Failing to factor in curing and drying time for the concrete slab when estimating the target date for occupancy on a construction project creates undue stress on everyone involved. Even when the slab is given adequate consideration in establishing an occupancy timeline, various factors can inhibit the drying process and delay completion of the project.
It’s essential for the contractor on a construction project to understand that pressure from a client to get moved in as soon as possible should never preclude flooring requirements. Installing flooring before the slab is ready should be ruled out as an option for speeding up the move-in date for a structure with a new concrete slab.
Costly litigation over replacement costs for spoiled flooring can be avoided by following effective industry procedures to establish that the concrete moisture has reached the proper level.
The best rule of thumb is to use a reliable moisture meter, following recommended procedures, to determine whether the slab has reached moisture limits for whichever type of flooring is going to be installed. Keep detailed records of the findings.
The moisture testing must take place after the concrete has been allowed to dry for a minimum of 28 days. The testing should be scheduled no less than 1 week and no more than 6 weeks prior to the scheduled flooring installation.
Flooring manufacturers usually indicate the moisture limits which must be met before installation of their products, for the warranty to be honored.
Properly installed flooring can still experience breakdown, unless a structured maintenance plan is in place.
The life of any type of flooring is extended by being kept clean and following manufacturers’ recommendations for proper maintenance.
Health hazards and related lawsuits brought by affected employees can also be avoided by keeping floors adequately maintained.
Carpeting in particular presents many potential health challenges. Carpeting can house bacteria and allergens which affect air quality. The number of sick days can be increased and productivity adversely affected by failing to properly maintain flooring.
Between proper drying of the slab and proper maintenance procedures, flooring has the best chance to meet expectations of durability.