Substrate testing is often pushed onto the flooring contractor who then fails to take the tests according industry standards. Taking tests according to industry standard (ASTM), in a commercial setting, can be a complicated and expensive process.
National standards call for 3 tests for the first 1000 sqft of installation area and 1 test for every 1000 sqft thereafter, with strict rules that govern test placement and test area preparation.
The risks for the flooring contractor are obvious:
1. He cannot protect against multiple tests being spoiled on site by other trades disturbing (spoiling) the tests.
2. If the tests fail, who will pay for the next round?
Re-testing costs quickly add up, as does the pressure to take short cuts. The risk for the building owner is also obvious… no assurance that moisture tests will be taken properly unless a third party testing agency is used.
The NFCA Floor Covering Reference Manual states:
- Moisture and alkalinity tests shall be conducted by an independent third party testing agency using testing methods and devices in accordance with NFCA requirements and the floor covering manufacturer's recommendations. In multiple story buildings each floor level shall be tested. All test locations shall be marked on As-Built Drawings.
- It shall be the responsibility of the General Contractor or Building Owner to provide and pay for such testing in a timely manner.
a. Raise awareness of how sensitive many flooring products are to small amounts of moisture.
b. Understand how long it takes concrete to become dry enough to receive flooring.
c. Create acceptable site conditions early enough so that substrates have a chance to dry.