Across all types of wood and resilient flooring installations, unmitigated moisture can be the singular difference between the long-term success or failure of the project. The destructive effects of moisture could appear immediately after an installation or take months or years to manifest. Discoloration, warping, cupping and buckling are some of the symptoms of a moisture-damaged floor which could necessitate complicated repairs or a complete replacement installation. Harmful moisture vapors emanating from concrete subfloors are also known to pose health risks through the accumulation of mold, mildew or bacteria. It is paramount to consider these hazards at the beginning of an installation and opt for the highest-performing product systems which are engineered to stand as the stoutest defense against moisture.
Proper preparation, particularly when installing over a concrete slab where moisture may be present, should always begin at the subfloor. Water vapor will naturally transmit from the slab as concrete dries, thus establishing capillary networks that serve as future pathways for moisture. Moisture vapor emissions are also byproducts of whatever water source may exist beneath the slab. Utilizing the products and practices best suited to reducing the emission rate of these vapors is pivotal to long-term success. Likewise, the importance of creating a flat, level and smooth surface for the flooring system should never be overlooked.
Fortunately, there are high-performing, self-leveling underlayments available on the market which address several of these needs simultaneously. These high flow, high strength solutions are specially engineered to be implemented in high moisture environments and are suitable for all flooring applications. With no moisture vapor emission rate (MVER) limit and the capacity to withstand up to 100% relative humidity on well-prepared concrete, these innovative underlayments allow moisture to pass freely through the self-leveler without adversely impacting the technical characteristics of the installation. Some of the most innovative self-levelers are even warranted for exterior applications, which is perhaps the greatest testament to moisture mitigating properties. Moreover, these rapid-setting products can solve the need for a flat, level, and smooth surface all within a same-day installation courtesy of cure times as low as 90 minutes. The best self-levelers are those which not only handle unlimited moisture but do so without breaking down or softening even under resilient flooring applications.
Some of the more popular adhesives on the market today are the unlimited all-in-one flooring adhesives that provide installers and contractors with an optimized approach to achieving successful flooring installations when moisture control is preferred or required. These hi-tech adhesive technology options have culminated in one-component, low permeability products with vapor mitigating characteristics. Generating a super strong bond to the substrate while forming a monolithic membrane which reduces moisture vapor transmissions from the subfloor, in addition to sound reduction and other performance benefits, is achievable with this one purchase. Regardless of the technical feats of an unlimited moisture self-leveling underlayment, an installation is only as strong as its weakest link. Assuming that any one layer of a system compensates for the entirety of the installation and keeps unwanted moisture at bay for the lifetime of the floor could have undesirable results. Utilizing an exterior-grade self-leveling underlayment that matches the performance of the premium-grade, unlimited subfloor moisture control flooring adhesive applied over top is therefore vital to the success of the installation as a whole.
Although identifying the various products needed to withstand unlimited moisture could seem daunting, manufacturers have made achieving peace of mind easier than ever. Fully warranted, top-to-bottom systems are available which ensure high-quality solutions at each level of the installation from subfloor correction to secure full surface bonding. This kind of system can rapidly address moisture concerns and provide an ideal surface profile with each component engineered and tested to perform at the highest level in conjunction with one another. Installers can rely on just one trusted supplier to deliver an integrated combination of products without any weak links or second guessing. Mitigating moisture is always a pressing concern, but it’s one made far more conquerable with a comprehensive, fully warranted system that delivers an unmatched sense of security.