Category Archives: Industry News & Views

Le Decepcion Parquett

Not the name of a movie you’d expect to see on SBS, but a post about the time-honoured French artistic method of Le Trompe l’oeil (no, we’d never heard of it either).

That’s French for “deceives the eye”. You’ve seen those street artists who chalk images on the ground where, when viewed from a certain angle, they look like 3D objects bursting out of the ground. Very clever. Ever seen it done with timber flooring?

parquetry image

Our US friends at Hardwood Flooring Mag have come up with story. Check it out here. 

ATFA Flooring and Finishes EXPO VIDEO

Lagler Australia’s Patrick Atherton was cornered during the expo and forced to present a promotional vid thanks to our partners at Spec-Net.

Enjoy it (or not) by clicking on this here link.

Patrick is open for any offers to host TV shows such as GETAWAY or THE AMAZING RACE. (Please, no renovation shows.)

Timber Moisture Stuff

While it’s a particularly damp time of year, especially here in Victoria, the subject of timber moisture and installation has reared its wet head.

If you don’t already own a moisture meter, you should get one. The most common are “electrical resistance” meters, that is, using two pins which need to be inserted into the timber.

However, moisture meters aren’t the beginning and end of the whole thing, as handy as they are. All they do is give you a starting point from which to make the best possible prediction about the timber’s movement in the future.

The key here is to learn about Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC). That is, the standard moisture content at which the timber will be happy, so to speak, in its given environment (the “expected service conditions”). Some regard EMC as a figure which applies to the timber itself,  while others regard EMC as a theoretical figure, representing the building environment, but which timber will approach from its own moisture condition.

Either way, it’s basic science, and how that information is used produces the same result- namely, whether the timber is ready to lay, and what we can expect it to do once it is.

As we will detail a little further down, it’s not hard to work out the EMC once you know the “expected service conditions”.

The challenge is to determine what the expected service conditions will be, and to what level of regularity these conditions will be maintained throughout the life of the floor. When you turn your heaters off at bedtime, you may have noticed that, in terms of temperature and humidity- what’s outside gets in! Or perhaps your customer is an Eskimo, who will have their house constantly running at a soothing 5 deg C and 80% RH while it’s a billion degrees outside. Our apologies to Eskimos.

Here’s some salient points;

1. Timber is generally released from the Mills at a moisture content of between 9-14% and by the time it arrives to the contractor, it’s generally around 10-12.5%. The key word here is “generally”

2.  Floor boards expand with extra moisture, contract with less, and different density boards will expand at different rates. Therefore, if you install boards with a moisture content of 11%, but the EMC is 13%, they will most probably expand.

Tramex have a good pin resistance meter.

The moisture meter is an essential tool, but it only gets you started. The contractor’s biggest challenge is how to interpret the meter’s findings, and use the information to best advise the customer.

Your first stop should be the Bureau of Meteorology  where you can search the weather data on the property’s region, and calculate a yearly mean temperature and RH (RH is very important!).

You must also take into account the kind of air conditioning the customer’s property will utilize, bearing in mind that this, and the outside weather conditions, will influence each other.

Fortunately, the ATFA have published a very useful paper on this subject, Acclimatisation of solid T&G Flooring . Make sure you real the WHOLE thing, but note that it has a useful EMC chart which will tell you what the timber is most likely to do, once you know the property’s “expected service conditions”. We’ve reproduced it here:

(Note that the timber’s EMC is far more influenced by RH than by temperature). Here you will see that, if the property’s expected service conditions are to be 60% RH and 20 degrees, the timber’s EMC will be 11%. If your tests produce readings of around 9-10%, the timber will most likely expand. The ATFA’s resident guru on timber moisture (and lots of other stuff), David Hayward, advises that the timber may never fully reach the EMC figure. However, it is very important to calculate an average temperature and RH scenario for the building- because it changes all the time, therefore so does the EMC.

The ATFA paper will give you an idea of how much, in terms of mm, the boards are likely to expand (what they can’t tell you is how quickly- that will depend on the species).

So, when you hear talk of “acclimatisation”, know that the devil is in the details. So the timber flooring was stacked, with spacers, in the property itself for a whole four weeks prior to install- does this mean it has been properly acclimatised? Not necessarily! The question is, were those four weeks subject to expected service conditions? Equally, timber only left on site for a few days, but moisture tests to within the calculated EMC, may require no acclimatisation at all.

