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16/6/2016 Durability+DesignAHardAssignment:GettingaGoodReadonMoistureinConcrete

AHardAssignment:GettingaGoodReadonMoistureinConcrete
AD+DOnlineFeaturepublishedDecember19,2011

MoreitemsforGoodTechnicalPractice

ByKennethA.Trimber
KTATatorInc.

Waterisgoodfortakingaswim,floatingaboat,boilinganegg,orwashingthecar.

Assessingthemoisturecontentofconcreteandmasonrysubstratesisessentialinensuring
goodperformanceinpaintandcoatingapplication.

BASFCorp.

Butinthecaseofconcretewallsandslabs,toomuchofthisnormallygoodthingcansinkapaintandcoatingproject.
Excessiveamountsofmoistureatthetimeofsealingorpaintingcandestroytheperformanceofcoatingsystemsby
interferingwithfilmformation,adhesion,and/orinhibitingthecureofthecoating.

Concreteandmasonrysurfacesmayappeartobedrybysightandtouchpriortocoatingapplication,butstillcontain
detrimentallevelsofmoisturewithinthesubstrate.Evenwhenthesubstrateisdryatthetimeofcoatingapplication,
subsequentmoistureintrusioninservicecancauseblisteringanddetachmentofthefilm(Photo1).

Whilethereislittledebateorcontroversyregardingthedetrimental
effectsofmoistureoncoatings,substantialconfusionexistsaboutthe
selectionofmethod(s)formeasuringthemoisturecontentand
interpretingtheresults.

ItshouldbenotedthatSSPCwillbetacklingthisissueheadonin2012
throughitsnewlyformedCommercialCoatingCommitteeCouncil(see
noteatendofthisarticle).
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16/6/2016 Durability+DesignAHardAssignment:GettingaGoodReadonMoistureinConcrete

Anumberofinstrumentsandtechniquescanbeemployedin
determiningthepresenceofmoistureinconcretefloorsandwalls,
providingbothqualitativeandquantitativeresults.Thequantitative
methodsdonotalwaysmeasurethesameattributes,theresultsarein
differentunits,andtheconclusionsthatarederivedfromthevarious
methodsareoftennotinagreement.

Thisarticledescribessomeofthemethodsthatareusedfor
determiningmoisturecontent,availableASTMstandards,andsomeof
theproblemstheindustryisfacingininterpretingtheresults.

Measuringmoisturecontentinconcretefloors

Fivemethodsareavailablefordeterminingthepresenceofmoisturein
concretefloors,andallareaddressedbyASTMstandards.
Unfortunately,themethodsprovidetheresultsindifferentunits,they
assessmoisturecontentatdifferentlocationswithinthesubstrate,and Photo1:Moistureinthesubstrateatthetimeof
theresultscannotalwaysbecompared. applicationormoistureintrusionmonthsor
AnhydrousCalciumChloride(ASTMF186911)Floors.This yearslaterisdestructivetomostcoating
methodisaddressedinASTMF186911,StandardTestMethodfor systems
MeasuringMoistureVaporEmissionRateofConcreteSubfloorUsing
AnhydrousCalciumChloride.Thisisanondestructivetestthatrequiresexposingtheconcreteslabtoanhydrouscalcium
chlorideforagivenlengthoftime(Photo2).

Theanhydrouscalciumchlorideisstoredinaplasticcontainerand
weighedtothenearest0.1grambeforeexposureandagainafter
exposuretodeterminetheincreaseinweight.Thevaluesareentered
intoaformulaandtheresultsareexpressedasthemoisturevapor
emissionrate(MVER),reportedinpoundsofmoistureovera1,000
squarefootareaduringa24hourperiod.

Testconditions:Thetestingshouldbeconductedatthesame
temperatureandhumiditythatisexpectedduringnormaluse.Ifthisis
notpossible,theambientconditionsshouldbecontrolledto75F10F
and50%10%relativehumidityfor48hourspriortotestingandduring
thetest.Anexceptiontotestingattheexpectedservice
temperature/relativehumidityinvolvesfloorsthatarelocatedinareasof
temperatureorhumidityextremes(e.g.,coldstoragerooms).Inthese
cases,thetemperature/humiditycriterialistedaboveshouldbe
maintained.

