Concrete Moisture Testing Methods

concrete moisture testing

The fundamentals of Concrete Moisture Testing

How to test concrete for moisture?

The most reliable and comprehensive concrete moisture test measures both the moisture content and relative humidity of a  concrete floor or slab.

The Tramex Complete Concrete Moisture Test System evaluates:

  1. Surface % Moisture Content 
  2. In-situ % Moisture Content 
  3. In-situ % RH 
  4. Dew Point
  5. Concrete Surface Temperature. 

This testing system, also known as the 5 point test, provides the most detailed and extensive picture of both the moisture content and relative humidity of the concrete floor slab. 
At the time of installing a floor covering, the Installation Quick Check Test is the most effective moisture test method to avoid costly moisture-related failures of floor coverings or coatings.

Tramex provides reliable moisture meters and comprehensive concrete moisture test kits for accurately measuring moisture content in concrete floors and slabs.

Why is it important to test concrete for moisture?

Before a concrete slab is covered with floorboards, adhesives or coatings, it needs to meet the ‘dry’ requirements recommended by the floor covering manufacturer. If these conditions are not met, the chance of floor failure increases.

Concrete moisture testing is crucial, whether it is a newly poured slab or an older concrete floor. 

By performing the appropriate concrete moisture test or tests correctly, and by adhering to the covering manufacturer recommendations, you can be assured of a successful job completion.

When should a moisture test be done?

Concrete floor slabs and screeds should be tested regularly during the drying period, to help evaluate and control the drying process, and to ensure that the substrate has reached sufficient dryness before the floor covering is installed. 

Concrete should also be tested for moisture immediately before and during the flooring installation process to avoid any dew point related moisture issues.

What are the standard methods for concrete moisture testing?

There are international standards for testing concrete, such as ASTM F2659, F2170, British Standards BS 8201, 8203 and 5325.
These standards include one or more of the following test methods:

Both of these tests are included in the Tramex Complete Moisture Test System - the 5 point test.

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Complete Concrete Moisture Test

The Tramex Complete Concrete Moisture Test System

Tramex has developed this comprehensive and dependable Complete Concrete Moisture Test System using reliable instruments specifically designed and calibrated for concrete floors and screeds.

This 5-step testing method includes the measuring of:

  1. ambient conditions

  2. slab surface temperature 

  3. moisture content % in the top layer with non-destructive impedance test 

  4. moisture content % deeper into the concrete base with the in-situ Concrete Moisture Probe test  (can be used in the same hole as required for ASTM F2170)

  5. in-situ Relative Humidity as per ASTM F2170

Performing all these tests correctly provides a complete picture of the moisture content within the slab. 

Accurate assessment of moisture related issues within a concrete floor slab can require multiple testing methods. The cause of the problem often determines the mitigation process.

This Complete Concrete Moisture Test System is performed to determine if a newly poured slab is dry enough, but it can also be used in the water damage restoration industry to check if a water damaged floor has dried out sufficiently.

If the concrete subfloor is found to meet the dry standards, we would still recommend performing the Installation Quick Check Test at the time of installation of a floor covering. 

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How to perform the Tramex Complete Concrete Moisture Test System

Installation Quick Check Test

The Installation Quick Check Test has been developed by Tramex to help flooring installers accomplish successful floor installations.

When carrying out a non-destructive impedance test on concrete, it is vitally important to ascertain and take note of the ambient temperature and humidity conditions in the room.

Ambient conditions can cause dew-point issues, which in turn can result in condensation to form on the concrete slab surface, leading to high impedance readings. This can potentially result in floor failure.


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Installation Quick Check Test

How to perform the Installation Quick Check Test

Non-destructive impedance testing of concrete

The Tramex non-destructive impedance test measures the percentage moisture content in the top ¾ inch (20mm) of the slab, using either of the Tramex Concrete Moisture Encounters CME5 or CMEX5.

These concrete moisture meters instantly determine precise quantitative measurement of moisture content % in concrete, using Gravimetric testing as a baseline.

Although the ASTM F2659 standard does not specify the use of a quantitative moisture meter, conducting the impedance test with a calibrated, quantitative concrete moisture meter will provide accurate moisture content % readings, as opposed to a comparative meter which only provides a relative indication.

Using a quantitative meter can prove essential as many flooring manufacturers' guidelines require actual moisture content % (%MC) readings.


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non-destructive impedance test
In-situ Relative Humidity test in concrete

In-situ Relative Humidity test in concrete

When performing a Relative Humidity test in a concrete slab it is very important to follow the international industry guidelines such as ASTM F2170, BS8201 and BS8203.

The in-situ RH test requires a hole to be drilled in the concrete slab, into which a hole liner and relative humidity sensor are placed. The industry standard guidelines provide specific instructions on how to correctly perform the in-situ RH test to ensure reliable results. 

Always refer to your flooring manufacturers' recommendations and check that your readings are within the specified parameters.


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