Would you rather pay $2,500 to pre-test your building’s concrete slab for moisture, or spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace the flooring when it starts blistering and peeling away?
“Unfortunately, many developers, architects, and contractors skip the testing and take their chances,” says Lee Eliseian, founder and CEO of Independent Floor Testing & Inspection (IFTI) in Concord, Calif. “Only after suffering through a flooring or coating failure do they adopt the practice of pre-installation moisture testing.”
IFTI conducts interior concrete slab moisture tests prior to the installation of floor coverings or coatings. “We do an analysis and report on the conditions of the slab and how it could affect the moisture-sensitive fi nishes that will be installed,” he says. “We also provide a forensic service after a flooring failure, to get at the root cause of the problem.”
Problems usually become apparent within months after the floor covering or coating is installed. The flooring doesn’t stay bonded to the concrete substrate and may start to breach, allowing the cleaning solution to seep underneath and worsen the damage. “Imagine the cost to a hospital that has to shut down an operating room in order to fix a slab moisture problem and replace the newly installed flooring,” says Eliseian.
Slab pre-testing can give retailers an edge when they’re moving into buildings that have been vacated by other tenants. “We come in as part of a due diligence process during the lease negotiation, to get a good benchmark of what the slab moisture conditions are,” he says. “If adverse conditions are identified, they can decide early on who is going to shoulder the cost of slab moisture mitigation.”
A field technician from Independent Floor Testing & Inspection conducts diagnostic tests that are used to determine why this floor is losing its bond with the concrete substrate. “Performing a concrete slab moisture test first would have identified the problem in the first place,” says IFTI CEO Lee Eliseian.