Avoid repairs after occupancy by paying attention to concrete moisture.
Setting the target date for occupancy on a construction projects is not something to be planned hastily. One of the largest causes of undue stress to everyone involved in the construction process is failing to properly factor in curing and drying time for the concrete slab. Keep in mind that even if the slab is given adequate consideration in establishing an occupancy timeline, several factors can affect the drying process and delay project completion.
If you’re a building owner or manager eagerly awaiting project completion, it can be extremely frustrating when seemingly small issues keep pushing back the occupancy date. But it pays to wait until it’s truly safe to occupy. Installing flooring before a concrete slab is ready often leads to costly litigation over replacement costs for ruined flooring, not to mention the even bigger inconvenience of having to go through repairs while the building is occupied.
Concrete curing and drying is a touchy process that must be correctly measured and considered. Here’s how to make sure these systems play out in the best way possible, making your occupancy process worry-free.
Moisture Content Matters
Avoiding a catastrophic flooring failure can be simple with the right considerations throughout the project. Following recommended procedures for determining the current moisture content of a concrete slab, using a reliable moisture meter, will determine whether the slab has reached moisture limits compatible with whichever flooring type will be installed. Keep detailed recordings of these 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 that need to be met before installation of their products in order for their warranty to be honored.
Resilient flooring generally requires a maximum of approximately 3-5 lbs Per 1000 sq/ft per 24 hours, depending on the type of backing used and whether the flooring is tile or sheeting.
Hardwood, ceramic and rubber flooring also tend to have a 3-5 lb moisture limit.
For carpets and rugs, a maximum of 3 lbs is recommended, unless the type of carpet to be installed is breathable, in which case 5 lbs may be allowable.
Structured Flooring Maintenance Programs
Properly installed flooring can still experience breakdown unless a structured maintenance plan is in place. You can extend the life of any type of flooring by keeping it clean and following manufacturer’s 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 greatly affect air quality. The number of sick days can be increased and productivity affected by improperly maintained flooring.
Play it safe! Between proper drying of the concrete slab and proper flooring maintenance, flooring has the best chance to meet expectations of durability.