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29 May 2020 by Forte
Timber Flooring in Wet Areas
According to the New Zealand building code (NZBC), wet areas are spaces that contain sanitary fixtures or appliances, including laundries, bathrooms, kitchens and toilets. The code recommends that an impervious (watertight) floor coverings are used in wet areas however owners are at liberty to install floor coverings of their choice. Timber flooring - whether solid or engineered - is not an impervious (watertight) surface, however, steps can be taken towards making timber flooring impervious and together with the correct procedures being followed, it is entirely possible for Forté timber flooring to adequately perform in a wet area.
The NZ building code includes kitchens in the list of 'wet areas', however we find that kitchens are not typically very wet or humid or areas, and are usually perfectly compatible for installing timber flooring. Timber flooring is less commonly used in wet areas such as bathrooms and laundries due to higher humidity levels and the likelihood of flooding or spills in these rooms.
Factors to Consider
• Timber flooring in wet areas (particularly bathrooms) will require certain vigilant attention and care. Spills or surface water must be wiped up within one hour and the room must be well ventilated at all times, with humidity levels kept in accordance with the care instructions.
• If any area is likely to have regular splashes or puddles of water on it for periods of time, we would advise against installing timber flooring in that area. For example, if you have young children or family members who are likely to splash bath water onto the timber flooring it may be wise not to install timber flooring in that area.
• If you have older appliances such as dishwashers or washing machines that are prone to leaking we would strongly advise against installing timber flooring in those areas.
• The surface coating of timber flooring in a wet area is likely to need refinishing more often than in other areas as exposure to moisture on a regular basis can cause the surface coating to wear faster.
• It is wise to check with your insurance company if they will cover timber flooring in the areas you are planning to install.
Guidelines for Installing Timber Flooring in a Wet Area
Should you wish to install Forté timber flooring in a wet area, you must be prepared to adhere to the guidelines and precautions outlined below. Forté shall take no responsibility for any water or moisture-related damage sustained by timber flooring installed in a wet area.
In all wet areas:
• You must only install a Forté timber floor with a lacquer finish
• The substrate must meet the requirements of the NZ Building Code
• The flooring must be correctly installed, with no large gaps between planks
• The room must be well ventilated at all times, we recommend installing an extractor fan
• Humidity levels must be kept in accordance with the care instructions
• The perimeter of the flooring should be sealed with waterproof silicone
• The joints between the timber flooring planks should be sealed with Unika Clic-seal or a waterproof PVA glue
• Any spills or surface water on the timber flooring should be wiped up within one hour to avoid damage
Around baths and showers:
• It is a good idea to install a wide strip of tiles around bath and shower areas to protect the timber flooring from the majority of splashes or puddles. Spills or surface water should not be allowed to run onto the flooring.
• Should you choose to install timber flooring directly next to a shower, the shower should have a proper base and door with a seal - water must not be allowed to run onto the flooring.
• Should you choose to install timber flooring directly under or next to a bath, splashes and any water outside of the bath should be kept to a minimum. Any spills or surface water must be wiped up within one hour.
• In any areas directly next to showers or baths, an absorbent bath mat is highly recommended. The bath mat should be hung up to dry directly after use (not left sitting on the floor when wet).
• The surface coating of timber flooring in wet areas is likely to need refinishing more regularly than in non-wet areas, as exposure to water or moisture on a regular basis can cause the surface coating to wear faster. For advice on refinishing please contact us.
• If the above guidelines are not followed it could result in irreparable damage to the timber floor
• In the event of a serious leak or a flood, it is likely that the timber flooring will sustain permanent damage
• Our structural warranty is valid on Forté flooring in wet areas, however we shall not be held responsible for any water or moisture-related damage sustained by our timber flooring
Should you have any questions or concerns about installing timber flooring in a wet area, we recommend speaking to one of our technical advisors on 0508 35 66 77.