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BUILD RIGHT

WHEN IS A CONCRETE
SLAB DRY ENOUGH?
Covering a concrete slab too soon can result in the floor covering being
damaged. To get the timing right, it helps to understand what the various
measurements are telling you.
By Malcolm Cunningham, BRANZ Principal Scientist

T
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Concrete relative humidity (%)
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ESJFT'JHVSFTIPXTNPJTUVSFQSP¾MFTUISPVHI 
Depth (mm)

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BNCJFOU BJS 8IJMF DPODSFUF JT ESZJOH  JU Concrete moisture content (%)
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Concrete moisture content (%)


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5.5% moisture content

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NBOVGBDUVSFST UP TQFDJGZ XIFO DPODSFUF
JT ESZ FOPVHI UP BMMPX UIFJS QSPEVDU UP CF

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)PXFWFS  'JHVSF  TIPXT UIBU DPODSFUF 
          
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Ambient relative humidity (%)
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JT  *G UIF BNCJFOU SFMBUJWF IVNJEJUZ JT
'JHVSF4PSQUJPODVSWFGPSDPODSFUF
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BUILD"QSJM.BZ25
DPOUFOUPGDPODSFUFJTBMTPMPXFS BU*OPUIFSXPSET BUMPXFS
IVNJEJUJFT DPODSFUFXJUIBNPJTUVSFDPOUFOUJTTUJMMWFSZXFU 
BOEBQQSPYJNBUFMZMJUSFTQFSNNPSFNPJTUVSFIBTTUJMMUPCFESJFE
PVUPGJU
5IFVQTIPU 0OMZQSPEVDUTUIBUDBOUPMFSBUFIJHINPJTUVSFDPOUFOU
TIPVMECFVTFEXIFOVTJOHUIFUSJHHFS¾HVSFPG

15 g/m2/24 hours
/PTUBOEBSEUFTUNFUIPETFFNTUPFYJTUUPDPO¾SNXIFUIFSUIFDPODSFUF
NPJTUVSFDPOUFOUJTCFMPX#VUCFDBVTFUIFSBUFPGFWBQPSBUJPO
GBMMT BT DPODSFUF ESJFT  TUBOEBSE UFTU NFUIPE "45. ' DBO
CFVTFEUPNFBTVSFUIJTSBUFPGFWBQPSBUJPO*GUIFFWBQPSBUJPOSBUFJT
GPVOEUPCFCFMPXHNIPVST JUJTVTVBMMZUBLFOBTJOEJDBUJOH
UIBUUIFDPODSFUFNPJTUVSFDPOUFOUJTCFMPX
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HNIPVST UIFDPODSFUFJTTUJMMWFSZXFU BOEPOMZQSPEVDUTUIBU
DBOUPMFSBUFIJHINPJTUVSFDPOUFOUTTIPVMECFVTFE

75% relative humidity


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JODMVEJOH HMVJOH XIFSF OFDFTTBSZ  DBO TBGFMZ CF VOEFSUBLFO 5IF
TPSQUJPO DVSWF TFF 'JHVSF 
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5IJT UFTU JT VOEFSUBLFO XJUI BO &EOFZ ¿PPSJOH IZHSPNFUFS "
EFTDSJQUJPO PG UIF IZHSPNFUFS BOE IPX UP VTF JU DBO CF GPVOE JO
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0ODF UPQQFE  UIF NPJTUVSF SFEJTUSJCVUFT JUTFMG UP B VOJGPSN NPJTUVSF
DPOUFOUUIBUNBZCFBTIJHIBT SFMBUJWFIVNJEJUZ

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CFFOSFEVDFECZUIFGPSDFESZJOH XIJMFUIFJOUFSJPSPGUIFDPODSFUF 
XIJDIJTXIBUSFBMMZDPVOUT IBTSFNBJOFERVJUFXFU

What can happen


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Z TXFMMJOHBOEMJGUJOHPGUJNCFSPWFSMBZT
Z NPJTUVSFCVCCMFTVOEFSWJOZMTBOEPUIFSSFTJMJFOUTIFFU¿PPSJOH
Z DSBDLJOHPGUJMFT UZQJDBMMZEVFUPDPODSFUFTISJOLBHF

Z DPOEFOTBUJPOVOEFSDBSQFUVOEFSMBZ
Z MPTTPGBEIFTJWFCPOEGPSGVMMZBEIFSFE¿PPSJOH

26BUILD"QSJM.BZ