There are many products being marketed today that purport to solve moisture-related flooring problems. At the same time, it has become commonplace to focus on warranties rather than product performance. This has led to a lot of confusion among specifiers in the flooring and construction industries as to what should be included in project specifications, as well as “how?” and “why?”

This list of suggestions was prepared to help architects, engineers, and specifiers clear up this confusion, and to help them assure their clients that they are getting what they pay for. In short, proof must be provided that such products bring the floor to within the required compliance levels, and that manufacturers of such products are held fully accountable for their claims.

Quality assurance. All products should be required to successfully post-test. If the product fails to achieve specified objectives (e.g. bring moisture vapor emissions levels to a maximum of 3.0 pounds, as measured by the calcium chloride test method), it did not achieve its intended objective. All costs associated with bringing the vapor emissions levels into compliance (labor and materials, including preparation costs) shall be wholly borne by the manufacturer and/or installer of the product.

Penalties for non-compliance. If the product fails to perform as specified, the manufacturer and/or installer of the product shall be responsible for costs associated with the installation of a substitute product. Selection of a substitute product shall be at the sole discretion of the owner or specifier.

Construction schedule. If there are project schedule delays as a result of reapplication or repairs required to bring the project to compliance, the manufacturer and/or installer of the non-compliant product shall be responsible for costs directly associated with such delays, e.g. liquidated damages and loss of incentive compensation.

Warranted performance. The warranty for performance shall NOT allow for upper moisture limits be placed upon selected product. It has been well established that moisture levels can be dynamic, and that even with the most liberal number of tests, less than 1% of the flooring surface is actually tested. Because of these factors, upper moisture limits on any selected product shall NOT be allowed. If such limitations are incorporated, currently or historically, with the submitted product, it will be rejected as non-responsive.

Warranty exclusions. Unless agreed to in writing prior to bid submittal, all warranty exclusions will be rejected as non-responsive.

Indoor Air Quality. Specifiers should be aware that fibrous materials used in floors and walls (e.g. polypropylene, fiberglass, cotton, and other synthetic and natural fibers) have been identified as being possible contributors to indoor air quality problems. Due diligence must be exercised by the specifier to ensure that any such product will not contribute to, or allow for, microbial growth within the applied product, or encourage or support microbial growth due to its presence.