A Guide to Flooring Moisture Problems IFTI

A Guide to Flooring Moisture Problems IFTI

A Guide to Flooring Moisture Problems

This document was prepared as a survey on what most flooring manufacturers, organizations, and experts say about the problem of flooring failures caused by high concrete moisture vapor emission.

Moisture vapor in concrete has always presented a problem for glue-down flooring systems and the delamination of flooring due to moisture has cost architects, contractors, flooring contractors, and building owners untold millions.

The chances of bond-failure can be greatly minimized by conducting a proper moisture test prior to flooring installation. The majority of the flooring industry recognizes a calcium chloride test for measuring concrete moisture vapor emissions prior to installation. Including this test in all flooring specifications will reduce your exposure to liability.

The following pages outline the problem, the test procedure, and cite the limitations on moisture emissions by a number of major flooring manufacturers, industry experts, and organizations responsible for specifications.

«Moisture has been causing floor covering installers problems since the beginning of time. Many new floor coverings stop or slow the transmission of moisture moving upward through the slab. Water vapor conditions. can exist for years without causing problems in places where the slab has never been covered with a floor that allowed moisture to pass through. If you install a new floor that traps moisture, there’s trouble ahead!»

Mr. Joe Grady

National Market Development Manager

The W W. Henry Company

«Moisture related failures of resilient floor coverings installed over concrete have focused unfairly over the years on the premise that the product itself is at fault or the flooring contractor, perhaps, did not install the product correctly. Moisture and alkali can cause the following problems AFTER installation:

1.Adhesive deterioration.

2.Bumps, ridges, or bubbles.

3.Color changes.

4.Mold, mildew, or bacteria growth.

5.Efflorescense (alkali build-up at tile joints).

6.Tile peaking or curling.

Any of these conditions could occur at any time after installation if a moisture condition is present.»

The Resilient Floor Covering Institute

«All concrete subfloors on and below grade should be tested for moisture. A dusty concrete floor on or below grade can be a sign of alkali salts, and a moisture test should be run. The alkaline salts in solution with moisture, which exude from drying cement or which work their way up from the earth in concrete on and below grade, have, in addition to deteriorating effects, a tendency to prevent or destroy satisfactory bonding of adhesives by sheer physical displacement or to leave unsightly salt deposits at the seams of sheet materials and joints of tiles. Excessive amounts of ground moisture can, of course, create problems for on- and below grade areas of commercial and residential buildings over and beyond those relating to the installation and use of resilient flooring.»

«The Resilient Floor Covering Institute subscribes to the use of the Rubber Manufacturers Association moisture test method. It has been widely used and accepted by the flooring industry since the early 1950’s and quantitatively measures the rate of moisture transmission through a concrete slab.»

Armstrong World Industries

The Rubber Manufacturers Association

«. the moisture specification shall be that the emission of moisture vapor from the (concrete) floor shall not be more than 3.0 pounds per 1,000 square feet per 24 hours. If a concrete underfloor, tested with this unit in accordance with directions, meets the stated conditions and specifications, rubber and solid vinyl flooring may be installed satisfactorily. «

Western Floor Covering Institute

«The Western Floor Covering Institute cites in their guidelines a number of testing methodologies and specifically cites the Rubber Manufacturers Association test and limitation for any flooring installation at 3.0 pounds per 1,000 square feet per 24 hours using a calcium chloride test.»

A Guide to Flooring Moisture Problems

This document was prepared as a survey on what most flooring manufacturers, organizations, and experts say about the problem of flooring failures caused by high concrete moisture vapor emission.

Moisture vapor in concrete has always presented a problem for glue-down flooring systems and the delamination of flooring due to moisture has cost architects, contractors, flooring contractors, and building owners untold millions.

The chances of bond-failure can be greatly minimized by conducting a proper moisture test prior to flooring installation. The majority of the flooring industry recognizes a calcium chloride test for measuring concrete moisture vapor emissions prior to installation. Including this test in all flooring specifications will reduce your exposure to liability.

The following pages outline the problem, the test procedure, and cite the limitations on moisture emissions by a number of major flooring manufacturers, industry experts, and organizations responsible for specifications.

«Moisture has been causing floor covering installers problems since the beginning of time. Many new floor coverings stop or slow the transmission of moisture moving upward through the slab. Water vapor conditions. can exist for years without causing problems in places where the slab has never been covered with a floor that allowed moisture to pass through. If you install a new floor that traps moisture, there’s trouble ahead!»

Mr. Joe Grady

National Market Development Manager

The W W. Henry Company

«Moisture related failures of resilient floor coverings installed over concrete have focused unfairly over the years on the premise that the product itself is at fault or the flooring contractor, perhaps, did not install the product correctly. Moisture and alkali can cause the following problems AFTER installation:

1.Adhesive deterioration.

2.Bumps, ridges, or bubbles.

3.Color changes.

4.Mold, mildew, or bacteria growth.

5.Efflorescense (alkali build-up at tile joints).

6.Tile peaking or curling.

Any of these conditions could occur at any time after installation if a moisture condition is present.»

The Resilient Floor Covering Institute

«All concrete subfloors on and below grade should be tested for moisture. A dusty concrete floor on or below grade can be a sign of alkali salts, and a moisture test should be run. The alkaline salts in solution with moisture, which exude from drying cement or which work their way up from the earth in concrete on and below grade, have, in addition to deteriorating effects, a tendency to prevent or destroy satisfactory bonding of adhesives by sheer physical displacement or to leave unsightly salt deposits at the seams of sheet materials and joints of tiles. Excessive amounts of ground moisture can, of course, create problems for on- and below grade areas of commercial and residential buildings over and beyond those relating to the installation and use of resilient flooring.»

«The Resilient Floor Covering Institute subscribes to the use of the Rubber Manufacturers Association moisture test method. It has been widely used and accepted by the flooring industry since the early 1950’s and quantitatively measures the rate of moisture transmission through a concrete slab.»

Armstrong World Industries

The Rubber Manufacturers Association

«. the moisture specification shall be that the emission of moisture vapor from the (concrete) floor shall not be more than 3.0 pounds per 1,000 square feet per 24 hours. If a concrete underfloor, tested with this unit in accordance with directions, meets the stated conditions and specifications, rubber and solid vinyl flooring may be installed satisfactorily. «

Western Floor Covering Institute

«The Western Floor Covering Institute cites in their guidelines a number of testing methodologies and specifically cites the Rubber Manufacturers Association test and limitation for any flooring installation at 3.0 pounds per 1,000 square feet per 24 hours using a calcium chloride test.»


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