This is, of course, not taking into account other moisture sources, such as the concrete subfloor-that’s another story.

It’s important to make sure your customer know that their timber floor WILL move, that is as inevitable as death, taxes, and Hollywood cliches. But being armed with this information will ensure that you install timber flooring within an acceptable moisture range, and you can all but eliminate the worst timber movement.

Expo Prize Giveaway Quiz- it’s easy!

The Flooring and Finishes with ATFA convention may be run, but our expo prize-giveaway is still going to the end of the month. Get into it!

It’s easy- just go to our website, click on the quiz icon on the home page (pic below) and fill in all the details. The answers to all questions can be found somewhere on the website.


Get ’em right and you’ll have a whopping chance to win a 32″ LCD TV, with built-in PVR.


It all starts on Thursday 19th July, 2012 at Jeff’s Shed (that’s the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre for non-Victorians).

The FLOORING AND FINISHES with ATFA expo is co-located with DECORATION & DESIGN expo, among others.

There will be 80+ companies with a specific focus on flooring design and excellence. See the latest developments in texture, style, colour, industry standards and the like, across a whole spectrum of flooring disciplines.

Held within the expo are a number of seminars of great use to Timber Flooring professionals.

-David Hayward of the ATFA will be speaking on THE CHANGING WORLD OF TIMBER FLOORING
– Peter Eynaud of the AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION (ACCC) will discuss various warranty and liability issues.
– Jacki Mitchell from BRANDSTORM will give us some tips on marketing and branding.

Don’t miss it! For registration details go to, call 1300 656 184 or drop in and see us at Lagler.



Moisture looming

We at Lagler Australia have long been aware that when it comes to moisture testing concrete slabs to avert flooring failures, the goal posts are being moved.

Although it is not directly pertaining to Timber Flooring, Resilient Flooring Standard AS/NZ 1884 is often used or referenced by Timber Flooring stakeholders (manufacturs of flooring or related products such as adhesives etc) for specifications, including moisture testing parameters and methods. AS/NZ 1884 has been under intense review for the last 18 months and is due for release any minute.

A seminar in April 2012, hosted by the Floorcoverings Association of Victoria (FAV) and the Concrete Institute of Australia (CIA), declared that AS/NZ 1884 will dispense with MOISTURE CONTENT as an acceptable parameter and stipulate RELATIVE HUMIDITY (RH) as the industry-accepted indice for moisture measurement. It was also announced that the standard would reference American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F2170 and F2420, which are the standards on HOW the testing is to be performed.

(Photo courtesty of Peter Craig, Concrete Constructives USA)

The good news is that all of the most comprehensive studies and industry R & D concludes that RH as the best measurement to predict whether a floor will fail or not as a result of moisture migration. So it WILL help reduce failures and resulting remedial nightmares.

The bad news is that moisture testing now becomes more complex and involved.

Over a series of blog posts we will attempt to provide as much detail as possible about the changes. Please note we will not attempt to provide comprehensive advice on how to test- this is up to contractors to examine the applicable standards, which are ultimately the “law” on the issue. However, we will give an overview of the methods AND go back to school on why moisture matters, and what the associated liabilities are.

Federal Budget

The Federal Budget was released this week. Here’s the Canberra spin version:

What does it mean for the Timber Flooring Industry? In a nutshell*, not so great for companies, but some perks for small business.

1. Company Tax: The Feds promised to reduce company tax rate by 1%, and this promise has been scrapped.

2. Loss Carry Back: Companies will be able to carry back-tax losses (to a limit of $1m)  as far as two years. In short this means that if they’ve made profits sometime in the last two years, but make a loss next year, they are eligible for a refund of a proportion of the tax previously paid.

3. Tax breaks for small business: Not expansive tax breaks, but a break on depreciating assets. Any assett worth under $6500 can be fully written off with the total amount reducing the taxable income. New or used motor vehicles will draw an immediate write-off deduction of $5000. If you were thinking of buying a company vehicle, perhaps hold off until after July 1.

The spin doctors say these breaks will “support productivity and promote employment“.  We sure hope so. Some might feel that, while these tax breaks are good, they are a smidgeon of what should have been done several years ago, in the place of stimulus handouts for Plasma TVs and pink batts. Still, it will take the sting out of what may be a tight year for small business and the construction industry…

*NOT financial advice! Consult your business accountant.