Theconcretesurfacemustbelightlyabradedina20in.x20in.area
bygrindingtoproduceaslightprofileequaltoICRICSP1toCSP2
andtoremovethethinlayeroffinishedconcrete,withoutexposing
largeaggregate.Alldustmustberemoved.Iffloorcoveringsor Photo2:Anhydrouscalciumchloridetest.The
coatingswereremovedinthetestarea,theconcretemustbeexposed perimeterofthedomewastapedinadditionto
for24hoursaftergrindingbeforeinitiatingthetest. relyingonthegasketmaterial(tapingnot
requiredbytheASTMstandard).Thelidofthe
Iftheconcretewasnotcoveredorthecoveringshavebeenremoved anhydrouscalciumchloridecontainerhasbeen
formorethan30days,testingcanbeginimmediatelyaftergrindingand tapedtotheundersideofthedomeforstorage.
cleanup.The240hourwaitingperiodisnotrequired.

Inordertocontroltheareainwhichthemoistureisbeingassessed,theopenedpreweighedcalciumchloridecontaineris
coveredbyatransparentdomeprovidedbythemanufacturer,whichisfirmlysealedtothefloorusingagasketmaterial
suppliedwiththekit(Photo2).

Thetestmustremaininplacefornolessthan60hoursandnolongerthan72hours.Atthecompletionofthetestperiod,
theanhydrouscalciumchlorideisreweighedandthecalculationsmade.Weighingcanbedoneinthelaboratoryorfield.In
bothcases,thesamescaleshouldbeusedforthepreandpostweights,andincludethetapeusedtosealthecontainer.It
iscriticalthatthecontainerbecompletelysealedduringtransportationfromandtothelaboratoryortotheonsitescale.

Testfrequency:ASTMF1869recommendsatestinthreelocationsforthefirst1,000squarefeet,withanadditionaltest
locationforeach1,000squarefeetoffloorarea,orfractionthereof.

Acceptancecriteria:Acceptancecriteriaisnotprovidedinthestandard,butcoatingsmanufacturersoftenrequirethefloor
toexhibitnogreaterthan3lb./1,000ft2/24hourspriortopainting.Additionally.ASTMF710StandardPracticeforPreparing
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ConcreteFloorstoReceiveResilientFlooringindicatesthat3lb./1,000ft2/24hoursshouldbeconsideredamaximumlimitin
theabsenceofmanufacturersguidelines.

InSituRelativeHumidityProbes(ASTMF217011)Floors.ThismethodisaddressedinASTMF217011,StandardTest
MethodforDeterminingRelativeHumidityinConcreteFloorSlabsUsinginsituProbes.Thisisadestructivetestthat
requiresdrillingsmallholesintheslab,insertinghollowsleeves,andafteragivenwaitingperiod,insertingprobesintothe
sleevestodeterminetherelativehumidity.Theresultsaredirectlydisplayedasrelativehumiditynoconversionsareneeded
(Photo3).

Testconditions:Theslabshouldbeatservicetemperatureandthe
occupiedairspaceabovethefloorshouldbeattheservicetemperature
andrelativehumidityforatleast48hourspriortotesting.Thehole
depthfortheprobesisbasedonapercentageoftheslabthickness.If
theslabisdryingfromthetoponly(e.g.,slabongradeorslabona
metaldeck),theholeisdrilledtoadepthof40%ofthetotalthickness
oftheslab.Fora4inchthickslab,theholedepthisapproximately1.5
inches.Iftheslabdriesfromboththetopandbottom(e.g.,elevated
reinforcedslabnotonametaldeck),theholeisdrilledtoadepthof
20%ofthetotalthicknessoftheslab.Fora4inchthickslab,thehole
depthisapproximately0.75inches.

Theholesaredrilledusingdrycuttooling,andareofadiameter
requiredbythemanufacturer,butlessthan0.04inches.Afterdrilling,
alldustisvacuumedfromthehole,alinerisinserted,andtheholeis
sealedfor72hourspriortotestingtoachieveequilibrium.

