Does my concrete floor really need a professional moisture test?

Posted by Jamie Gillespie on Jan 27, 2017, 7:27:00 AM

concrete for moisture test.jpgPreviously on our blog, we’ve discussed some of the workplace safety hazards that damp concrete floors can pose, including the risk of slipping accidents and respiratory issues caused by mold.

If you’ve noticed your facility’s concrete floors are wet or damp in the morning, there are a couple of potential causes. The moisture could merely be condensation resulting from temperature differences between the air and the concrete. However, the moisture could actually be coming from the concrete itself—either as a byproduct of the curing process, or as vapor from the ground works its way up through the porous floor. (For a fuller explanation, see our recent post Why is our facility’s concrete floor wet?)

The solutions for these two causes are very different: the first involves creating better climate control, while the second may require installing a vapor barrier or a moisture-blocking floor coating.

If you’re thinking about putting down a new floor coating for aesthetic or safety reasons, it’s very important to know which problem you’re dealing with. Untreated moisture vapor issues can cause your new coating to peel up shortly after installation, wasting both your time and your money.   

The limits of DIY tests

If you Google “concrete moisture test,” you’re likely to come upon a do-it-yourself method of moisture testing that involves duct taping a plastic sheet onto the concrete and waiting several hours to see how much, if any, water vapor is trapped beneath the sheet.

While this method may be able to tell you whether the concrete moisture is caused by rising vapor instead of condensation, its usefulness ends there. In order to solve a vapor problem, you’re going to need much more specific information about the causes and levels of moisture, and this test simply can’t provide that information.

A misdiagnosed or misunderstood moisture problem could completely ruin a new floor coating. You want to get the full value out of your investment—you want your floor coating to last for years, not just a few months or weeks.

There are a few more accurate DIY methods of testing, such as a calcium chloride test and the RH probe method (which requires you to drill a small hole in the concrete and use an electrical probe to measure relative humidity). These methods tend to have more accurate readings, but you’ll want to be confident that you have done this unfamiliar process exactly right or the measurements could be useless.

In our opinion, it is definitely worth the money to have an experienced professional that you trust come in and test the levels for you!

If you need a recommendation for someone who can do a professional moisture test, or if you have your results and are looking for an appropriate solution, give CPC Floor Coatings a call at (864) 855-0600 or contact us by clicking the banner below. We’ll be happy to have our experts figure out the best solution for your particular situation!

Learn about vapor barrier floor coatings

Topics: Surface Preparation