Bill Lepito is principal of Certified Floor Covering Consultants (CFCC), a nationally-recognized firm that specializes in moisture testing for concrete substrates and forensic flooring failure investigations.
He has been involved in countless cases of both preventative moisture testing before floor systems are installed over concrete substrates, and in determining what went wrong when a flooring installation fails.
“A couple years back, I got called into a huge hospital complex in Washington, D.C. ,” explains Lepito. On the jobsite, five engineer firms were performing moisture testing and everyone was using different equipment. Not surprisingly, everyone was getting different results, and Lepito was hired to come in and figure out why.
Discrepancies in moisture readings, as Lepito knows from 40 years’ experience, aren’t just a problem for record keeping, but have led to many flooring failures, health issues for building occupants, litigation and more.
Additionally, this 1.2 million square-foot hospital complex was being built to provide service to injured veterans returning from active duty. Everyone involved wanted to meet the highest possible standards.
Lepito began by educating the general contractors and the Army Corps of Engineers. “I provided them the ASTM standard [for concrete moisture testing] to follow along and explained why it mattered.” Then Lepito took them out on the jobsite and had them watch him conduct relative humidity (RH) testing with the Rapid RH by Wagner Meters, stopping for questions until the whole team understood the test method and the accuracy of testing he was providing.
“The Rapid RH is user-friendly for specialists like myself, and also for non-consultants like general contractors,” Lepito states.
Decades of testing has proven that moisture measurements taken at 40% of the concrete slab depth (for slabs drying from one side) provide the most accurate prediction of the final moisture content once the slab has been sealed with a floor covering or sealant. The accuracy of the Rapid RH concrete moisture test method also meant Lepito saved the hospital project millions of dollars in possible moisture-related problems.
Based on Lepito’s findings, project executives and the Army Corps of Engineers made the decision to mitigate the moisture, a $7 million process that was ultimately the best choice for the building complex, the staff and the wounded veterans that would be served there.
“The director of the project called me to his office and personally thanked me for saving him from making the biggest mistake he would have made while building this hospital,” Lepito states. “To think of the veterans that would be getting the help they need there—it was the proudest moment of my career.”
To share stories with Wagner about the Rapid RH meter, email rapidRH@wagnermeters.com.