Thestandardalsoincludesprovisionsforcastingholesintofresh Photo3:Probeofarelativehumidityinstrument
concreteasitisbeinginstalled.Measurementinthiscasecanbegin beinginsertedintoasleevethatlinesahole
oncetheconcretehardens. drilledintoconcreteslab
Whentakingmeasurements,theinstrumentmustbeallowedtoreach
equilibriumonceturnedon,withtheprobeatthesametemperatureastheconcretebeforebeginning.Itmaybenecessaryto
allowtheprobetolieonthefloorforafewhoursorevenlongertoreachequilibrium.Onceequilibrationisachieved,in
additiontomeasuringthetemperatureandrelativehumidityineachhole,theambienttemperatureandrelativehumidity
abovetheslabinthevicinityofeachholeshouldalsobemeasured.

Testfrequency:ASTMF2170recommendsthreelocationsforthefirst1,000squarefeet,withanadditionallocationfor
each1,000squarefeetoffloorarea,orfractionthereof.Forongradeandbelowgradeslabs,onelocationistobewithin3
feetofeachexteriorwall.

Acceptancecriteria:Acceptancecriteriaisnotprovidedinthestandard,butsomeguidanceforwoodandotherfloor
coveringsisprovidedonthePortlandCementAssociation(PCA)websitebasedonvaluesestablishedinFinland(The
FinnishSisaRYL2000CodeofBuildingPractice)andSweden(SwedishHusAMA83).Examplesincludeamaximumof60%
RH(parquetboardwithnoplasticfilmbetweenwoodandconcrete)maximumof80%(wood,corktilewithoutvinyllayer,
andmosaicparquetonconcrete)maximumof85%(somevinylbondedcoverings,corktilewithplasticfilmbarrier,and
varioustextilecarpets)andmaximumof90%(plastictilesandlinoleum).

AmoredetaileddescriptionoftheabovecriteriacanbefoundonthePCAwebsite.ASTMF710StandardPracticefor
PreparingConcreteFloorstoReceiveResilientFlooringindicatesthat75%relativehumidityshouldbeconsidereda
maximumlimitintheabsenceofmanufacturersguidelines.

RelativeHumidityImmediatelyAbovetheFloorSurface(ASTMF242005,Reapproved2011)Floors.Thismethodis
addressedinASTMF242005(11),StandardTestMethodforDeterminingRelativeHumidityontheSurfaceofConcreteFloor
SlabsUsingRelativeHumidityProbeMeasurementandInsulatedHood.

Thisisanondestructiveassessmentofrelativehumidityimmediatelyabovethesurfaceoftheconcrete.Thetestrequires
theuseofaspeciallysizedandinsulatedhoodtocreateanairpocketimmediatelyabovethesurfaceoftheconcrete.The
relativehumidityoftheairwithintheairpocketismeasuredbyinsertingarelativehumidityprobethroughalinedaccess
holeinthehood.

Thehoodismanufacturedfromrigidthermalinsulationmaterialwitharecessedpockettocreatetheairchamber.The
chamberislinedorcoatedwithavaporbarriermaterialtoisolateitfromtheambientconditionsoutsidethehood.Theair
chambershouldcoverasurfaceareaofbetween30and40squareincheswithaminimumchamberdepthof0.25inches.A
holeintothechamberfortherelativehumidityprobemustbecapableofbeingcompletelysealedwiththeprobeisinplace.

Testconditions:Thefloorslabshouldbeatservicetemperatureandtheoccupiedairspaceabovethefloorshouldbeat
theservicetemperatureandrelativehumidityforatleast48hourspriortoinstallingthehoods.Ifthisisnotpossible,the
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ambientconditionsshouldbecontrolledto75F10Fand50%10%relativehumidityduringthetest.Theconcrete
surfacemustbecleanandfreeofcoatings,adhesive,andothermaterial.Ifcoveringsareremoved,thetestareashouldbe
exposedtheaboveconditionsfor24hoursafterremovalofthecoveringspriortoinstallingthehoods.

Thehoodsmustbecompletelysealedtothesurfaceandremaininplaceaminimumof72hourspriortomeasuringthe
relativehumidityinorderachievemoistureequilibriuminthechamber.Forslabsgreaterthan8inchesinthickness,low
porosityslabs,andslabscontainingpowerfloatedlowemissionsurfacehardeners,itmaytakemuchlongerthan72hours
forequilibration.Inthesecasestheuseoftheinsituprobes(ASTMF2170)describedabovewouldbeabetteralternative.

