install a French Drain at the base of the raised foundation (the estimate I got was $8,800!), 2) "Rat Proof" the crawlspace (from what I understand this means laying heavy tarp on the ground and putting a rough layer of concrete on top of it - $2,000), 3) Tack up tarps to the bottom of the substructure, 4) some combination of these. I like to know if any of these will actually work, if there are other options, and what type of professional l should talk to do this work. Also, if a moister barrier is used on top of the sub-floor and underneath the new floor as part of the installation, will this increase the moisture content? I'd greatly appreciate any help this forum could offer.

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