Flooring Solutions for High Moisture Concrete

Joe Polito
July 29, 2022

Concrete is the foundation of most commercial construction projects, whether that be a new build or renovation of an older structure. But it’s not without its challenges. Working with a new or older substrate, concrete can hold onto and/or release moisture over time due to natural occurrences like relative humidity in the air, or ground moisture. Elevated moisture levels can exist for various reasons which may include faulty vapor barriers (or barriers not being present at all), lack of sufficient drainage, or improper curing processes upon the substrate application.

Identifying and undressing these situations are crucial to understand prior to selecting or installing a commercial flooring finish. Luxury vinyl and resilient sheet flooring (depending on the market segment or application area) are some of the most versatile options to use when high-moisture concrete is detected, however, care needs to be taken during installation to insure success.

There are a few reasons why LVT and resilient sheet are good choices.

The Use of Resilient Vinyl Flooring

Its non-porous construction makes it inherently resistant to moisture, and its flexible characteristics allow for ease of application upon surfaces that are less than even or have minor surface blemishes. While it is certainly recommended to level out surfaces prior to installation, both luxury vinyl and vinyl sheet flooring are pliable flooring materials that make sense for spaces that have sloping drainage needs or other reasonable substrate imperfections.

Beyond the material selection and and physical characteristics of luxury vinyl and resilient sheet flooring, the installation method and process is just as important and allow for various methods to ensure substrate moisture is kept under control.

Prepping your floors

Like any flooring project you might undertake, having a full understanding of the space you’re working with is vital. This way, you’re able to ensure you have all the right tools and resources to promote the longevity of your flooring installation.

Modern construction standards have improved to help reduce the risk of excess moisture lingering and compromising your flooring finishes. But if you’re renovating a space, chances are the concrete substrate has been there for a while, and you might not know much about it at all. In each instance, working alongside the manufacturer guidelines is crucial to the overall flooring performance.

When working with luxury vinyl flooring, there are a few steps to take prior to the installation:

  • Walk the jobsite and look for visual signs of moisture – whether new or renovation. Is there any standing water? Are there damp spots? Do you notice any discoloration or stains? Are there visible cracks and breakage of the concrete? Do you smell any odor or smell of mildew? If yes to any of these, moisture may be present.
  • With either new concrete slabs or with substrates that have been in place for some time, it is highly recommended to enclose the space and use an HVAC system to remove excess moisture from the space prior to the installation.
  • Perform moisture-specific tests to see how much moisture is in the concrete. Two suggested test are:
    • ASTM F1869 Calcium Chloride or Moisture Vapor Emission Rate (MVER): A test that helps to determine moisture levels at the surface level.
    • ASTM F2170 Relative Humidity Test: A more in-depth look at the body moisture of the concrete.

Upon signs of elevated moisture levels indicated by the results of the tests above, a professional specializing in substrate moisture mitigation is highly suggested.  Another approach to using luxury vinyl flooring in spaces that indicate moisture, use appropriate adhesives. TAJ uses two different flooring adhesives to ensure the longevity of its products, one of which specifically addresses high moisture needs. TAJ-U100 High Moisture Capable Wet Set Adhesive is a one-part chemistry adhesive making it a faster, more install-friendly alternative to 2-part epoxy systems. Engineered for heavy rolling loads and challenging environments, TAJ-U100’s waterproof design forms a robust moisture vapor barrier and can also take the elements introduced by topical liquids. Our expert team will work with you or your project manager to determine the best choice for your product.

TAJ has your ideal flooring solutions

When that time does come, TAJ is here to help. As a family-owned business, our values are focused on service and superior quality. We’ll take the time to make sure your flooring option meets the needs of your space for decades to come. Contact us today to learn more.

AUTHOR: Joe Polito
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