Moisture mitigation is a process that reduces the negative impacts of excess water transpiring from a concrete slab. It’s an important issue that occurs in many flooring options, especially terrazzo. In an age where construction projects are fast-tracked, moisture-related issues are arising. And the results are not pretty. Moisture can lead to problems later in the floor’s life cycle. Some of these problems include adhesive failure, cracking of the floor, or foul odors. We’ll take a look an in-depth look at moisture mitigation and what you can do about it.

 

Why is Moisture a Problem?

If you see your floor bubbling, swelling, or blistering after installation, you likely have a moisture problem. Moisture-related issues can interfere with a project’s success and will require repairs or replacements later on. Most causes of moisture damages occur when projects are fast-tracked towards completion or when water accidentally mixes with the concrete during or after the construction process.

Excess moisture is no joke. Any indication of high moisture levels can have devastating effects on projects such as prolonging construction schedules or even project costs. It is best to take of these issues right away. There are many signs to look out for. Look out for discoloration of the floor, debonding of the floor, foul smells from the growth of mildew and mildew, deterioration of construction materials, or corrosion of materials in the floor.

Moisture Testing

One of the best things to do before installing a floor such as epoxy terrazzo is to test the moisture levels. Become educations about installation methods and moisture issues prior to the construction process. Talk to your flooring installer during the planning stage to ensure everything is checked out before proceeding with the floor covering. Moisture can affect slabs above or below the ground level.

When installing terrazzo, the NTMA recommends you follow a terrazzo manufacturer’s requirements for quantitative moisture tests according to ASTM F1869, Standard Test Method for Measuring Vapor Emission Rate of Concrete Subfloor Using Anhydrous Calcium Chloride or F2170, Standard Test Method for Determining Relative Humidity in Concrete
Floor Slabs Using in situ Probes. You can also test moisture levels using qualitative comparative methods such as plastic test sheets (ASTMD44263) or electronic moisture meters; however,
should not be used as a final measurement prior to the floor installation. ASTM F1869 measures the moisture vapor emission rate in terms of pounds of water per day per 1,000 square feet
of a floor area.

For most resilient floor covers like terrazzo, it is ideal to have this rate at less than 3 pounds per day per 1,000 square feet of the installation. Testing for moisture levels is quite easy. Before you test your floors, make sure the environment is well-conditioned.  Wait 48 hours until the room is at its regular temperatures if the settings are currently at an uneven temperature. When testing moisture levels, check moisture emission from within the slab and moisture level movement from the slab. Check your readings. If moisture levels are high, then a moisture mitigation system is needed.

 

Moisture Mitigation System.

While water is a problem itself, vapors are to be watched out for as well. Vapors is a gas that can move through a concrete slab and into the air stream, ultimately affecting the overall indoor air quality. Bad air quality can have long-term negative effects on the health of a building’s occupants. When working, it is best to avoid working in wet environments.

Solutions

There are ways to prevent moisture issues. One solution is waterproofing, which is setting up perimeter drainage and embedding a vapor retarder, a sheet used to restrict the flow of moisture vapor. This is placed beneath the concrete slab. Another solution is a moisture mitigation system. A moisture mitigation system prevents moisture from mitigating up and into a flooring system. Many flooring contractors have products available to use. For terrazzo, it is suggested to use a two-part 100% solids epoxy system when possible. When applying the moisture mitigation system, make sure that the concrete slab is strong enough, clean, dry and contaminant free before applying. You want to make sure there is a good bond is formed between the concrete slab and the moisture mitigation system.

Concrete slabs take time to dry, but a moisture mitigation system is there to keep the slab from becoming wet and keep the project on schedule.

Remember to always follow a manufacturer’s instruction when installing. When applying the product, spread the material evenly across the surface. Once cured, check the floor for any discrepancies in the floor like air bubbles or pinholes. Also, allow time for the moisture mitigation system to dry. Once dry, the floor should be under control from moisture-related issues.


Having problems with moisture in your floors. Doyle Dickerson Terrazzo is willing to provide knowledge on this important issue or suggest products for use.  Call us at (704) 921-4940 or email us at info@doyledickersonterrazzo.com if you are ever in need of help. Doyle Dickerson Terrazzo is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, providing terrazzo installation services to the Southern United States.