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02-12-2011, 01:10 PM #1
CC Solutions Concrete Moisture Evangelist *******
Status: Offline Posts:1,067 Threads:69 Joined:Dec 2009
Thinking about what I see so often in the field, let's call it 'data manipulation'.

Scene 1:
A flooring installer comes on a job site and does some moisture tests, probably CaCl as most installers are familiar with those. He gets high readings, a bit above what he needs to see. The temperature wasn't controlled, his timing is off a bit for the calculations. So he does some more tests, this time swaying a bit from the ASTM... Maybe laying the dish cover under the dome next to the dish, picking up the dishes after 60 hours but figuring for 70, not weighing the tape seal along with the dish. His calculations now come in as acceptable.

Scene 2:
Rh tests take place, using Brand G Big Grin, and readings are generally 83% to 87%, but the very first reading when the probe is set in the hole is around 72%. So using careful monitoring of the probe, great readings can be harvested and the job can go on. Some holes were drilled too shallow also.

Scene 3:
A flooring installer says the floor is too wet, and refuses to be cowed into installing the flooring. An independent inspector comes in and conducts tests and declares the floor is ready. The independent didn't clean the concrete before placing his CaCl tests, then he left air gaps by not sealing the bottom to the concrete. He was helping himself by giving the GC what he wanted to see, and insuring himself more callbacks for testing, but he was stabbing the end user in the back. The GC told the installer to put in the floor or risk paying for an installer of the GC's choice doing the work for twice the price.

I have seen all these happen and cannot fathom why these people take on such risk by manipulating the data. In the first case the installer figured he would keep his data records and when the floor failed he would just say the concrete was fine when he put the floor in, something must have changed. (This happens A LOT in the commercial flooring world)

Scene 2, same issue. They'd say it was ready when it was tested, and believe it or not, the GC actually bought into the 'read it quick before it changes' mentality.

Third story, the installer documented his argument, got a sign off from the GC AND the owner (can't believe the owner took this risk) and reluctantly put the floor in. His heart wasn't in it and he actually cut a lot of corners because he felt the floor would fail anyway and he had his free pass if it did.

When I do lunch-n-learns I stress that proper and dependable moisture readings, and of course proper flooring installation, is the best insurance you will not be sitting around the litigation table a few years down the road. It is far better to learn the truth about the condition of your concrete and deal with the issue up front than to roll the dice and be involved with a repair later that will end up costing 3 to 10 times what the original install was.

With that said, we need to be sure we are conducting our testing properly, with reliable equipment. If you can't trust your equipment and your methods 100% of the time, well, why would you use them?

Okay, off my soapbox! Tongue Question time! Have you ever seen someone deliberately fudge test results, or conduct a test so poorly there's no way they could have gotten good readings??

JD Grafton
Concrete Answers for Flooring Problems

02-12-2011, 02:58 PM #2
eaadams Concrete Moisture Expert *****
Status: Offline Posts:600 Threads:88 Joined:Jul 2010
One of the largest inspection engineering firms in California did the folowing on one of our jobs and we are now in a more than $100K lawsuit relating to it:

1) GC calls 'his' testing firm. Says that Spec doesn't spell out ASTM F2170 only CaCl testing.
2) 'his' firm comes in and.....
day 1) lays kits
day 4) picks up kits
3) Firm says tests came in @ between 3-4.8#
4) We call shenanigans - rH is more accurate test and CaCl tests were done wrong because the testing firm used sand paper to clean slab 15 min before placing tests.
5) We do testing with ICRI certified tester. Tests come in @ 85 -91% rH
6) GC insists we retest. We pay $1000's to retest in time travel and probes. RH tests come in high again.
7) GC gives 24 notice to proceed. Lots of yelling.
8) We say hell no. And finally change order is signed.
9) We do work with high moisture system. Job today is performing per spec and floor is fine.
10) GC simply doesn't pay.
11) Lawsuit time.

And today.... that same testing firm does the SAME thing with CaCl tests. But after our discussions ex post facto with them... they will do RapidRH testing for us per ASTM.

Ugh... why do I have to teach someone who is supposedly a licensed inspector and engineer in the state of California.


02-12-2011, 04:53 PM #3
CC Solutions Concrete Moisture Evangelist *******
Status: Offline Posts:1,067 Threads:69 Joined:Dec 2009
Number 10 really sucks.... They were willing to let the thing fail, or at least have a high potential for failure, and you stood your ground doing what is right. Kudos to you!!!

My business is booming right now because so many have been BURNED by the exact same garbage your GC was doing. Get the numbers we need by any means, put down the flooring however possible, and let the next guy take the hit.....

Well people are getting smarter and protecting themselves now. Those who do things the right way hopefully will prevail!!!!

JD Grafton
Concrete Answers for Flooring Problems

02-12-2011, 06:49 PM #4
Ernesto Concrete Moisture Expert *****
Status: Offline Posts:606 Threads:33 Joined:Sep 2009
GC's suck in general. lol

I try and stay away from them andstick with home owners.

Stephen Perrera dba
Top Floor Installation Co.

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