Why Test for Moisture Prior to Installation of New Flooring?

Moisture from the substrate is one of the leading causes of flooring failure, regardless whether the substrate is concrete or wood based. Excess moisture levels above Manufacturer guidelines can cause cupping, buckling, warping, delamination, and finish issues in wood, laminate, and other floor coverings. It can cause adhesion failures in all type floor coverings. Many of the adhesives currently used are more water sensitive than in the past, due to the elimination of solvent based adhesives. Alkali carried by the moisture vapor can also destroy most adhesives.
Sources for moisture are moisture vapor emissions from the ground through concrete and wood substrates, broken pipes below the substrate, surface water from leaks or poor drainage, and insufficient cross ventilation or drainage in crawl spaces.
It is of utmost importance to know the moisture content of the substrate PRIOR TO INSTALLATION. Why? Because if addressed PRIOR to installation, the proper adhesive or mitigation can resolve or compensate for the excess moisture, and eliminate most moisture related flooring issues and failures.
Most Manufacturers REQUIRE either ASTM 1869 Calcium Chloride or ASTM 2170 Relative Humidity (Insitu) testing on concrete substrates. They also require pin probe testing, proper acclimation and equilibrium moisture content (EMC) on wood substrates and wood based flooring materials.
So, Why Test for Moisture Prior to Installing New Flooring?
Not knowing the moisture content and addressing moisture related issues PRIOR TO INSTALLATION can VOID the warranty on your new floor, and cause irreparable damage.

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