Concrete Moisture Testing: Commercial vs. Residential Projects

datamaster L6 concrete moisture test

Whether you’re doing a commercial or residential job, moisture testing is an important step. Without moisture testing, you have no way of knowing whether the project will turn out or if there will be significant moisture-related failures down the road.

But how does moisture testing differ between commercial jobs and residential jobs? What steps should you take and what equipment should you use, depending on the job, to ensure success?

Well, this article is going to answer those questions. If you have commercial flooring projects, residential projects, or both, keep reading to set yourself up for a successful flooring job.

Concrete Moisture Testing for Commercial Jobs

Moisture testing for commercial jobs is pretty unavoidable, and it’s often done using tools that measure the relative humidity of concrete floor slabs, like Wagner’s Rapid RH in-situ probes.

If moisture issues do appear, they are usually brought to the attention of the general contractor so there can be a discussion revolving around how to proceed, be it waiting longer or utilizing different flooring products.

How does this change for residential projects?

Concrete Moisture Testing for Residential Projects

The residential business model for doing floors isn’t always conducive to doing in-depth concrete moisture testing. Relative humidity tests or calcium chloride tests require more time, more money, and more effort. However, using a concrete moisture meter can greatly increase the chances of success.

Opting for a more expensive moisture test in a residential setting can be tricky because it’s difficult to know exactly how much a job is going to cost right off the bat. For example, imagine that a salesperson goes out to a site, and the site already has flooring down, so there isn’t any exposed concrete to test. Even if the concrete were exposed, it’s not worth it for the salesperson to spend the money on a relative humidity test if they don’t even know whether or not they’ll be doing the job.

In order to get the job and complete it, they need to offer a price and at some level, make an educated guess about the moisture state of the concrete.

This is where a concrete moisture meter comes in handy. A concrete moisture meter like Wagner’s C555 meter makes moisture testing easy, fast, and effortless. With it, moisture testing simply involves exposing the concrete in the corner of a room—easily done if it’s carpeted—and taking preliminary readings to know what to do next.

The professional can then determine if it is appropriate to proceed or if further moisture testing is needed.

Ensure Good Communication at the Outset

Construction Workers Shaking HandsDo what you can to ensure good communications with the stakeholders, including the general contractor, architect, site owner, and perhaps even the end-user. Verify that all the essential information has been gathered prior to moisture testing.

Is the age of the structure known, as well as the slab pour date and depth? Do you know if a vapor retarder was installed under the slab and is still intact? Do special conditions exist, such as buried metal or fiber optics? Does the slab include any corrugated pan decking? Or any other conditions that might affect the RH testing protocol?

If vital pieces of information are missing, do not proceed until informational interviews or other means are employed to get that information.

What You Gain by Testing for Moisture

The information that’s gained from moisture testing can be used to select the proper means of moisture mitigation so that future flooring issues can be avoided. This could include vapor retarders, surface membranes, or applied barriers.

No matter what moisture testing protocol you use or moisture mitigation you apply, your reputation is still on the line, so saving time and making the job run smoothly is important for all involved.

Know the Job Parameters

When it comes to testing moisture in concrete, make sure you are clear about the contract for the flooring job. You want to be sure you’ll be working under parameters that set you up for success.

What moisture test is being specified for the job? Who will be doing the moisture testing prior to the flooring installation? Will you do the testing, or is this to be performed by an independent party? Or someone else?

Once you’re clear about the parameters related to testing the slab’s readiness for the floor installation, if the entire situation doesn’t feel comfortable at the outset, you may want to consider respectfully declining and walking away. Trust your instincts.

Tools for Success

Whether working on residential projects or commercial projects, who doesn’t like to have a tool that can shorten the project timeline, save money, and eliminate confusion?

The C555 concrete moisture meter from Wagner Meters is that tool. This useful tool identifies moisture hotspots and guides further moisture measurement methods, like checking relative humidity.

When paired with Rapid RH in-situ probes, you can guarantee the success of your project using the most accurate moisture testing method. The C555 plus the Rapid RH in-situ probes are truly a dynamic duo.

Using these tools means that you can complete your projects with confidence and bolster your reputation with both residential and commercial clients.

So make a concrete moisture meter part of your best practices when testing for moisture and look forward to the ease that comes with it!

Last updated on July 28th, 2023

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