After a flood, you need to be able to determine which walls and floors are really wet and which ones aren't. While their surfaces may look dry, they can be wet underneath. To accurately determine the moisture level of building materials, you must use a moisture meter.
To accurately determine the amount of moisture in a specific building materials such as wood, drywall or concrete, there are several types of moisture meters that you can use. Some of these are so-called "destructive" meters, that use metal probes which actually penetrate the surface of the material being measured. While this is fine for hidden studs, behind the walls, these meters can make marks on the surface of the walls. This is why I used "non-destructive" moisture meters.
Non-destructive moisture meters work just like electronic stud finders and they display the amount of moisture in the material while you move the meter over the surface. No damage occurs to the surface and you can immediately determine the amount of moisture in the material.
I used both the Tramex Survey Encounter and the Tramex Moisture Encounter models and they worked quite well. These two models differ in price and technological sophistication. The Moisture Encounter is an analog device with 3 different material settings, while the Survey Encounter is a completely digital device with over a dozen buttons.
For me, the easiest unit to use, by far, is the Tramex Moisture Encounter. The display is bright (white painted meter) and very easy to understand! When you need to search an area to find where a wet area starts and ends, watching the changes in meter movement is much easier than trying to interpret the numerical differences in a digital readout. The Moisture Encounter's display is easy to read in nearly any light condition. You may need a flashlight or head-mounted light in non-perfect lighting conditions to read the Tramex Survey Encounter .
The Survey Encounter is more suited for someone who needs to create documentation of very specific areas, generally on a continual basis, since it is far easier to let the Survey Encounter "write the readings down for you" which can then be quickly downloaded to your Windows PC.
Since the Moisture Encounter is nearly half the price of a Survey Encounter, I would have to pick it as a required tool for anyone working with building materials that could be wet. However, if the Survey Encounter had a backlit display, along with a digital bar graph display, to more easily view "moisture levels", the Survey Encounter would be the perfect moisture meter.
Both the Tramex Moisture Encounter and Tramex Survey Encounter are great units. If you are mostly "exploring" for moisture and don't need to continually track moisture "data" - the Moisture Encounter would be the perfect choice.
If you need to make critical measurements over time, the Survey Encounter is your choice, in spite of the non-backlit display. To find moisture "areas", use a Moisture Encounter to quickly find the moisture and use the Survey Encounter to capture and record the data. (I am told that most Survey Encounter owners also own the Moisture Encounter.)
I also feel that a moisture meter is required for anyone who is doing any type of construction work and the Moisture Encounter is a great choice. While the Moisture Encounter might be a tad expensive for a consumer to buy for a single project, it is far easier and cheaper to check for wet building materials before they become part of a structure being built or remodeled, instead of dealing with the resulting problems when wet materials are used.
Are you or your contractor using a moisture meter before any construction?
© 2002 Rick Smith All rights reserved.