Yes, concrete is solid. It’s hard and unyielding when you stand on it. However, concrete is also extremely porous, and it’s relatively easy for liquids and vapors to seep through the material.
It’s not uncommon for concrete to be treated or have additional layers added to prevent moisture from compromising the concrete or the flooring topcoat placed above it. Known as vapor mitigation systems, or moisture mitigation, there are several techniques which can be employed – but all have the same purpose – sealing off the concrete to prevent wetness from permeating the surface and compromising the integrity of the substance.
When Vapor Mitigation Is Needed
There are numerous situations where vapor mitigation systems may be necessary. These include, but are not limited to:
- Concrete being built upon underlying ground which is high in moisture.
- The concrete being used in a building where ground-level moisture is common.
- Areas with high levels of atmospheric humidity.
- Applications where spills or soaking will be common.
A vapor or moisture mitigation system can also help in situations where flooring is being laid under a very tight time frame. When contractors are pressed for time, they may begin laying materials like tiling on top of the concrete before it is 100% dried and hardened. This traps moisture within the concrete and virtually guarantees it will leak out later unless something is done to prevent that leakage.
The Dangers of Moisture and Vapor in Concrete
Simply put, a concrete floor or sub-flooring without proper moisture protection is likely to see a far shorter usable lifespan, require frequent repairs, and possibly even create dangers to those working above it.
Too much moisture can weaken the concrete itself, leading to cracks or areas of instability. Such cracks only attract more moisture and thus perpetuate the problem. This can be an especially dangerous situation when larger equipment, such as forklifts, are being driven on the concrete.
For areas topped with tiles, linoleum, or similar products, the moisture in the concrete will work its way upwards and cause bubbles, peeling, or cracks in the top layer. This can create tripping hazards for workers, as well as looking like the floor is poorly maintained.
Trust Black Bear to Protect Your Concrete
Black Bear Coatings & Concrete has over twenty-five years of combined expertise installing concrete floors and coatings – including epoxy, MMA, polished concrete, and urethane top coats. We value-engineer flooring to last longer, and keep you in compliance. We work with each client individually to fully understand how a space will be used to formulate the right solution.
Contact us for a full consultation and to learn whether a vapor mitigation system can help maintain your concrete floors.