Oversimplification of Moisture Testing.

By Andrew Rynhart, Managing Director, Tramex Ltd.
Moisture problems in flooring originate from various sources and can affect floor coverings in different ways. 
The effect of moisture issues will be more or less severe depending on variables such as concrete density and quality, ambient site conditions and the regional climate. As these variables are so influential, they also need to be measured and compared. 
With some guidance, flooring installers can identify when moisture problems clearly exist and when they don’t. But more importantly, they should be able to identify the gray area where their data raises further questions. 
The key to best practice is understanding this gray area, as it is commonly found on many job sites. However, much of the available information on moisture testing is aimed at showing why one test is better than any other, and why the others don’t compare. This can distract from seeing the complete picture.
When flooring installers make decisions based on single pieces of data, it can lead them to make incorrect decisions, costing them and their clients unnecessary time and money. Initial decisions need to be based on at least three types of readings:  
Preliminary moisture mapping of the slab, as per F2659, helps identify moisture problems from within the concrete or originating from the surface, such as dew point / condensation issues or leaks.
By comparing the moisture map with the on-site ambient relative humidity readings and surface temperature, it is possible to separate dew point / condensation issues from other potential moisture problems and deal with them separately. 
These results make it easy to know where to set RH probes for F2170.
Further testing can be very beneficial but may require a higher level of training. Fortunately, there are quality training courses within the industry. They take a certain degree of time, skill, and knowledge to complete, but they can be of great benefit when a flooring company invests in them. By doing so, flooring companies can expand their reputation and reduce their problems as they develop their own in-house flooring inspectors.
Unless they have this level of in-house training, flooring companies should not hesitate to work with independent inspectors or testing companies, especially when unsure about their data due to anomalies or borderline readings. Good independent inspectors and testing companies will pay for themselves by helping flooring companies avoid problems and reduce the cost of unnecessary mitigation. 
Added 08 Jun 2015 Author: Tramex
Oversimplification of Moisture Testing.