Whentakingmeasurements,theinstrumentmustbeallowedtoreachequilibriumonceturnedonandtheprobemustbeat
thesametemperatureastheairpocketbeforetakingreadings.Itmaybenecessarytoallowtheprobetoremainintheair
pockedforafewhourstoreachequilibrium.Inadditiontomeasuringthetemperatureandrelativehumidityinsidethehood,
theambienttemperature,relativehumidityanddewpointoutsideandadjacenttothehoodshouldalsobemeasured.

Testfrequency:ASTMF242005(11)recommendsthreelocationsforthefirst1,000squarefeet,withanadditionallocation
foreach1,000squarefeetoffloorarea.Forongradeandbelowgradeslabs,testlocationsmustincludethecenterofthe
floorandareasclosetoexteriorwalls.

Acceptancecriteria:Acceptancecriteriaisnotprovidedinthestandard.

PlasticSheetTest(ASTMD426383,Reapproved2005)Floors.ThismethodisaddressedinASTMD426383
(2005),StandardTestMethodforIndicatingMoistureinConcretebythePlasticSheetMethod.

Althoughthestandardwasdevelopedforcoatingsystempreparation,itisalsousedintheflooringindustry.Thisisanon
destructivetestthatrequiresfirmlytapingtheperimeterofasheetofplastic(measuringapproximately18inx18in)tothe
floorandallowingittoremaininplaceforaminimumof16hours.Attheendoftheexposure,theundersideofthesheetand
surfaceoftheconcretearevisuallyexaminedforthepresenceofmoisture.Photos5and6includedunderthediscussionon
wallsdepicttheplasticsheettest.

Testconditions:Thetestingshouldbeconductedwhenthesurfacetemperatureandambientconditionsarewithinthe
specifiedparametersfortheapplicationofthecoatingsystem.Thetestsitesshouldbeoutofdirectsunlightordirectheat.
Iftheplasticsheetisdamagedduringthetest,theresultsmaynotbereliable.

Testfrequency:ASTMD4293recommendsatestfrequencyofonelocationper500squarefeetoffloorarea,orportion
thereof.

Acceptancecriteria:Acceptancecriteriaarenotexplicitlystatedinthestandard,butcoatingsaretypicallynotappliedifthe
testindicatesthatmoistureisvisiblypresent.

ElectronicMoistureMeters(ASTMF265910Floors.TheuseofelectronicmoisturemetersisaddressedinASTM
F265910,StandardGuideforPreliminaryEvaluationofComparativeMoistureConditionofConcrete,GypsumCementand
OtherFloorSlabsandScreedsUsingNonDestructiveElectronicMoistureMeter.

Thisisanondestructivecomparativetestinvolvingtheuseofanelectronicmoisturemetertomeasuretheelectrical
impedanceofthefloorbeneaththeinstrument.Thismethodprovidesaquickwaytoobtainanapproximationoftherelative
moisturecontentoftheconcrete.Accordingtothestandard,themeasuredelectricalACimpedancevariesinproportionto
itscomparativemoisturecondition.

Thesignalfromtheinstrumentpenetratestoadepthfrom0.5into1.0in.dependingonthedensityofthematerialsbeing
examinedandthemoisturecontent.Therelativemoisturecontentisdisplayedontheinstrumentscaleineithercomparative
unitsoraspercentageofmoisture.Thestandardindicatesthatclassificationsofmetersthatusethistechnologyare
impedance,capacitancebased,andelectricalfieldchangedetectingdevices(Photo4).Forquantitativeassessmentsof
moisturecontent,theanhydrouscalciumchlorideorrelativehumidityprobetestingshouldbeusedinstead.

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Photo4:Floormoisturedetectionusingelectronicmoisturemetersis
addressedinASTMF265910.

