Are we the only industry dealing with moisture issues? No, we’re not, but flooring is what we do, so it’s the one that makes a direct impact on our bottom line profits and affects the end user.
Roof leaks, floods, unprecedented snow storms, inclement weather, moisture under concrete slabs without moisture barriers—these things, which are totally out of our control, often put us into situations that require us to find solutions to moisture issues.
The recent snow and freezing weather in Texas will be a stress test on its residents and flooring contractors for the coming months. Not only did the inclement weather cause loss of power and water build up, but it had a major impact on building structures. Homes that flooded from broken plumbing due to frozen pipes will impact the flooring in these spaces for the next few months. Not to mention the new construction installations that had no climate control that froze, and now have to deal with moisture issues from the melting snow and ice, adding more moisture beneath the concrete slabs, all leading to costly moisture issues.
When dealing with a normal concrete slab or wood subfloor, there are a multitude of products available to contractors to mitigate moisture, but here’s what needs to happen before selecting one: proper testing. Proper testing of concrete, lightweight concrete and gypsum slabs, as well as wood flooring and wood subfloors.
It seems that there is a lot of assuming that slabs and subfloors are going to be acceptable for all types of flooring without ever testing. Over promising and under delivering is what’s happening, and we see that as recommended products are used, we still have flooring failures. Why is that?
Well, it’s obviously installation-related, right? The products can’t be the cause for failure (we hear this all the time). Well, to a certain degree, it is probably correct that there are installation-related issues with the application of these products. However, too many times, shortcuts are taken with mitigation products, installation instructions are not followed completely, and as a result, failures occur. Or a mitigation system was used that wasn’t designed to mitigate the amount of moisture that was present, but was used because it came in at a better price point, instead of one that had the ability to handle the higher moisture, but comes at a higher cost.
So, how do you pick the best moisture solution? By working with a manufacturer and rep to determine the best solution to mitigate. Look for a manufacturer that has the willingness to give a warranty and stand behind its products. Contact the rep for support and guidance for a successful mitigation of moisture—they are more than willing to assist contractors, but in the meantime, take moisture testing seriously and incorporate testing into your business on a regular basis.