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Commercial Flooring News

Dry Certificates Can Be Almost Worthless

John Roberts on floorlaying in previously flooded premises

IN RECENT months we have had severe flooding across the UK that has caused a considerable amount of stress for home and commercial owners and their properties. No doubt the insurance companies have been inundated with claims.

Normally insurance companies send an assessor followed by a company to dry out the property, eventually issuing a Dry certificate.

My experience of dry certificates is that they are almost worthless to the floorcovering installer as somewhere in the small print they will say that you the retailer, contractor or installer must check that the subfloor is dry. That means you may not be able to go back to these companies if the floor fails due to moisture.

Your client will be pressing to get their property back to a livable / commercial state and as soon as possible. The client will say they have a Dry certificate, so go ahead and install the floorcovering. My advice is to always check for moisture in accordance with British Standards and advice from most manufacturers. Unfortunately, when there has been flooding not only does the subfloor become wet but the walls may also be damp if water gets into the cavities that may not have been considered when drying out a property.

This water / moisture may not immediately be obvious, but if you check the walls at ground level and in a profile upwards it will give an indication if the walls are still wet and at risk. If your moisture tests show there is a risk you should advise your client that further drying should be undertaken.

Also consider the void under suspended floors as these may also not be dry. Dehumidifiers and blowers tend to only dry the surface; pin meters used to test for moisture may indicate the floor is dry, but once it is covered, moisture will be drawn to the surface affecting the stability of the floorcovering.

Your client may wish to proceed with the installation even though you have advised them not to. You then have two choices, walk way or cover yourself against future claims. This means a disclaimer which clearly states the facts, what advice you gave to the client, and why you consider the installation should not be done. Always assess the risks as a disclaimer could be rejected in court.

If in doubt please contact me for moisture surveying of the affected property.

John Roberts is a prominent consultant in flooring trade and founder of TAOFS (The Academy of Flooring Skills) who offers one to one and group training.


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This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at