A certified flooring inspector is an industry professional who is not directly involved in the construction project. As such, their independence and professionalism allows them to objectively inspect a flooring project without bias or conflict of interest. Certified flooring inspectors are unique in the fact that they are also certified concrete slab moisture testing technicians. As experts in both, these technicians assess projects at a much deeper level than most inspectors. In order to provide unbiased and accurate information, a certified flooring inspector should follow a predetermined moisture testing protocol.
Step #1: Specification Review
Most flooring projects start out missing the mark by providing unclear moisture testing specifications. A certified moisture testing professional should be involved in the early stages of the project in order to review and update the specification to the most current standards and best practices. Clear specifications will also include a plan for the numerous possible outcomes of the testing. This way, a proactive plan is in place so that unnecessary delays can be avoided.
Step #2: Field Observations
A certified flooring inspector provides an extra set of eyes to make sure best practices are followed during the flooring installation. As an independent professional, a flooring inspector should draw the project manager’s attention to possible issues during construction, ranging from standing water on the slab, improper use of a vapor retarder, to an inoperable HVAC system -- issues that could potentially cause a flooring failure.
Through field observations, the flooring inspector can determine exactly which concrete moisture tests should be conducted, as well as when the testing should be conducted.
Step # 3: Concrete Moisture Testing
The actual concrete moisture testing is the essential step in the process. Certified flooring inspectors use the most sophisticated equipment and testing procedures available to conduct the most accurate testing possible. The Calcium chloride test (ASTM F1869), is the original moisture test, and provides the best method for determining the moisture conditions on the top layer of the slab. Knowing the top layer is important because it can help inform a contractor if a chemical sealant should be applied, but it is not enough to certify moisture levels of the entire slab. The best testing method to retrieve internal slab moisture data is relative humidity (RH) testing (ASTM F2170).
Acquiring moisture data from both the surface (calcium chloride) and internal levels (relative humidity) provides the contractor with a comprehensive understanding of the moisture levels in and on the surface of the slab. Having the full picture provides peace of mind that manufacturer’s guidelines will be met for all of the flooring products.
Step #4: Reporting
A certified inspector will perform a thorough investigation, record observations and test data, and document all testing through photographs. This data is then compiled into a comprehensive moisture testing report, providing a thorough explanation of the tests conducted as well as their outcomes.
Step #5: Recommendations
Through detailed data analysis, a flooring inspector can provide recommendations for the most effective and appropriate next steps for the site, whether it’s moisture mitigation, a flooring product reevaluation, or simply an “all clear.”
Concrete moisture testing is an essential element of any construction project where flooring will be installed. If you have questions about the need for testing or the services that a certified flooring inspector can provide, contact an IFTI professional at (800) 490-3657. We’d be happy to help.