Why Floors Fail

Why Do Floors Fail?

Moisture Related Problems in Concrete Slabs

Here are the damaging effects of high Moisture Vapor Emission and Alkalinity:

  1. Adhesive re-emulsifying
  2. Lumps and uneven floors
  3. Blisters in flooring materials
  4. Tile Peaking and curling
  5. Flooring Discoloration
  6. Visual high efflorescence (build-up of alkali under flooring materials)
  7. Inadequate bond
  8. Odor from mold and mildew build-up


Moisture Related Problems in Concrete Slabs

Moisture vapor emission transmitted through concrete slabs can cause severe floor system damage and costly repairs, not to mention downtime to the facility owner or manager. There are typically two sources of moisture sources:

Ground Originated/run-off sources:

This can be very problematic when drainage efforts fail or there is an unforeseen amount of rain or other water sources within the region. This physical water may enter the building through the foundation, concrete joints/cracks and even the actual slabs.

Moisture vapor emission directly from the concrete slabs:

Excess water in the design mix (know as the water of convenience) is used primarily to place and finish the slabs. Without this water of convenience the concrete subcontractor could not successfully be able to consolidate and work the slabs in order to meet stringent final finish requirements. As this water de-hydrates out of the concrete it forms voids or microscopic capillary passages that allow moisture vapor emission to transmit contaminates or efflorescence to the surface.

All concrete is high in pH by nature. The pH value of new concrete will typically run between levels of 12 to 13. This element of the concrete design mix is very important to the binding effect between the Portland cement and the fine/medium/coarse aggregates along with the rebar. As moisture vapor travels through and from the concrete slabs it will bring the alkalinity (efflorescence/alkaline salts) to the surface and becomes the detrimental element that causes floors to fail their intended design.