Doing Things Right the First Time – Part One

Consider this typical – and all-too-frequent — scenario: A local high school installs new flooring in its gym. Less than two years later, the new gym floors are starting to blister. The building contractor and design architect are called in to assess the problem, and soon, all eyes turn to the flooring contractor. The manufacturer of the finished surface is contacted and joins in the analysis discussion.

Questions begin to surface –“Who performed the testing prior to floor placement? Where are the reports? Is this isolated or do we have a bigger problem that will expand over all areas? What assurance do we have that it can be fixed? And, who is liable for fixing it?”

Sadly, this scenario is all too common on commercial projects. In fact, the Intertech concrete specialists see moisture-related problems occur most frequently on high permeability concrete, new pours that require rapid turnaround, and where poor testing techniques were used.

No two moisture-related failures are alike, and that means no two solutions are alike. However, the first step in every situation is to determine the cause. We begin by gathering all information about the project, then testing for suspicion to eliminate any doubts or conclusions until there is a clear pathway to the present condition.

Remember that you are not treating symptoms; we have to uncover – pardon the pun – the underlying condition causing the symptoms. Moisture doesn’t just magically show up in a building, so determining the source of the moisture and completely controlling its access into the building must drive the solution. There is science involved here, with sound principle.

As a building owner or general contractor facing a concrete moisture issue, you should expect the concrete contractor to be able to explain in simple terms how their recommended product and its claims can be shown compatible to your specific problem. Otherwise, it may simply be a ‘hurry-up me-too’ product that has the potential to acerbate the problem.

Ask your contractor to explain the problem thoroughly, and how the material being recommended to fix the problem resolves the science and the physical condition of your surface. Lastly, be sure to ask how long similar projects with this same problem have been successfully performing with expected floor finish wearing life.

Doing things right the first time is our mantra. But if you do encounter a moisture issue, resolving them right the first time is your next best option.

Ask virtually any commercial general contractor to name some of the most costly and problematic challenges in their work, and you are likely to hear a common answer: moisture-related floorcovering issues. This is the first in a three-part blog series on best practices in concrete moisture mitigation by Intertech’s concrete experts.

Read the whole series on Floor Finishes: