Rogue River, OR (July, 2011) – Recently, Maple Flooring Manufacturer’s Association (MFMA) announced that effective October 1, 2011, it will only recognize Relative Humidity (RH) testing as the standard for measuring moisture levels in concrete slabs. RH testing takes moisture level readings by installing sensors within a drying concrete slab to measure moisture conditions within the concrete, rather than just at the surface where readings can be influenced by a number of environmental situations.
In an industry that needs to know when a slab is ready for the flooring installation, the question of concrete moisture is a critical one.While the accepted industry standard so far has been calcium chloride testing, the Technical Committee for MFMA began examining the science behind RH testing several years ago, says MFMA Executive Director Daniel Heney. “Even though we were told there was no correlation [between CaCl and RH test results], we wanted to do our own tests.” After doing individual side-by-side comparisons, says Heney, “We felt pretty comfortable with the RH being more scientifically sound.”“It’s for the betterment of the industry,” says Heney of the decision to move to RH testing as the new standard. Apart from more consistent moisture conditions under an installed floor, RH testing also provides a more solid footing for all flooring industry professionals. “If there was ever a discussion about the suitability of the concrete before installation, or ever a legal situation, it’s easier to shoot holes in a calcium chloride test than an RH test. It’s more scientifically sound as a test method.”
While Heney admits there has been some resistance to the change, he feels confident that RH testing is the more accurate test method to ensure flooring installations remain unaffected by moisture transfer that can damage wood flooring. A concrete slab that is not yet “dried” to the proper moisture conditions can lead to moisture transference, cupping and remediation steps that can be avoided with the proper testing.
And the flooring industry is not the only one to applaud the change. “I am very pleased that the MFMA has decided to switch to this type of test,” says Ed Wagner, CEO of Wagner Meters, makers of the Rapid RH® 4.0.”RH testing is a much more reliable test than CaCl testing as it takes a reading deep into the concrete slab and not just on the surface.” As the MFMA announcement points out, “With new technology and more standards in place, there is less room for variables and more confidence in the accuracy of determining the moisture content of concrete slab.” (www.maplefloor.org) To learn more about the science behind RH testing, visit http://www.wagnermeters.com/flooring/relative-humidity-testing/relative-humidity-testing-concrete/.