Installing Static-control Flooring Over Concrete
Moisture problems are the #1 cause of failed flooring installations.
Often the result of aquifers or other environmental conditions, moisture may be invisible. So how do you know if you have a moisture problem?
Once you’ve identified the problem, how do you fix it? What if you choose to ignore high moisture readings? If you’re in a 24/7 operational facility – call or data center, 9-1-1 dispatch, flight tower or other critical space – how do you solve a moisture problem – adhesive breakdown, for example – without shutting down or compromising your core mission?
Dave Long, president of Staticworx, Inc., discusses these and other issues related to mitigating moisture in new construction, renovations, and occupied workspaces.
Standard ASTM 2170 tells you how to determine whether or not there is vapor in your concrete subfloor.
Damaging moisture or vapor is not the water you see.
It is the invisible vapor that comes through concrete from below or water retained in concrete that is not fully cured.
Combining vapor with alkaline (concrete) produces a chemistry that attacks conductive flooring adhesives.
To address vapor problems, tests must be done correctly. This requires controlling the site conditions.
The ambient environment must be controlled and tests done under the environmental conditions you expect to experience when the building is occupied and the floor in use.
Every adhesive manufacturer rates their product for how it will handle relative humidity in concrete.
If you get measurements in excess of vapor ratings for the adhesive, assume these numbers will not change – and proceed as if you have a vapor problem.
Ignoring high readings to save money is a mistake.
Every flooring installation has its own set of challenges.
Look at strategies that are compatible with the operation, so you can solve the problem under the conditions presented to you.
How would you test for and address moisture issues when installing static-control flooring over fresh concrete?
The most common solutions is to shot blast the concrete and use a two-part liquid epoxy (vapor barrier).
When choosing a vapor barrier, look at the length of the company’s warranty and the strength of the company.
Ask whether the product can do the job and if the company can fix the floor if their barrier doesn’t do the job.
How would you handle an occupied space – for example a mission-critical environment – where you can’t have any downtime and you’ve got employees working in the space at the same time as you’re installing the floor?
Roll-on vapor barriers can be rolled over the concrete, the flooring material placed directly over the barrier, and equipment placed back on the floor – all while the facility is in use – without compromising the operation.
Roll-on vapor barriers require no cure time, no blasting of concrete, and no chemicals.
Be sure you know what humidity the vapor barrier you purchase is rated to handle.
Readings of 99% humidity are not uncommon.
A floor may test at 85% or 90% in multiple areas and 99% percent in an outlying area. Do not purchase a barrier rated for 85 – 90% humidity, while ignoring one area measuring 99%. If there’s a problem you will be required to take moisture readings, and if the floor failed at the spot with 99% humidity, you’ll be stuck footing the bill.
With Staticworx ESD flooring, you never have to choose between performance and aesthetics. Our beautiful, high quality ESD carpet tile, vinyl, EC rubber tile and sheet goods, and ESD epoxy floors are as beautiful as they are functional.