Options to moisture vapor problems in Concrete Substrates?

Moisture-induced problems with flooring materials installed on concrete slabs on ground continue to plague the construction industry. This results in wasted materials, frayed relationships, voided warranties, lawsuits and loss of faith in the contractor working on the project. Please find below the list of options available, when a moisture vapor emission is detected in a concrete slab.

Option 1 – Do not install the floor

The Floor Covering industry at large specifies a maximum vapor transmission of 3.0 pounds over 1,000 square feet in 24 hours for resilient products, and a 5.0 pound maximum transmission for breathable carpeting systems. Emission levels higher than the specified maximum tolerance will result in eventual failure. If the slab vapor transmission distribution exceeds the maximum tolerance for a flooring material then the first option is to simply not to install a floor surface.

Option 2 – Remove & Replace the Concrete

If the slab vapor transmission distribution demonstrates high volume under normal environmental conditions, it is due to the porosity of the concrete. The slab has a permanent condition, and unless treated to correct the problem, then the only way to eliminate it is to replace the slab.

Option 3 – Install a raised access floor system

If the slab vapor transmission distribution is too high for flooring, then a raised floor system can be installed that does not allow the direct contact of flooring to substrate. However, a raised floor system can be installed that does not allow the direct contact of flooring to substrate. However, a raised floor system does not deter the vapor emission from occurring, and can result in water condensing under the floor. This environmental creates a theater for biological growth.

Option 4 – Let the flooring fail

Unfortunately, this is the number one practice. The reasons why people would ignore the data that demonstrates a potential for failure, are many. Sometimes it’s the disbelief that a problem exists. Sometimes it’s the fact that there is no money in the budget to address unexpected problems. Many more times it’s because there was no testing or of tests were performed, the importance of the result was written off as no big deal. The sign off is the worst of these.

This occurs when the flooring contractor has told the owner that their concrete substrate is not in condition for installation. This is not the fault of the flooring contractor who is being conscientious enough to warn the owner of a potential problem. If the owner refuses to correct the condition, the flooring contractor is left with two choices: Refuse to install the material and fight a breach of contract suit, or request the owner of the project sign off the liability for future failure. Either way, it’s a tragic issue.

Option 5 – Correct the problem

If the slab vapor emission distribution is too high for adhered flooring, the substrate in place can be brought into compliance for installation of any type of flooring product or coating. This can be done successfully for a fraction of the cost of replacing the slab or otherwise experiencing an inevitable floor system failure.

It is a well known fact that the time, energy and quality resources you put into your property will be reflected in its value. Protecting that investment begins by choosing the proper installation materials such as Perdure MVT – moisture vapor treatment before the installation of any kind of floor covering. It is a two component epoxy system, minimal odor; low per square foot cost reduces moisture vapor readings ranging from 8-10lbs. It is designed as a negative side moisture vapor retarder to reduce moisture vapor emission through concrete slabs.

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