HAVE you ever been to visit a customer complaint and known from experience that the damages you’re seeing are owing to temperature or humidity issues? This is probably the largest source of problems with wood floors and is often outside your control. How do you prove the cause of the problem to a customer so they understand that this isn’t your fault?
Says Jonathan Burch at Humidity Devices: ‘The Fidbox can help you. It’s an innovative temperature and humidity measuring device that fits rebated within the underside of a timber floor. It logs the temperature and humidity measurements of the floor and subfloor. The readings can be readout wirelessly to enable you to see exactly what’s happened to a floor over its lifetime. This data allows you to diagnose what’s happened to the floor and share this information with your customers which makes conversations fact-based rather than just opinions.’
The Fidbox was developed by the largest flooring company in Austria after the owner was frustrated that he was having the same problems time and again, and wasn’t able to prove why things had gone wrong, explains Jonathan. ‘He set out to develop a product that would give him all the information about what had happened to his wood floor since it was installed. He wanted to develop a product that needed no technical skill from the installer and was really simple to read. After six generations of design, and the ubiquity of smartphone apps this has been achieved.’
Initially the Fidboxes were developed just for his own use, however as people began to find out about the benefits the Fidboxes they began to be sold to other companies worldwide, says Jonathan. ‘One of the earliest adopters in the UK was Weldon Flooring who worked on some of the most prestigious flooring installations including royal palaces in the UK and worldwide for very demanding clients. Weldon was granted two royal warrants for its work.’
When Jonathan left Weldon he set up Humidity Devices to spread the word about the Fidbox in the UK. He says: ‘The Fidbox is now a standard specified item on many of the larger London developments such as the Battersea Power Station residential redevelopment, where they are fitted in more than a thousand apartments. Major wood flooring suppliers are also requiring the Fidbox to be fitted for warranties to be offered on their floors when fitted over underfloor heating.’
Jonathan continues: ‘The Fidbox is proving to be also very effective at preventing problems happening in the first place. There’s an old adage that if you can’t measure something you can’t manage it. There are often numerous people involved in a wood floor installation, from wood floor supplier, building contractor, installer, UFH installer, client. Each of these people can cause issues for a wood floor if they don’t do what they’re advised to do. One benefit of a Fidbox is that if each of those people know the Fidbox will record their actions then they tend to do what they’re advised to do rather than what might be convenient at the time. This means builders won’t push to install in unsuitable conditions, UFH installers don’t overheat floors when they commission them, and clients don’t overheat, or over-wash their floors. If all these common issues are avoided then it’s much less likely for problems to occur later.’
As all experienced wood flooring installers and suppliers know, controlling the moisture content of their floors is one of the most important aspects for ensuring the floors they supply and install have long trouble-free lives. ‘The Fidbox is an excellent tool to be able to reduce the risks, and produce the evidence if things do go wrong,’ Jonathan concludes.