What is moisture control?

Moisture control is the number one problem for all floor finishes – Carpet tile, especially sheet vinyl and coatings. The problem is moisture in the grade or moisture in the cement if it’s new, concrete if it’s new, will come up. (And it will) not all the cement gets absorbed by all of the water, some of it will come up and you wind up with what’s called vapor drive that comes up through the concrete. It’s not a problem as long as you have a material on the floor that’s breathable that it can get through or nothing on the floor, but once you put a vapor barrier, such as a coating system down, you’ve got a contest going on now. That moisture vapor needs to get out, that coating system fights to stay down so you wind up with typically what we call osmotic blisters, which are bumps in the floor. You see it a lot in vinyl, you probably don’t notice it, you walk over it whenever you walk across vinyl floors, all over New England you’ll see it. And they’re bumps in the floors that are blisters. If you were to break those blisters, there would be water underneath it, very saline water typically. And that’s what’s happening with moisture in concrete, so in order to mitigate that we have two options. We can use a moisture tolerant material, which allows the vapor to hit the back of it and disperses it, which relieves the pressure. Or we can use a vapor barrier that’s so strong it will hold that vapor down. So it’s extremely important that that problem be dealt with first, moisture is our number one and most likely problem down the road so we will test moisture almost every time when we don’t know exactly what’s going on with the concrete, we’ll test it.