We’ve consistently discussed topics involving moisture mitigation and rapid-drying concrete, but identifying the symptoms of flooring riddled with moisture-related damages is the first step towards finding a proper solution. Very often, those flooring failures are the result of moisture trapped in the concrete slabs below the flooring itself, a hidden threat that isn’t always solved by add-on moisture mitigation solutions used within the construction industry.
Moisture becomes an issue when flooring is installed before the concrete slab is sufficiently dried. This typically occurs due to an over-acceleration of the construction timeline or when an inadequate concrete mix is used.
Here is a list of some, though not all, flooring failures that suggest abundant moisture is afoot within a concrete slab:
Cupping – Defined as both sides of the flooring being higher than the center (creating the slight illusion of a cup), cupping remains an extremely common issue within residential and commercial buildings alike. Wood floors are especially, though not exclusively, at risk of cupping. When moisture content below the flooring greatly exceeds the moisture above, the lack of equilibrium exacerbates the problem.
Flooring Expansion – The expansion of flooring, a naturally occurring phenomenon (again, especially for wooden floors) that occurs during climate changes, is more pronounced when there is a disparity of moisture content beneath and above the flooring itself. Cracks become more pronounced in dryer, colder seasons while seemingly improving during warmer periods.
Mold and Bacteria – The abundance of moisture provides a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. The moisture in a concrete slab can potentially create a favorable environment for mold formation. Mold and bacteria will not only erode flooring materials, they can adversely affect a facility’s air quality as well.
Alkaline Damage – High-pH moisture can be directly attributed to hydroxide ions emitted from concrete slabs as a result of the concrete formation process. If too much moisture remains in the concrete, the high-pH levels of that moisture will destroy topical moisture mitigation and potentially the flooring materials as well.
Short and Long-Term Consequences of Flooring Failures
The short term result of flooring failures are pronounced and include delays in construction as well as the requirement of investing in costly moisture mitigation applications. Long-consequences involve environmental hazards such as sick building syndrome, liability issues from occupants, and a severely damaged reputation.
Developers and facility owners should be especially vigilant when evaluating the state of previously constructed or facilities currently in the construction process. Moisture doesn’t always rear its ugly head immediately, but understanding the problems it causes provides incentive to be proactive rather than reactive.
Rapid-drying concrete as a solution
In order to successfully eliminate moisture-related flooring failures, the moisture levels within the concrete must reduce drastically through the drying process. Rapid-drying concrete dramatically reduces the moisture content within a concrete slab to levels that are innocuous to flooring materials on the surface. A far-cry from conventional concrete, rapid-drying concrete virtually eliminates the risk of flooring failures while reducing drying times by weeks or even months.