"Understanding the moisture content of your concrete is a crucial step on any project."
Concrete moisture testing
Over the last 20 years, IFTI has become the leading concrete moisture testing company in North America, conducting concrete moisture tests across the United States and including Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and Canada. Our IFTI-certified concrete moisture test professionals have collected and studied data and feedback from thousands of projects, using that information to develop customized concrete moisture testing solutions to address any situation.
In spite of the significance of flooring in the scope of a project, many design, construction, and building management professionals are unaware of the importance of conducting a concrete moisture test. Whether it’s during pre-installation, when important product decisions are being made, or post installation, when the flooring is not performing as intended, having a proactive moisture testing program in place makes all the difference.
PRE INSTALLATION TESTING
GROUND-UP CONSTRUCTION (NEW SLAB)
Innovations within the construction industry have significantly accelerated the speed at which a building can be built. Projects that used to take years to complete can now be built in a few months. With these accelerated fast-track projects comes the increase in a common construction issue, concrete slab moisture.
There are many variables that will determine how quickly a slab will dry and floor coverings all have different tolerances to moisture, but generally speaking, most fast-track construction today does not allow enough time for the concrete slabs to adequately dry for its intended use. This is why having your concrete slab tested for moisture is a crucial step with any construction project.
Timing is everything.
Several test requirements must be met in order for the moisture test to be valid. IFTI’s certified technicians are experienced professionals who will make sure the tests are performed per these requirements; however, there are also added site conditions that must also be met.
The most commonly overlooked ASTM requirement for moisture testing is the building acclimation requirement. In order for testing to be valid, the tests must be performed during normal operating conditions. For most buildings, this would require that the building be fully enclosed, with an operating HVAC system in place.
Whether you’re the architect, owner, general contractor, or flooring installer, it’s in your best interest to have a concrete slab moisture test performed within the appropriate testing requirements on every construction project.
TENANT-OCCUPIED BUILDING IMPROVEMENTS (EXISTING SLAB)
When a tenant-occupied building is going through a remodel and the flooring will be replaced, concrete moisture testing must be performed to assess the moisture content within the concrete slab prior to a new flooring installation. The requirements for moisture testing do not change based on the age of the slab.
In many cases, concrete slabs over 50 years old have been found to have moisture levels far exceeding the warranty limits of the flooring products to be installed. One might ask, how could a slab that’s been sitting for 50 years still not be dry enough for a proper flooring installation? The top reason for this condition is that the slab has not been properly protected from sub-slab moisture. While the use of a high-grade vapor retarder is considered common practice in today’s construction world, this wasn’t always the standard. In many cases, the vapor retarder was not properly installed, the retarder itself was not of high enough quality to properly protect the slab, or the vapor retarder was not placed to begin with. In any of these scenarios, it’s likely that the slab could have excess moisture that will need to be addressed prior to the installation of flooring.
Because we can’t lift the concrete slab to see what’s going on underneath, moisture testing is a requirement from every major manufacturer of flooring material, regardless of slab age. In addition to concrete moisture testing, IFTI can also pull cores from an existing slab to help identify whether or not a vapor retarder is present under the slab.
REMODELS (FLOOR REPLACEMENT)
Similar to ground-up and tenant improvements, moisture testing is also required when a floor needs to be replaced during a remodel. It may be tempting to skip moisture testing if the existing floor does not appear to be affected by concrete moisture, but this scenario has lead to many costly flooring failures that could have been avoided with moisture testing. That moisture issues aren’t apparent doesn’t mean they aren’t present.
When testing for moisture in a remodel environment, IFTI will work with you to determine the best schedule that allows testing to be performed with little to no impact to the business operations. We can coordinate testing before or after operating hours and strategically place test kits out of sight to customers and store associates.
When scheduling concrete slab moisture testing for a remodel initiative, IFTI will conduct the testing well in advance, allowing you to understand the moisture conditions, budget, and potential costs before the start of the remodel, eliminating last minute change orders.
