Three Tips To Control Moisture in Basement Tile Installations

In North America alone, it has been estimated that the cost of floor covering failures due to excessive moisture vapor emission from concrete floor slabs exceeds $1 billion per year. Learn how to prevent this from happening! 

Using moisture vapor barrier products in basement tile installations

Contractors are fielding more and more projects from homeowners who are looking to update their spaces to be more functional and beautiful. In June of 2020, Houzz reported home professionals and contractors saw a 58% increase in inquiries from homeowners regarding home extensions and additions. An underutilized space, such as a basement, could be the perfect solution for those homeowners looking for some extra space.

A basement renovation can be seen as a daunting task as it usually serves as a home’s hub for storing excess items that take up too much space elsewhere. But instead of letting this useful area go to waste, why not transform the basement into an inviting place for them to enjoy, while also boosting their home’s resale value? 

When taking on a basement renovation, a great place to start is with the flooring. A new tile installation can be a cost effective way to enhance a basement’s vibe and aesthetic because it’s durable, easy-to-clean and to maintain. A key consideration to remember is generally in areas subject to tornado activity or with foundations below the frost line such as in Canada and the American Midwest, basements commonly are affected by water or high moisture vapor damage. According to IFTI, in North America alone, it has been estimated that the cost of floor covering failures due to excessive moisture vapor emission from concrete floor slabs exceeds $1 billion per year. Installing new flooring coupled with professional moisture vapor emission mitigation products from LATICRETE can help provide peace-of-mind while minimizing issues that may arise in the future. 

Tile installers should be educated about what a successful tile installation looks like when it comes to updating a basement, which includes being informed on the necessary moisture vapor emission mitigation practices and how to mitigate any long-term damage. 

1. Determine How Much Moisture is on the Jobsite  
Moisture is the number-one cause of failed flooring installations, and basements are the most susceptible room in the home to water damage. If customers take the risk and don’t have their basement floors tested and treated for moisture, there is an increased probability that mold and mildew will grow. Prior to installation, contractors should pay attention to the landscape outside the house. If the ground around the foundation slopes away from the home, that will help shed water that comes off of the roof, if foundation drainage is not available. However, if there’s an excess of water collecting in low spots around the foundation and proper drainage is not installed, water can inevitably find a way into the basement. 

To determine exactly how much moisture vapor emission and concrete RH is present, there are various approaches and testing methods that can be used to assess moisture conditions, such as using relative humidity meters in accordance with ASTM F2170. It is important to remember that although testing is essential, the results can only indicate what the current situation looks like and cannot guarantee moisture will not become a problem in the future. 

2. Use Proper Products Based on the Application 
Once moisture testing is complete, installers should consult manufacturers about the products they wish to use prior to installation. With floor sensitive materials such as luxury vinyl tile, vinyl composition tile and carpet tiles, it is imperative to address any water infiltration and moisture vapor concerns and which products can combat them early on in the construction process. Addressing moisture vapor emissions should be a key component of proper surface preparation. If not addressed, it could result in additional costs and repair time for flooring installation failures in the long run. 

This step will easily save contractors headaches down the road when costly repairs may ensue from improper choices. Choosing LATICRETE as your single source of materials for a complete system is a great advantage and offers you peace of mind to ensure product compatibility and full systems warranties

3. Control Moisture Vapor in the Basement’s Interior 
Protecting the home’s interior from moisture is the next step in helping to prevent moisture vapor from getting into the concrete. Selecting the right LATICRETE products for the job is just as important and is why it is essential for the installer to work closely with us for recommended guidelines. A moisture vapor barrier product is highly advised for use before placing underlayments or finished flooring in these conditions.

Tile installation on basement floor

The Key to a Long Lasting Floor Install 
A successful basement floor redesign will not only add value to a home, but will also allow homeowners to explore other ideas that they often can’t apply to their main living spaces. When considering remodeling a basement, keep in mind that the need for moisture protection has become a significant step in the process to avoid costly issues down the road. 

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