Testconditions:Thefloorslabshouldbeatservicetemperatureandtheoccupiedairspaceabovethefloorshouldbeatthe
servicetemperatureandrelativehumidityforatleast48hourspriortotesting.Ifthisisnotpossible,thetestshouldbe
conductedwithconditionsat75F10Fand50%10%relativehumidity.Theconcretesurfacemustbecleanandfreeof
coatings,adhesive,andothermaterial.Ifcoveringsareremoved,thetestareashouldbeexposedtheaboveconditionsfor
24hourspriortotesting.

Theambienttemperatureandrelativehumidityabovetheslabinthevicinityofrepresentativetestareashouldbemeasured,
togetherwiththeaveragesurfacetemperatureoftheslabwithin8inoftheareas.

Testfrequency:ASTMF2659recommendstestingatleasteightlocationsforthefirst1,000squarefeetoffloorarea,andat
leastfivelocationsineachadditional1,000squarefeet.Atleastonelocationistobewithin3feetofeachexteriorwall.At
eachtestlocation,threetofivereadingsaretobetakenwithina1squarefootarea,withthehighestreadingrecordedin
everycase.

Acceptancecriteria:Acceptancecriteriaarenotprovidedinthestandard,althoughelevatedreadingstypicallyindicatethe
potentialformoisture.Additionally,ASTMF710StandardPracticeforPreparingConcreteFloorstoReceiveResilient
Flooringdescribesaprocedurethatcombinestheuseofmoisturemetersandthepolyethylenesheettest,ASTMD4263.

Severalinstrumentreadingsaretakenjustbeforeapplyingthepolyethylenesheet,andagaininthesamelocationsafter
removingthesheet24hourslater.Ifthesecondreadingsexceedthefirst,itisanindicationofelevatedMVER.

Measuringmoisturecontentinconcretewalls
(CMU,brick,poured,precast,andtiltup)
Unlikethetestingoffloors,withtheexceptionoftheplasticsheettest,therearenoASTMstandardsgoverningthetesting
ofmoisturecontentinwalls,pretestsurfaceconditioning,ortestfrequency.Norareindustrydevelopedacceptancecriteria
available.

WhiletheASTMstandardfortherelativehumidityprobesisdesignedforfloors,therehavebeeninstanceswherethe
relativehumidityprobeshavebeenusedtoexaminewallcavities,soeventhoughastandarddoesnotexist,thetechnique
mayhaveapplicationsinvariouswalltypes.Electronicmoisturemetershavealsobeenusedonwalls,butagainwithoutthe
guidanceofferedbyASTMstandards.

PlasticSheetTest(ASTMD426383,Reapproved2005)Walls.Asindicatedaboveinthediscussionoffloors,this
methodisaddressedinASTMD426383(2005),StandardTestMethodforIndicatingMoistureinConcretebythePlastic
SheetMethod.Thetestmethodrecommendsatestfrequencyofonelocationper500squarefeetofwallarea,orportion
thereof,withaminimumofonetestforeach10feetofverticalriseinallelevationsstartingwithin1footofthefloor(ground).

Theuseofagoodqualitytapeandpreparationoftheareabeneaththetapeiscriticalonwalls.Onpreviouslycoated
surfaces,looseefflorescence,chalkanddirtshouldberemovedandatapewithgoodadhesivequalitiesusedotherwisethe
tapewilldetachfromthesurface.Acceptancecriteriaarenotexplicitlystatedinthestandard,butcoatingsaretypicallynot
appliedifthetestindicatesthatmoistureisvisiblypresent(Photos5and6).

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Photo5:Plasticsheettestinplaceovernight.

Photo6:Moisturevisiblebeneathplastic.

Moisturetestinginstrumentswalls
Threecategoriesofcommerciallyavailableinstrumentsarediscussedbelow(thecategoriesarenotbasedanystandards
theyhavebeendevelopedforthepurposeofthispaper).Whilemanyoftheinstrumentsinthecategoriesbelowaretypically
usedonfloors,somearealsousedonCMU,brickandconcretewalls.

MoisturemeterCategoryA,radiofrequencymeter.Thisinstrumentutilizesradiofrequencytoassessandmonitorthe
relativemoisturelevelinporousmaterialssuchasconcrete.Theinstrumentfromonemanufacturerprovidesreadingsona
relativescaleof0999.

