Moisture Mitigation: A Simple Solution for Installation Complications
Flooring failures caused by elevated moisture vapor transmission rates (MVTR) can be costly to business owners, and they may try to pass that cost onto the flooring contractor through a moisture claim. Follow this guide to keep your jobs – and your profits – from being compromised by moisture.
1. Look for the best warranty
To protect yourself and your customer, look for products with strong warranties. For example, when used as a complete TEC® system with other surface preparation products and flooring adhesives, LiquiDAM™ and LiquiDAM EZ™ qualify for a 25 Year Moisture Control Limited System Warranty.
2. Closely follow manufacturer instructions
Take the time to read and understand the manufacturer’s application instructions. The manufacturers of both the flooring and the adhesives always provide instructions on acceptable substrate conditions, so follow their recommendations completely. They’re the experts on their products and want to prevent moisture claims as much as you do. You won’t need to come back to the job site if you follow their guidelines correctly.
Make sure you’re clear on what levels of moisture a floor and adhesive can tolerate. Also, you need to know the testing method the manufacturer uses to measure moisture levels. This is especially true with resilient floor coverings (sheet vinyl, luxury vinyl plank, luxury vinyl tile, vinyl composition tile) which will more typically have limitations.
3. Test your moisture levels
Don’t assume that moisture levels are acceptable. Use a properly calibrated moisture meter to get exact moisture levels. Always follow the directions of your moisture testing kits carefully.
You should be aware of the two most common testing procedures. The first is the ASTM F1869, known as the Calcium Chloride Test that provides results according to moisture vapor emission rate (MVER). This is an inexpensive test that requires three days to provide results. The industry is moving toward another test, the ASTM F2170. While it carries a higher initial cost, it’s much faster, considered to be more accurate as the test is performed within the slab itself and provides readings in relative humidity (RH). TEC products list readings in both MVER and RH, however the industry seems to be trending towards the RH test becoming the go-to method.
4. Plan ahead
Plan ahead for time in the installation schedule to apply the moisture mitigation membrane according to the manufacturer’s instructions and allow for proper curing. Part of completing a job is to communicate with the building owners on how to make their floor last. Allowing time for the membrane to be properly installed before placing the floor coverings is key to a successful installation, and everyone involved in the project needs to be aware of this.
5. Maintain accurate, photographic records
Don’t forget to take the time to keep track of everything you do on the job site. The best way to do that is to simply photograph job site conditions, and keep track of all your moisture testing results. If any questions arise down the road, you can show you’ve taken every precaution.