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What to Know Before You Install Your Concrete Floor

The basement is one of the first places we think of renovating when looking to increase the usable square footage in our homes. In an ideal situation, it would be nice to paint and refinish the floor and begin looking at it like a functional space. What many are not aware of is that problems that can exist in a basement may not even show signs or symptoms. Some of the more common issues can be dry rot, humidity problems, slow leaks and moisture intrusion.

While it may be simple to see moisture in your windows via condensation or moisture behind your walls, what can even be more threatening to your investment is moisture protruding from your concrete slab.

In severe cases, moisture in a concrete slab will exhibit symptoms like colour blushing, dark spots or a white powder growing from the floor. With evidence like this, it is obvious that something needs to be done in order to rectify the problem prior to installing expensive new flooring.

concrete moisture test ottawaThis is not a problem that can be put off until later or easily ignored because when you put something on top of your floor, it is no longer able to breathe and the moisture becomes trapped and can lead to mould.

Even in cases where there is no visual or olfactory evidence, there can be an underlying moisture problem. The only way to know for sure that you are not throwing money out the window when laying new hardwood, carpet, tile, laminated bamboo, marmoleum, cork or click flooring is to perform a moisture test.

Moisture tests can be done rather inexpensively by taping down a piece of clear plastic and monitoring it for moisture on the underside over a 48 hour period. This test is fairly crude compared to hiring a concrete professional to do a digital calcium chloride test.

For a cost of around $150, hiring a professional is an inexpensive insurance to protect the health of your family and your bank account. While ‘winging it’ may not often lead to disaster, when it does, recovering from it is certainly more expensive and time consuming than preparing for it well in advance, not to mention the impact on the environment when throwing out building materials that have become contaminated due to a moisture intrusion problem.

If you are planning on a DIY project for your basement flooring, contact a moisture test professional to acquire our moisture testing services and be sure your project is protected form moisture damage.

Some DIYers will go that extra mile and rent a home depot type floor scrubber or sander to prepare a slab. This is not only insufficient but can be dangerous for those untrained with concrete preparation. What’s needed for correct concrete surface preparation is a concrete grinder or a shot blaster and typically these machines cannot be rented.

The main difference between the cheap rental and professional tooling is the weight and power of the machine. The cheap rental simply is not heavy enough to place enough down pressure on the floor. You will end up with a machine in your hands that is sliding and skipping around and it will barely affect the surface. if you are creating your own floor, consider hiring a contractor to at least to the floor preparation.

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