If “time is money” as Ben Franklin once advised a young tradesman, then flooring installers and contractors can save money when they use the in situ relative humidity (RH) test to measure concrete floor moisture.

How so, you ask?

Simple. The in situ RH test takes less time to complete than other concrete moisture tests. This is especially true with the newly published 2018 update to the ASTM F2170 standard for in situ RH testing.

As a result of this update, the specified wait time for allowing RH sensors to equilibrate fully in the concrete slab has been reduced from 72 to 24 hours. This important change has come in direct response to a 2013 study commissioned by the ASTM committee that showed essentially no difference in RH values between 24 and 72 hours.

The upshot is that RH test data can now be obtained in full compliance with the ASTM F2170 standard while saving 48 hours of wait time. This fact alone makes RH testing much faster than other methods of concrete moisture testing, such as the Moisture Vapor Emission Rate (MVER) or anhydrous calcium chloride test that still requires a wait time of 60-72 hours before getting results.

Consider other key facts by looking at how long it takes to complete moisture testing for a 10,000 sq. ft. project. A project of this size requires taking RH measurements at 12 test locations per the ASTM F2170 standard—three test locations for the first 1,000 sq. ft. and one test location for each additional 1,000 sq. ft.

Unlike other common methods of concrete moisture measurement, the RH test requires very little time to prepare the test locations where the RH readings will be taken. Thus, you save time—and labor costs—right up front. Indeed, the time required to place the test for an entire 10,000 sq. ft. project is just a smidgen over one hour. This involves drilling 12 test holes and placing the RH sensors in the holes.

To ensure the drilling goes exceptionally well, Wagner recommends the Hilti TE-CD Hammer Drill Bit. It’s a high-quality drill bit for concrete, and it makes the drilling of the test holes extremely fast and easy. The Hilti bit drills and cleans the hole in one easy step, so you save additional time without any cleanup needed. 

The time required to obtain the actual test results (after allowing the required 24 hours for the sensors to equilibrate fully) is also minimal. When using a digital system such as the Rapid RH by Wagner Meters, all that’s needed is to insert the device into each hole to make contact with the sensor, get the RH reading and then record it.

Now let’s suppose you need to follow up later and obtain additional testing data at the jobsite. If you use the Rapid RH 4.0 EX system, the sensors remain in the test holes, which means they’re always ready for quick follow-up readings anytime you choose. With just about any other test method, you have to start the testing procedure over at square one.

Consider that the total time needed for RH moisture testing for our hypothetical 10,000 sq. ft. project is roughly three and a half hours. Then compare that time to other tests and you’ll be greatly surprised at how little time the in situ RH test takes to complete a concrete moisture assessment.


Technology to save even more time

Yet another time-saving advantage of the RH test, especially with the Rapid RH test kits, is that it can be conveniently paired with Bluetooth technology for quick, easy, and accurate readings.

Installers, contractors and others can use the new Rapid RH DataMaster app, along with the Rapid RH Bluetooth Smart Reader, to transmit data directly to one’s mobile device. An added bonus is that the DataMaster app is designed to quickly generate digital reports for one’s clients.

Applying Bluetooth technology effectively takes one full step out of the entire read, record, and report process by eliminating the need to hand-record the data. This also ensures better data integrity because the information gets compiled electronically without the errors that often occur when transcribing data by hand.

Keep in mind that the illustration and time estimations given here are based on a 10,000 sq. ft. project utilizing 12 test locations. But no matter the size of the project, you still save considerable time using the in situ RH test.

When measuring a concrete floor’s moisture, the in situ RH test is the clear winner. Not to mention, saving both time and money is something old Ben Franklin would have no doubt heartily approved.