Theinstrumentdisplaysresultsusingbothacolorandanumber.Thegreenzoneisfrom0to145unitsandsignifiessafe
airdryconditions.Theyellowzoneisbetween146and230unitsandsignifiesmoisturelevelsarehigherthannormalbut
notcriticalfurtherinvestigationisrecommended.Theredzoneisgreaterthan230unitsandrepresentsexcessive
moisturelevels.

Thelevelsanddescriptionsarespecifictothismanufactureronlyandarenotbasedonindustrystandards.Photos7and8
showlowandhighmoisturereadingsonthemortarjointsofanhistoricbrickbuilding(greenandredzonesrespectively).

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Photo7:Low(green)readingonmortar.

Photo8:High(red)readingonmortar.

MoisturemeterCategoryB,electricalresistance(conductivity)meter.Thisinstrumentutilizesconductivitytodetermine
moisturecontent.Twocontactpinsontheendoftheinstrumentarepushedagainstthetestsurfacetomeasurethe
conductivityofthematerialbetweenthepins.Onemanufacturerrecommendsdrivingmasonrynailsintothesurfaceabout
inchindepthandtouchingtheprobetotheheadofthenails(Photo9).

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Photo9:MasonrynailsaredrivenintomortarjointsofCMUto
assessthemoisturebelowthesurface.

TheinstrumentinPhoto9displaysanumericalreadingthatclassifiestherelativemoisturecontentinthreegeneralranges:

Green<85units(<2%moisturecontent)

Yellow85to95units(2%to4%moisturecontent

Red>95units(>4%moisturecontent)

MoisturemeterClassificationC,electricalimpedancemeter.Althoughtypicallyusedforfloors,thisinstrumentutilizes
electricalimpedancetodeterminemoisturecontent(theinstrumentontheleftinPhoto4).

Theelectricalimpedanceismeasuredbycreatingalowfrequencyelectricalfieldbetweentheelectrodesonthebottomof
theunit.Foroneofthemanufacturers,theconcretemoisturereadingsaredisplayedonamovingcoilmeterrangingfrom0%
to6%.

Thecombinationofplasticsheettestingandinstrumentreadings(preandpostinstallationoftheplastic)asdescribedin
ASTMF710,StandardPracticeforPreparingConcreteFloorstoReceiveResilientFlooring,mayalsoprovidemeaningful
resultsforwalls.

Industryacceptancerangesformoisturecontentinwallsarenotavailable,norisguidanceprovidedforthelocationand
frequencyofmeasurements.Typically,specificationsonlyrequirethatthesurfacebedry.

Basingdecisionsonvisualobservationsisrisky,asitdoesnotindicatewhetherdetrimentalamountsofmoistureare
presentbeneaththesurface(Photos7and8demonstratehowappearancealonecannotberelieduponformakingdecisions
regardingmoisture).Unlessthecoatingsmanufacturerspecificallymandatesmoisturetestingusinginstrumentation,itis
oftenignored.

Measuringmoisturecontentthroughroofingmaterials
Theauthorhashadsuccessusingoneoftheinstrumentsdescribedinthisdiscussiontodeterminetherelativemoisture
contentofthesubstratethroughroofingmaterialssuchassingleplymembranes.Specifically,thisapproachhasbeenused
todeterminethemoisturecontentonparapetwallswhendiagnosingthedisbondingofroofingmaterialsorcoatingfailureson
theoppositeside.

Photo10showstheuseofaradiofrequencydevicetochecktheCMUbackupwallbehindsingleplyEPDM.

Theconclusion:Confusionpersists
Moistureinconcreteispresentintheformofliquidwater(percent

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moisture)orwatervapor(relativehumidity),withdifferentinstrumentsor
methodsavailableformeasuringeach.Unfortunately,theresults
obtainedfromthevariousinstrumentsandtechniquescanbedifficultto
compare.Evenwhensimilartypesofmeasurementareinvolved(e.g,
percentmoisture),theresultsamongtheinstrumentsarefrequently
different,andthemethodsdonotalwaysindicatethepresenceof
moistureatthesamelocationswithinthesubstrate.Someassessthe
moistureatthesurface,someatvaryingdepthsinthesubstrate,and
somewithintheentireslab.

