Even if we are not installing your floorcovering, we can handle your moisture issues. We can also perform moisture testing (ICRI Certified.)
Slab Moisture Mitigation: Moisture mitigation is risk mitigation.
Within any facility there are multiple activities taking place, people are hard at work, and most of them are standing, sitting, walking, or working on a floor. While we may not always consider the importance of the floor, imagine trying to operate your business without one. Most flooring will be applied to a concrete slab, whether carpet, resilient, ceramic, wood, or a resinous system. Concrete must have moisture in order to develop and maintain its strength, but excess moisture can create a host of expensive problems in your building, not the least of which is floor covering bond failure. Floor covering bond failures due to slab moisture vapor emissions are estimated to cost over a billion dollars each year. Even if the floor doesn’t fail, there is still an increased risk of mold and mildew growth. So what can we do to avoid having to replace failed systems and shut down businesses in the process? We need to test for moisture and make a business decision.
What can be done to minimize the problem?
- Proper water/cement ratios should be a maximum of 0.42-0.5 w/c (water in excess of 0.25-0.28 is considered “water of convenience” and only assists in placement.)
- The pour should be monitored to prevent additional water from being added during placement.
- Porous aggregates should be avoided (if lightweight aggregates are needed above grade they should have a low porosity.)
- Hard trowelling should be avoided (this can create a thin densified layer on the surface that inhibits adequate drying.)
- Curing should be performed using blankets or sheeting for a minimum of 7 days (curing compounds can inhibit adhesive bond to concrete, slow drying, and may need to be mechanically removed prior to installing floorcoverings or resinous systems adding cost.)
- Curing compounds do not “wear off” as the concrete cures despite claims of some manufacturers.
- The slab should be under roof and conditioned as soon as possible
Despite our best efforts, we cannot control everything that can affect the drying of our slab so how do we know that when we install our floor that the slab is adequately dry? We test it. Testing does not allow for a warranty against moisture related failures, it simply minimizes the risk.
The GC has to get the job done on time, and the owner wants the job done right, early and under budget, and the flooring contractor wants to give you the best installation. Who should be responsible for moisture testing? Testing should be performed by someone who does not have a vested interest in the outcome, a third party who is an ICRI (International Concrete Repair Institute) Certified Tester. This should be outlined in the specifications for the project.
Selecting the Right Moisture Control System
There are a variety of mitigation systems on the market utilizing various prep methods and chemistries. When selecting a system it is important to consider why you are considering that system: solve your immediate installation problem and insure against a potential floorcovering failure. Moisture mitigation is risk mitigation and we all want the best chance of success. Epoxy type mitigation systems have consistently demonstrated superior success rates across the board and are recognized as the “right” way to get it done.
Selecting The Right Contractor to Install your Mitigation System
Like selecting the right product, selecting the right contractor is vital to the success of the system. Remember, this is risk mitigation. You will probably never see the mitigation system, it will be buried beneath layers of floor patch and floor covering. There is no way to know that it was installed incorrectly until it fails.