Is society to blame for the “I want it and I want it NOW’ entitlement that some people possess? Technology is speeding out of control and has put us in the fast lane for everything. The answer you seek once took extensive research and perhaps a visit to a library – whether the architectural library or the community library – and that answer is now at the tip of your fingers.
Google has completely changed the way we live, whether you are a user or not. As I tweeted this morning “Google is the modern day Big Brother. They are EVERYWHERE. Matter of are you trying to hide or be found?” Even if you live completely off the grid, I’m not even sure you can hide from Google. How easy is it to be found nowadays? While addressing Christmas cards last night, I was missing a few addresses. Within 3 minutes, I had the 3 addresses I need. So, if you can’t hide, you might as well try to be found.
Being in construction sales and marketing, it is my job to be found. Whether a specifier needs an architectural specification or an interior designer needs samples for their charette, I need to be Googleable, as do my keywords. When one of these parties reach out, what is the proper expectation for my response time? With smart phones, tablets and constant internet connectivity, my job is no longer 8 to 5, Monday through Friday. Even though that is what I am paid for, my job is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. And if I don’t make myself available 24/7/365? My competitor most likely will. Even though the specifier or interior designer gives a window of opportunity for me to respond, I know the early bird still gets the worm. It goes along with search engine results when you are looking for something. How often do you click through to page 2? Chances are, you are clicking on page 1 and you are finding what you are looking for within seconds.
This all ties back to our instant gratification society that we now live in. The internet and social media are entirely to blame for the ”I want it and I want it NOW’ entitlement that we live in. You can embrace it wholeheartedly or you can continue to live in denial. Our constant connectivity is not going anywhere and if anything, is getting worse. Our car dashboards are no longer just speedometers and odometers. Google Glass is on the horizon. You can choose to accept it all or get left behind. I choose to live and accept the former and am excited at the continued possibilities.
I’m quickly approaching seven years working in and around indoor sports flooring with Advantage Sport USA. Seven years of projects of all shapes and sizes ranging from 250 square foot residential basements to 30,000 square foot college field houses. Seven years of existing conditions, renovations, rehabilitations and new construction and the one constant that rears its ugly head on almost each job are the environmental conditions,including concrete moisture vapor emissions.
There are more than a few instances that can lead to high moisture in a concrete slab. Whether it is lack of a quality vapor barrier (or lack of one entirely), a fast track installation with insufficient time for the concrete to dry, an inoperable HVAC system (or again the lack of one altogether) or a plethora of other events. No matter the occurrence, it all equates to the same headaches after the fact. Normally fingers are pointed, voices are raised, materials are ripped out and unnecessary time and money is spent to potentially replace flooring that perhaps should have never been installed to begin with. Industry-speak may call it “flooring failure” but most of the time the flooring is performing exactly as it is supposed to. The adhesive on the other hand, may be completely failing.
As the built environment strives to become “greener”, VOCs have been lowered in flooring adhesives in order to make them compatible with indoor regulations. As the adhesive industry has moved towards water based and acrylic based solutions, they have become much more susceptible to concrete moisture vapor emissions. Even though the norm in the industry has raised from 3 lbs of moisture to 5 lbs, as per ASTM F1869-11 (Standard Test Method for Measuring Moisture Vapor Emission Rate of Concrete Subfloor Using Anhydrous Calcium Chloride), that limit can take substantial time to achieve.
Speaking of norms in the industry, growing acceptance has moved away from calcium chloride testing (a snapshot of what is happening on the slab) to relative humidity (RH) testing (what is going on inside the slab). Testing as per ASTM F2170-11 Standard Test Method for Determining Relative Humidity in Concrete Floor Slabs Using in situ Probes has become easier and easier with recently developed equipment, including testing probes that can be left in the slab. Even the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association (MFMA) has gone from not accepting RH testing to ONLY accepting RH testing previous to the installation of wood gym floor. Visit the MFMA website for more information.
There are multiple solutions on the market. The cheapest is normally waiting for the concrete to dry. Abrading the top layer of the slab can help speed us this process, however most floor coverings require a smooth, steel trowel finish for installation, so the abrading would have to be covered with a Portland-based cement. Costlier solutions can include topical moisture mitigation systems and depending on the city you are working out of can be extremely pricey. Some flooring manufacturers offer solutions such as on slab moisture barriers or are moving to adhesive free installations or adhesives that allow a very high rate of MVER.
The one true method to ensure a proper floor installation is information. You need to know your flooring, know your adhesive, know your thresholds of moisture vapor emissions, know your moisture testing, testing companies and protocols, know your installer, know your time constraints, know your materials. There is no tried and true answer or solution when it comes to concrete moisture. Moisture is always present in concrete slabs and by accepting it is there and how you can live with it could be your best bet.
Take an hour of your time and join the CSI Specifying Practice Group Meeting this Thursday (December 6) from 3-4pm ET as David Stutzman, CSI, CCS, AIA, SCIP, LEED AP and Louis Medcalf, FCSI, CCS lead a CSI discussion on “Slab Floor Moisture.”
To join the webinar, please use this link.
For more information on CSI and five different practice groups, please visit the CSI website.
Should you not be able to attend the webinar, you can join in on a tweetchat by using the hashtag #CSISPG, which is where you’ll find me @EricDLussier
The miscellaneous ramblings of Eric D. Lussier, CSI, CDT