Before you do a flooring install, ask for the latest moisture reading (or conduct your own test).
Excess moisture in concrete slabs is a primary cause of flooring catastrophe. The problem is completely avoidable, yet billions of dollars are spent annually fixing these types of mishaps.
When flooring fails, damages are incurred for downtime, repair, and replacement. This problem isn’t geographical in nature nor limited to humid climates. This is a widespread issue triggered by improper construction planning and scheduling.
Flooring problems are often the results of failure in accomplishing the following:
- Geotechnical survey to identify environmental sources of water on the site
- Establish adequate preparation underneath the concrete, such as the use of capillary breaks, moisture retarders, and sufficient drainage
- Accurate concrete specifications with a low water-to-cement ratio
- Proper wet curing of the slab
- Adequate drying time for the slab
- Moisture testing and proper report filing before installation of any floor covering or coating
When the above steps aren’t sufficiently completed, here’s what you may be in for:
- Adhesive breakdown of finished floor coverings
- Debonding of coatings
- Osmotic blisters of epoxy systems, including coatings and epoxy terrazzo
- High pH (alkali) attack of floor finishes
- Microbial growths
- Flooring expansion, such as cupping of wood planks or strips
Warranties on many types of flooring are conditional upon the concrete slab being properly cured and cleaned. Most manufacturers of flooring stipulate that warranties can be voided if moisture tests are not conducted on the slab before installing their products.
Concrete Moisture Testing Methods
There are many types of tests used to determine the moisture content in concrete, such as the calcium chloride test, which is widely used for measuring dynamic moisture. The calcium chloride test has been used in the construction industry for decades—but it is an inferior method as compared to the use of the latest technology in moisture meters.
Many methods for obtaining concrete moisture readings measure surface humidity and not the dynamic moisture condition of the slab. The moisture in concrete slowly migrates to the surface, and the best way to get a reliable reading which takes migrating moisture into account is a relative humidity (RH) test.
It is clear that using the most accurate means available for determining the moisture content in the slab is essential. Failing to get an accurate measure of the moisture level in the concrete can lead to premature installation of the flooring, which may results in a flooring failure.
The most reliable RH test, which provides dependable readings and is superior to all other humidity measurement systems on the market, is the Rapid RH 4.0 system. This cost-effective method can ultimately save thousands of dollars in the repair and litigation, not to mention inconvenience, that results from acting on an inaccurate reading of the moisture content in the concrete slab.
When flooring installation is delayed, awaiting proper moisture levels in the slab, the advanced technology of Rapid RH 4.0 simplifies the process of monitoring the moisture levels in the slab. Once the Rapid RH 4.0 sensors are properly installed in the slab, anyone on the construction site can obtain the current moisture readings.
Are you willing to sacrifice certainly of slab moisture content in order to rush flooring installation? Be a savvy installer and make sure to insist on a relative humidity sensor reading.