Floor Talk With Wayne Highlander

How To Be More Professional

Just before coming to work for Galleher, I went to the N.W.F.A. Certified Professional Inspector School. I wanted to further my own knowledge in the industry. I hope that through this post this information can potentially help a customer to avoid sticky situations. There is a Standard of Professional Conduct that inspectors must sign and abide to. Among the many rules, one is, “To inspect wood flooring honestly, responsibly and in an unbiased manner, and issue inspection reports only on flooring that you have personally inspected.”As I sat through this class, two thoughts ran through my mind. First, I wish I could have taken this class twenty years ago. Second, I wish every floorman in this industry could take this class as well. It was probably the best class I have ever attended with the N.W.F.A.

That being said, I would like to share some things I have learned. I could go on for a week, but here are just a few:

Keep Records
As contractors, we wear a lot of hats and sometimes neglect record keeping. Good record keeping is critical. Take your moisture readings on the subfloor in multiple areas – the N.W.F.A. recommends at least 40 boards per 1000 sq. ft. – as well as the wood flooring itself. Write down the moisture content of the subfloor, in addition to the relative humidity. Take a picture of the trowel you used. Take pictures of anything relevant and add it to your files. If you don’t have records, you put yourself at a great disadvantage should you go to court.

Measure moisture
Moisture is responsible for 90% of floor problems. Invest in a good moisture meter. I think a pin moisture meter with insulated pins is a must. The readings come only from the exposed tips so it can measure moisture accurately at different depths. Be prepared to answer questions, such as when it was last calibrated.

So many times I hear people say, “We let it sit for 2 weeks!” Acclimation is not just a time factor. Be aware that wood can also be acclimated off site if jobsite conditions are not favorable. Take the time to really understand the effects of acclimation, moisture and relative humidity.

Know the guidelines
The N.W.F.A. has both installation and sand and finish guidelines (now in Spanish too). It is a wise investment to know the literature.

If you have a floor that is being inspected, it is best to cooperate with the inspector if he calls to ask you questions. This professional conversation can be extremely beneficial.

Be aware that if you call for an inspection by an N.W.F.A. certified inspector, you may never get the conclusive answer you’re looking for. There may not be one. Don’t be of the mindset that an inspector is there to help you. An inspector’s role is to draw conclusions based on testing, observation and related industry standards.

Well, I hope this knowledge will be of some value to you as well!

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