Acomparisonbetweenthepercentmoistureinasubstrateandrelative
humidityforvarioussubstratesisshowninFigure1.Figure1isfrom
thepublication,MoistureinConcreteandMoistureSensitiveFinishes
andCoatings,publishedbyCementConcrete&AggregatesAustralia
(CCAA).Thechartshowsthatapproximately75%RHinconcrete
equatestoamoisturecontentofapproximately2%.

TheCCAAalsopointsoutthatbecauseofthetinycapillariesin Photo10:Veryhighlevelsofmoisturedetected
concrete,aconcretesubstratecanbenearlysaturatedwithwaterand behindEPDM.
stillonlyregisteramoisturecontentofabout5%.Accordingly,a
relativelylowpercentageofmoistureinconcreteasdeterminedbytheinstrumentsmayrepresentanunacceptableamount
ofmoistureforpaintingorsealing.

Figure1:Moisturecontentandrelativehumiditycomparisonchart.

CementConcrete&Aggregates,Australia.

WhileASTMstandardsexistthatgoverntheconditioningoffloorspriortomoisturetestingandtestfrequencies,similar
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guidanceisnotavailableforwalls.Likewise,whilesomeacceptancecriteriahavebeendevelopedbymanufacturersoffloor
coatingsandcoverings,similarcriteriaaretypicallynotavailableforcoatingsappliedtowalls.Theresultisthatmost
specificationsfailtoaddressthemoisturecontentofwalls.

Evenwhenstandardsexist,anumberofdifferencesexist.Table1providesasummaryofthetypesofmoisturetestsused
forfloors,togetherwiththeunitsofmeasurement,locationofmoisturedetectionwithinthesubstrate,whetherstandardized
testfrequenciesareavailable,andifstandardizedorwidelyacceptedcriteriaforacceptanceareavailable.Table2provides
thesametypeofinformationforwalls(CMUandconcrete).

Onapositivenote,oneofthegoalsofthenewSSPCCommercialCoatingsCommitteeistoaddressalloftheseconcerns
throughthedevelopmentofaguidethatwillserveasanoverarchingdocumentforthetestingofmoistureinfloorsandwalls,
withindustrystandardsreferencedwhenavailable.

Table1:MoistureTestsUsedforFloors

Table2:MoistureTestsUsedforWalls

NewCommercialCoatingCommittee
todevelopguideonmoisturemeasurement
ThenewSSPCCommercialCoatingsCommitteewillmeetonFeb.1,duringtheSSPCNationalConventioninTampa.

Oneoftheimmediateactivitiesbeingundertakenbythecommitteeisthedevelopmentofaguideforthedetectionof
moistureinconcreteandmasonrysurfaces.Theguidewilladdressthelocationandfrequencyofmeasurements,the
schedulingoftestingwithintheconstructionormaintenancesequence,theinstrumentationthatisused,andinterpretationof
results.

Fourothercommitteemeetingsoncommercialcoatingsandflooringarescheduledthesameday.

Abouttheauthor
KennethA.TrimberispresidentofKTATatorInc.HeisaNACECertifiedCoatingsInspectorLevel
3,isanSSPCCertifiedProtectiveCoatingsSpecialist,andiscertifiedataLevelIIIcoating
inspectioncapabilityinaccordancewithANSIN45.2.6.Trimberhas40yearsofexperiencein
coatingsinspection,testing,andanalysis,isapastpresidentoftheSocietyforProtectiveCoatings
(SSPC),andischairmanoftheSSPCcommitteesonSurfacePreparation,VisualStandards,and

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Containment.HeisalsopastchairmanofASTMD1onPaintsandRelatedCoatings,Materials,and
Applications.HeistheauthorofTheIndustrialLeadPaintRemovalHandbookandcoauthorof
Volume2oftheHandbook:ProjectDesign.

TrimberischairofthenewlyformedSSPCCiommercialCoatingsCommittee(Architectural,
Commercial,Institutional).HewasnamedCoatingsSpecialistoftheDecadeattheSSPCNational
Conferencein1990,andisalsopasttechnicaleditoroftheJournalofProtectiveCoatings&Linings.
DURABILITY +DESIGN2011TechnologyPublishingCompany

KennethA.Trimber

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