Concrete Slabs and Moisture Damage

Concrete and Moisture damage:

The following information is intended as general information surrounding Concrete Slab and Moisture damage cleanup. No two water losses are alike, and each situation must be treated based on the unique needs of the water loss and associated environment. Before tackling any water loss, it is highly recommended that building owners seek out an American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC) qualified consultant, i.e. Council-certified Microbial Consultant (CMC), Council-certified Indoor Environmental Consultant (CIEC), Council-certified Moisture Control Consultant (CMCC), and a Council-certified Structural Drying Supervisor (CSDS) to handle the drying aspect of the project. Each of the aforementioned require a minimum of eight (8) years to become certified in their field. An ACAC qualified consultant is highly recommended to monitor your project assuring all are working in the best interest of the Owner.

Due to controlling cost, more and more moisture mitigation contractors appear to be missing or over looking a very important aspect of the drying process when it comes to concrete and concrete slabs during water damage losses. When super storms or unusual rain fall impacts large areas like Louisiana, often times the slab is not addressed in order to keep cost to a minimum. This consideration only causes additional and more costly clean-up further down the road. See below for some helpful information.

Flow Rate and Water Pressure: Water volume (flow rate) and water pressure at the time of a water loss are important factors when determining any water damage event. The available water discharge can be limited to the size of the supply line and the water pressure at the time of the loss.

Water Damage, Now What: The first approach should be to stop the water intrusion. Remove any excess or surface moisture wherever possible. Moisture removal is the secondary phase of starting the drying (restorative) process. Moisture removal is about fifteen times quicker than evaporation. The building, and building materials, and personal items should be addressed ASAP once the water has been stopped. The sooner the moisture source is addressed, the building, building materials, and personal items can begin to be stabilized.

Professional Drying Equipment: Depending on the amount of water, temperature, relative humidity, and materials, professional drying equipment may be the best means of restoring the building or building materials back to pre-loss condition.

Concrete Slabs: Whenever concrete slabs are involved the concrete must be part of the drying process. When concrete is left undried, the concrete becomes a moisture source for other building materials allow microbial proliferation to occur. Mold is more likely to occur when the drying program has not included the concrete. The mold may go undetected for some time until professional intervention begins. Concrete is like a hard sponge. It absorbs moisture quickly although releases moisture much more slowly. Concrete can take up to twenty eight days to properly dry. Sampling should be part of the drying program to ensure the concrete has been restored back to the pre-loss moisture content.

Building Materials: During a water loss event, the source of the water intrusion is also important. If the moisture source is from a washer, toilet over flow, or a sewage pipe the moisture must be dealt with having the workers and occupants safety in mind. The drying industry has determined that moisture escapes should be categorized in order to be sure safety is addressed whenever required. Water losses are categorized as a Category-1, Category-2, or a Category-3 water loss.

CATEGORY 1: Water which originates from a source that does not pose substantial risk from dermal, ingestion or inhalation exposure is said to initially be Category-1. Such exposures do not present signi cant risk to the occupants of the structure.

CATEGORY 2: Category 2 water contains significant contamination
and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans.

CATEGORY 3: When the fluid in the structure has become so contaminated that there is a high degree of certainty that the health of the occupants is at risk, the category of the project should be declared a Category 3 water loss. NOTE: The health of workers MUST be considered a priority.

When moisture comes into contact with building materials, the building materials may absorb the moisture as well any contaminants being carried. The longer the escape has gone undetected, building materials coming into contact with the water may absorb the water and contaminants.

Category Transition: Water which escapes a clean supply plumbing system, i.e. bath or kitchen supply fixture is considered Category-1 (potable) water until it comes into contact with surfaces which are not sanitary or have residue from cleaning episodes is no longer considered Category-1. Anytime moister comes into contact with an unclean surface, or a surface containing cleaning chemicals, the water may be a Category-2 or Catefgory-3 water loss.

Concrete containing Category-2 and Category-3 water damage must be considered when drying is required.

Water Damage From Above Locations: When moisture flows from above spaces, it will take the path of less resistance. This may include attic spaces, floors, ceilings, or wall cavities. These interstitial spaces may contain build-up or organic materials as well excrements matter resulting from pest, i.e. anthropoid or mouse droppings, etc. Without testing, it may be difficult to determine if rodent excrements are carried along with the water damage, i.e. bat guano (dung, or droppings). Therefore not all moisture damage is a Category-1 water damage project even though the moisture appears as a Category-1 loss.

For more information, or you would like to have ENVIRONMENTAL AIRTECHS consult on your project, please call our office at 413.569.8890.