Gymnasium Construction Trivia
The concrete beneath gym flooring must not only be perfectly flat, but also completely dry. If it isn’t completely dry, the flooring that goes over it may experience major issues, such as debonding, blistering, buckling, or adhesive failure due to water vapor.
On the job site, the race is on to dry out the concrete slab in time for the installation of the flooring. Whether it’s wood, synthetic sports flooring, or vinyl tile. Each flooring material has an industry standard for how dry the concrete substrate must be before it can be used. Also, each product maker may have their own specification.
Weather, the amount of water in the ready mix concrete, water, sand, lime, and aggregate (stone) that concrete is built of, the mix design, and the period between mixing and placement all affect the qualities of the concrete. Some or all of these conditions may combine to make a floor slab too wet to accept flooring material.
The process of drying out the concrete is primarily a question of time. But it can be sped up by using certain procedures right after the slab is poured and others after the building is enclosed. Floor tests must be performed after the air-conditioning system has been in service for at least 48 hours. This provides time for water vapor to travel and the humidity inside the building to stabilize.
A dry slab begins with a dry building site and ends with a properly installed vapor barrier beneath the slab on grade. A vapor barrier is a sheet of plastic that is normally placed between the stone or sand base and the concrete and is at least 6 mm thick. During construction, the product is protected because punctures in the barrier allow water vapor to get through. This can make the slab’s moisture content difficult to overcome.
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