If your plan is to fit a new solid wood or engineered hardwood flooring, it's essential, before you lay the floor to discover in the event that you need to lay a damp proof membrane (DPM). Dampness and moisture may play havoc with hardwood floors and there is little point in investing time and money necessary to put in a new floor over what might already, or what could potentially end up a damp subfloor.
So just what is a damp proof membrane (DPM) used for? Effectively, a damp proof membrane (DPM) can be used to make a barrier between a concrete (or screed) subfloor and a hardwood flooring. This barrier is intended to prevent moisture passing from one to the other. Damp proof membranes (DPMs) may be used to help resolve damp problems which already exist or to prevent damp or moisture issues later on.
How do you decide if you may have to incorporate a damp proof membrane (DPM) on your new wood flooring job? Before you lay a wood floor on a concrete or screed subfloor, it's really important to assess the moisture content of the sub floor. Even though there are a few distinct DIY tests you can use to determine the moisture content of your subfloor (eg. The Calcium Chloride Test and The Plastic Film Test), the most dependable results are likely to be achieved using a licensed, hand-held moisture meter. That said, should you decide to assess the moisture yourself, do be sure the meter you're using has been tested and that you're taking adequate and precise readings, otherwise your results might be completely meaningless.
If you are having your floor professionally installed, it is more than likely that your hardwood floors fitter will measure the moisture content of your subfloor for you. But even when it comes to specialist installers, do not just assume that the will examine the moisture content of your subfloor, it's important to make certain they will. In reality, in case your fitter does not mention measuring moisture content as part of the installation procedure, it might be the alarm bells should start ringing in your head!
Though adequate moisture content guidelines vary, broadly , when the moisture content of your subfloor is over the manufacturers guidelines to your chosen floor, you are more than likely going to be obliged to put a damp proof membrane (DPM). Only by doing so are you sure to stop moisture passage and moist problems. In some instances, even if the moisture content is lower than the suggested level, you might still need to look at investing in a damp proof membrane (DPM) to avoid the chance of future damp issues.