Don’t Miss the Latest in the Commercial Flooring Industry
What if something you’ve done for years is no longer the best way—for you or your clients?
Robert Bode, vice president of operations for CB Flooring, came to this realization with concrete moisture testing.
He and his team had long relied on the calcium chloride test, but they realized that relative humidity (RH) testing would provide them with more accurate results and a greater assurance they were serving their customers well.
“After 30 years of using the calcium chloride testing method, we needed help in getting educated on this new process,” Bode explains. He arranged to train his team and general contractors on the updated methods for avoiding flooring moisture failures.
CB Flooring was proactive with continuing education. And we’re going to talk about why your business should be too. We’ll take a look at:
- Why continuing education matters in the commercial floor industry
- Key updates in concrete relative humidity testing
- Industry certifications and training programs
- The latest in concrete moisture testing methods and techniques
By the end, you’ll know the latest in concrete moisture testing and have resources for further training.
Why Continuing Education Matters in the Commercial Flooring Industry
Continuing education ensures you’re providing your clients with the highest possible service while also advancing as a business. Your quality of work depends on it.
With updated knowledge and skills, you’ll be able to work more safely and effectively, even while saving yourself time and money. It’s a win-win for you and your customers.
Certain skills or certifications may allow you to earn more money or gain a competitive edge in your industry. This is because clients will see you as more credible, meaning they’re more likely to trust you and refer others to you.
Continuing education also allows you to keep up with the latest industry standards. After all, they can go out of date or change. Or, as CB Flooring found out with the calcium chloride test, it was no longer the most accurate option for their work.
As a commercial flooring installer, you’ll want to pay attention to the following standards:
- American Concrete Institute (ACI) standards
- ASTM International standards related to concrete
- OSHA standards
- Local codes related to concrete
Let’s look at some key updates to be aware of when it comes to concrete relative humidity (RH) testing—the same updates that CB Flooring followed.
Key Updates in Concrete Moisture Testing
Since the 1940s, surface testing has been the norm for figuring out concrete moisture levels before installing a floor. But in recent years, scientific research has uncovered more accurate testing methods. Unfortunately, a lack of continuing education in this field means many floor installers still use the older, less accurate methods.
These older methods include the plastic sheet method (ASTM D4263-05) and the more popular calcium chloride test (ASTM F2659). Both of these methods reveal the moisture in the surface of the concrete but fail to give an understanding of the whole slab.
However, in the 1990s, researchers at the Technical University of Lund in Sweden began studying ways to get a better idea of concrete moisture conditions. They found that by drilling test holes to a specific depth in the slab and placing RH probes, installers can understand how much moisture will move to the surface over time.
Following this research, the Portland Cement Association conducted some studies that showed surface concrete testing (such as the calcium chloride method) didn’t always provide accurate results.
In 2002, their conclusions helped develop a new standard, ASTM F2170, for in situ RH testing.
Combining the research from the university in Sweden and the Portland Cement Association, this standard requires drilling to 40% depth and inserting probes to measure the relative humidity of the concrete.
But as we’ve pointed out, standards evolve.
Further research on surface concrete testing led to a change in ASTM F2659 in 2010: it no longer permits calcium chloride for lightweight concrete. RH testing is now the most accurate option.
What’s more, in 2018, F2170 went through some changes itself. Researchers discovered that the test could provide accurate results after only 24 hours of equilibration—rather than 72 hours. That’s a significant time saver for floor installers!
By following these changes and updates, commercial flooring installers are best positioned to benefit from them.
Industry Certifications and Training Programs
Certification and training programs are a great way to keep up with the latest standards and technologies. What’s more, you can add specialized skills to your “toolbelt,” making yourself more valuable to clients.
The key is finding classes that are relevant to your current work or could help expand your skills to meet client needs.
The American Concrete Institute, with its catchphrase “always advancing,” offers numerous certificate programs through its ACI University. These include:
- Fundamentals of concrete and materials
- Concrete constructability
- Anchorage design
- Repair application procedures
- And much more!
ACI also has webinars, on-demand courses, and archives of free online presentations from the past few years.
Another online resource for training in proper concrete slab construction is Stego Seminars, which will help guide you in all the latest industry benchmarks and guidelines.
And you don’t have to be limited to Internet-based programs. Talk with other experts in your field and find out what they recommend. Or reach out to local trade associations to see if they have any workshops or trade shows where you could learn and network with other professionals in your field.
Keep in mind that if you use a specific product or tool, you (and your team) may need special training in it. We’d be remiss not to mention our very own Rapid RH certification, which provides you with the latest information on ASTM F2170 and how to do RH testing. And don’t miss “The Why, What, and How of Concrete Moisture Testing.”
We’d love to help you in other ways, too. We provided that kind of support for CB Flooring as they transitioned from calcium chloride to RH testing. Here’s what Bode had to say about it:
“I reached out to Wagner and was soon introduced to Jason Spangler who has become my advisor…when it comes to setting RH probes. From flying across the country to our facility in Columbia MD several times for hands-on training, to listening to all of our stories on RH testing, Jason and Wagner have been a tremendous asset to this company in helping us to educate our general contractors on how to avoid catastrophic moisture failures.”
The Latest in Concrete Moisture Testing Methods and Techniques
Aside from industry standards and techniques, the latest technology has also improved workflows. That’s been the case with concrete moisture testing methods. Here are some of the updates:
- Bluetooth® capabilities: Some RH tests can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth so you can get readings automatically.
- Smartphone apps: These allow you to collect data from readings, see trends, and print out reports for your clients.
- Remote monitoring: Now, you can place an RH test and keep track of measurements from anywhere in the world. True Remote Monitoring is one tool that allows you to do this. No more wasting time going back and forth to the job site while you wait for the concrete to dry!
Continuing Education Benefits You and Your Clients
A homeowner posted on the Flooring Forum with the headline: “URGENT HELP!!” They were worried about a floor installation at their home because the installers had not checked concrete moisture.
Don’t let that be your client.
Isn’t it so much better to assure your clients that you have the latest skills and techniques? And that they can trust you to get the job done well?
When you keep up to date on the latest standards and practices—and follow them—you’ll save your clients the stress of figuring out whether the installation is correct. They’ll be satisfied, and your business is much more likely to thrive.
It truly is a win-win.
Comment below and let us know what training or certifications you plan to take next.
Wagner Meters is a family-owned American business that aims to provide solutions in moisture measurement technology that will enhance the quality and value of each customer’s project. With an almost 60-year legacy of innovation, Wagner continues to be a resource for both individual craftsmen and high-performance commercial endeavors.
Last updated on December 12th, 2023