Concrete Moisture Testing

If you currently have installed floor covering over the top of a concrete slab, you may be surprised to know that virtually all flooring manufacturers require that the concrete slab be tested for posible moisture issues prior to the installation of the flooring material. This type of moisture testing is considerably different, and more expensive, than testing the moisture content of a wood sub-floor.

 

Moisture emissions from concrete floor slabs can significantly affect performance of virtually all flooring systems. Most, if not all, manufacturers require moisture testing to be performed before the installation of their product begins. Excessive moisture from floor slabs can cause failures such as de-bonding, delamination and deterioration of the flooring and allow for microbial growth.

 

All concrete subfloors emit some amount of moisture in vapor form. Concrete moisture emission is a natural process affected and driven by environmental conditions. All floor coverings are susceptible to failure from excessive moisture vapor emissions. There are two types of specified concrete moisture testing protocols that are in use today. Below is the basic information explaining each.

 

ASTM F-1869 Calcium Chloride Moisture Vapor Emission Rate Testing

This test method is used to obtain the quantitative value indicating the rate of moisture vapor emission from the surface of a concrete floor. The indicated value will determine whether or not the floor is acceptable to receive resilient floor covering. This test only reflects the condition of the concrete floor at the time of the test.  In this test, the moisture vapor emitted from a concrete slab is measured in pounds. The measurement is the equivalent weight of water evaporating from 1000 square feet of a concrete surface in a 24 hour test period. This test has been the industry standard for decades and will produce quantified results directly applicable to flooring manufacturer's specifications. It's important to note that the results of this test only reflect the condition of the concrete surface at the time the test was performed and do not guarantee any future conditions or results.

 

The test kits for this type of test are reasonably inexpensive. However, this test requires three separate visits to the jobsite.

 

 

ASTM F-2170 Standard Test Method for Determining Relative Humidity in Concrete Floor Slabs Using in-situ Probes

This test method covers the quantitative determination of percent relative humidity in concrete slabs for field tests. Unlike the aforementioned Calcium Chloride test that measures vapor emission, this test measures the relative humidity (RH) within the slab using in-situ (Latin for "in its place") probes. Relative humidity within a  slab fluctuates with environmental changes such as high ambient humidity.  The testing procedure requires the drilling of specific size holes to specific depths, based on the thickness of the slab. It's important to note that the results of this test only reflect the condition of the concrete surface at the time the test was performed and do not guarantee any future conditions or results. It's important to note that, like Calcium Chloride test, the results of this test only reflect the condition of the concrete surface at the time the test was performed and do not guarantee any future conditions or results.

 

The test kits for this type of test are more expensive than the F-1869 Calcium Chloride test. However, this test requires less visits to the jobsite.

 

 

 

A third test generally required by virtually all manufactures requires the testing of the pH of the surface of the concrete slab.

 

ASTM F-710 Standard Practice for Preparing Concrete Floors to Receive Resilient Flooring

This practice covers the procedure for determining the acceptability of concrete floors for the installation of resilient flooring. It also includes suggestions for ensuring that the constructed concrete floor is acceptable for such installations but does not cover tests for adequacy of the concrete floor to perform structural requirements. A permanent, effective moisture vapor retarder, of the specified thickness and permeance, is required under all on- or below-grade concrete floors. Concrete floors for resilient floorings should be permanently dry, clean, smooth, structurally sound, and free of substances that may prevent adhesive bonding. Surface cracks, grooves, depression, control joints or other non-moving joints, and other irregularities should be filled or smoothed with latex patching or a recommended underlayment compound. The surface of the floor should be cleaned by scraping, brushing, vacuuming, or any other method. All concrete slabs should be tested for moisture regardless of age or grade level while all concrete floors should be tested for pH before installing resilient flooring.

 

Summary

The number of tests required per job is based on the total size of the area to receive the flooring. Three individual testing sites are required for the first 1,000 square feet of area, with one additional test site for each 1,000 square feet thereafter. A 900 SF job would require 3 testing sites. An 1800 SF area would require four testing sites. Our recommendation is to have all three test types done per testing site.

 

WARNING - There is a growing number of national companies who are suggesting that the ASTM standards are excessive, relative to the number of test sites required. They are selling "Sampling Tests" whereby they or their subcontractors perform a smaller percentage of tests rather than the amount required by ASTM standards. Then they give you a report as though it is actually worth something. Should an area show potential water issues, they may recommend a more complete testing. Here's the problem with that- First and foremost, there is no standard for this type of testing. If they miss an area that has water issues, there are potentially serious problems. So here is the $64,000 question - what happens if your floor fails in an area that wasn't tested? We can't answer that question. Neither can the companies who offer this sub-standard approach. It will most likely cost tens of thousands of dollars to litigate, but the judge or jury will answer it at some point.

Price List

Complete Slab Evaluation

    This testing includes the ASTM F-1869 Calcium Chloride Moisture Vapor Emission Rate Testing, ASTM F-2170 Standard Test Method for Determining

    Relative Humidity in Concrete Floor Slabs Using in-situ Probes and pH testing per the ASTM F-710 Standard Practice for Preparing Concrete Floors to

    Receive Resilient Flooring.

 

Size of area to receive floor covering:

    Up to 1,000 Square Feet ...........................................................................................................................................................................................$500.00

    Up to 2,000 Square Feet ...........................................................................................................................................................................................$635.00

    Up to 3,000 Square Feet ...........................................................................................................................................................................................$770.00

    Up to 4,000 Square Feet ...........................................................................................................................................................................................$905.00

    Up to 5,000 Square Feet ........................................................................................................................................................................................$1,040.00

    Up to 6,000 Square Feet ........................................................................................................................................................................................$1,175.00

    Up to 7,000 Square Feet ........................................................................................................................................................................................$1,310.00

    Up to 8,000 Square Feet ........................................................................................................................................................................................$1,445.00

    Up to 9,000 Square Feet ........................................................................................................................................................................................$1,580.00

    Up to 10,000 Square Feet ......................................................................................................................................................................................$1,715.00

    Over 10,000 Square Feet ..............................................................................................................................................................................Call for Quote

 

Miscellaneous Charges

    Mileage from Bloomington, IL ..........(per mile).....................................................................................................................................................  $0.56
   
 Other applicable expenses such as airfare, hotel, parking fees, tolls, phone charges, postage, handling, etc.  .................................Actual cost

    

 

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