drying out the basement


Some questions:

1. Should I be running the dehumidifiers ?

2. Do you think there’s any chance we can dry this floor by the 4th of July?

3. The house is empty, do you think we’re crazy to move in if we can dry the floors, or should we redo the floors (which I really don’t think we can afford right now….. this has only been one part of an entire home renovation) even if it takes a month or so?

4. We used a contractor who did all the work on our house, the place looks beatiful and he’s done incredile work, except for the floor! Any advise? He also promised we’d be in by the end of May and here a week before this huge party we’ve been planning for 3 months (100 people) we’re still not in…….


Dear Rich

Sure you can run the dehumidifiers but only in the basement. If you have no basement just use the AC. If the floor was laid on a concrete slab, well, I’ve got another article about that, let me know if you want to see this. I’m trying to give you access to all the info you need. Yes, there is a chance if what you say is true, and the floor seems to be drying a bit on it’s own, and you get the temp to 70F and plenty of air movement and ventilation. Too bad you listened to others, because the high temp has caused part of the problem. So, if the floor finish begins to harden in a few days you might chance moving in. You probably have to remove all the finish anyway, so you might plan this when you’re on vacation sometime a year or so from now. If you can afford a holiday that is. Or go to grandma’s.

But you’d be doing the floor a favor and taking the stress off yourself by cancelling the party. This is just way too much stress for a non cured finish and will even more of a mess of the whole floor. Rent a hall and charge a door fee if you must have a party. Part of the secret of having a life is to do LESS and enjoy each day MORE.

The contractor’s sub (the floor guy) is totally responsible for this fiasco. So this guy I’m sure will want to come back and resand, recoat, or chemically strip the floor so that it’s looks right. I’m much in favor of the chemical stripping because no dust is made and no wear layer of the floor is removed in the process. It’s expensive, and time consuming but works well in this sort of situation, where you have to live through the job. This of course should be done at the contractors expense. He can use semi-skilled labor to do this task. It’s not hard to do.

Oh, and one would only use high heat if this job was done in the middle of heating season. Now, in this humidity, it’s another matter altogether. Funny everybody seems to have pat answers for every wood floor problem. I have yet to be stumped on 4000 questions so far. I assume every problem is unique. No FAQ’s here.

And it’s hard for most contractors to tell when the stain and each coat of finish is fully dry and ready to accept another coat. It’s a very common problem in this business. The directions on the finish can labels are written by the marketing guys. They state overly optimistic dry times. They never want to warn you of problems, because you will just buy the next brand that states that their finish has no problems. The company chemists (who I can talk to) tell me a different story, and you will find this pertinent info all throughout this web site. We go way beyond the industry standard.

Any more questions you may have on this subject or clarifications of your original question feel free to write again at no cost. I hope you have enjoyed this personal service, real human responses are the best.

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As always your Most humble servant, Joseph, the Wood Floor Doctor.-