Moisture—particularly excessive moisture vapor emission—is a small word that can lead to big complications for flooring professionals, building owners and general contractors.
Moisture-related problems with floor coatings have become a costly issue for manufacturers, constructors, owners and installers. These problems are experienced in both new and renovation flooring installation projects.
What Is Moisture Mitigation?
Moisture mitigation refers to eliminating or reducing the effects of moisture that can transfer onto the surface of the floor. Excess moisture in concrete slabs can damage the flooring materials, irrespective of how efficiently the flooring system is installed.
Moisture mitigation is used in industrial, commercial and residential facilities to provide the necessary barrier against moisture mitigation.
Think of it this way: when you put on water resistant gloves to wash a car with a wet sponge, the gloves keep your hands from getting wet thereby acting as a moisture mitigation system.
What Causes Excessive Moisture?
While concrete requires moisture to maintain its strength, excess moisture can create several problems in your building. Moisture vapor pressure can even build up to the point where the adhesive that bonds to concrete slabs fails and attacks the integrity of the floor coating.
Adhesive breakdown caused by moisture vapor emissions in slabs can cost you billions of dollars! Even if the floor coating doesn’t fail, you’re left with an increased risk of mildew and mold growth.
Another common source of moisture is the water sources present below ground, such as nearby lakes, rivers and/or high water tables. In this case, hydrostatic pressure can force moisture vapors upwards and into the concrete substrate. The process is likely to occur more freely if the flooring system uses high porosity concrete slabs.
Additionally, there’s also a possibility for the moisture to migrate laterally into the concrete slab from irrigation systems or rainwater.
Moisture Problems Caused During the Construction Process
Newly constructed concrete flooring is likely to release a lot of moisture vapors due to factors like high water-to-cement ration, free water that didn’t naturally evaporate and lack of moisture mitigation.
If left unaddressed, moisture vapors trapped in the slab can liquefy with the slightest temperature change, leading to problems like buckled wooden floors, detached vinyl floor tiles, bubbling floor coatings or even total flooring failure.
Another reason why flooring installations leave behind increased moisture levels is that most projects are fast-tracked and don’t factor in sufficient time for the concrete slabs to dry. This leads to unsuitable humidity levels for flooring installations.
So, what can you do to avoid having to replace failed flooring systems?
With new construction, professionals are faced with the challenge of designing and constructing moisture mitigation systems. These systems are formulated to seal the concrete slab and are resistant to high alkaline conditions, thereby reducing moisture vapor emissions and damage to flooring materials.
Successful Moisture Mitigation
The first part of a successful moisture mitigation process is proper planning. Before you actually place the concrete slabs, you need to have a plan in place for how you’re going to solve the moisture problem.
Here’s what you can do:
- Most projects simply wait it out, making sure the slabs are properly dried before they carry on with the installation.
- Conduct a moisture test to find out the Relative Humidity (RH) reading on the concrete slabs. Measuring moisture at the surface may not accurately portray the subfloor’s relative humidity, so place the probes at specified depths for a more exact measure.
- Seep out the moisture using a quick drying floor patch.
- Check for cracks post drying.
- Ensure proper shape and size of the slab.
- Pick the right professional for your flooring needs.
Leave your moisture mitigation process in the hands of professionals who know what they’re doing. Here, at CSS Coatings, we provide exceptional services and high quality products that perform reliably for several years.
Get in touch with us today for our moisture mitigation services. We’re also experts in installing state-of-the-art metallic epoxy flooring, concrete finishes and thin mil coatings. We serve multiple locations in the U.S. including, Illinois, Virginia, Missouri, Ohio, etc.