Whether it’s a single project, or several hundred, IFTI has the capabilities to plan and execute a moisture testing program of any size.
PRE-LEASE AGREEMENT (DUE DILIGENCE TESTING)
It’s common practice to perform some level of due diligence testing prior to signing any lease contract. Given the cost impact of a concrete slab with excessive moisture, it only makes sense to understand the moisture content of the slab during lease negotiations.
Typical lease language requires that the landlord be responsible for the building shell, which includes the concrete slab. Wouldn’t you want to know if that slab is in the appropriate condition to receive your intended floor covering, without any added costs?
IFTI’s floor assessment to identify the moisture condition of the concrete slab will avoid additional unforeseen costs during Tenant Improvement. When problematic conditions are identified, both the tenant and landlord are in a better position to properly plan a solution prior to signing the lease.
RISK ASSESSMENT AND PRODUCT RECOMMENDATIONS
For any of the pre-installation services we provide, our reports can go far beyond just the concrete moisture test results themselves. As experts in our field, we are able to provide risk assessments and product recommendations for just about any project.
Tell us more about your project and we can help determine what concrete slab moisture tests should be performed to ensure you have a successful flooring installation with a warranty in place.
TESTING & INSPECTION SERVICES
CONCRETE MOISTURE TESTING
In the rapidly changing world of commercial flooring, new adhesives, mitigation products, installation methods, and flooring materials, alongside increasing environmental regulations and fast-track construction have created a complex environment in which floor covering products are installed. This creates a demand for professional concrete moisture testing conducted by an experienced independent concrete slab moisture testing company. IFTI’s concrete moisture testing experts are prepared to conduct testing and inspection of commercial sites for any issues related to flooring and concrete.
As the leading professionals in the concrete moisture-testing industry, our experience has led us to the conclusion that the more information learned about any concrete subfloor, the greater the chances for a project’s success.
Pioneering solutions is what we do. Don’t see the service you are looking for? Just ask and we may be able to provide a custom solution. IFTI offers some of the most accurate and innovative testing methods on the market today.
TESTS CONDUCTED BY IFTI
ASTM F1869 Standard Test Method for Measuring Moisture Vapor Emission Rate of Concrete Subfloor Using Anhydrous Calcium Chloride. This test method provides valuable information about how much moisture is being emitted from the surface of the concrete.
This test has been in practice since the 1960’s and is still a recognized test method for most product manufactures today.
This test is conducted by placing a dish of calcium chloride on an abraded concrete surface, then covering the test site with a plastic dome. The test site will remain sealed for 60-72 hours to allow moisture from the surface of the concrete to absorb into the calcium chloride dish. Afterward, the amount of moisture absorbed during the test will measured by calculating the difference in the weight of the dish pre and post-test. The final test result is expressed by pounds of vapor over 1,000 square feet of concrete over a 24 hour period. Product limits for this test can be as low as 3 pounds for very sensitive floor types and as high as 8+ pounds for less sensitive floor coverings.
ASTM F2170 Standard Test Method for Determining Relative Humidity in Concrete Floor Slabs Using in situ Probes.
Testing with this method will provide valuable information about how much moisture is within the concrete. Detection of concrete moisture levels only at the surface of your concrete does not provide an adequate assessment, which is why it typically makes sense to test for relative humidity (RH) in addition to calcium chloride testing.
Relative humidity (RH) testing has been common practice outside the United States since the 1980s. It wasn’t until 2002 that the test became an ASTM recognized test. Since then, much research and field data has been obtained, and today almost all product manufactures recognize this test method for warranty purposes.
This test is conducted by drilling a hole into the body of the concrete and measuring the relative humidity at the bottom of the hole using a probe. A recent update to the ASTM standard has reduced the minimum equilibrium time to 24 hours, making this test more viable in time-sensitive situations.
TESTING & INSPECTION SERVICES
If you are unsure which tests are required for your specific site and products, just give us a call 800-490-3657. We have solution specialists on call that can help determine the specific test necessary for any project.