Nursing Home Renovation - High Moisture Readings

Discussion in 'Flooring Potpourri' started by seaforrest, Sep 10, 2019 at 2:55 PM.

  1. seaforrest

    seaforrest Specifier

    We are about to replace flooring throughout an entire nursing home in south Louisiana. We will be installing both vinyl backed carpet tile and LVT. As feared, moisture readings are anywhere between 86% and 99%.

    There are several layers of VCT underneath the existing flooring which will have to be removed prior to our current install. Proper moisture mitigation procedures are not an option in a fully occupied nursing home environment because we won't have the downtime required. Demolition and re-install must be done quickly.

    Our materials were purchased from Masland Contract. They have not yet fully developed a high moisture adhesive with a 99% allowance to date. So we are looking at adhesive products from Shaw, XL Brands, WF Taylor, etc..... This is obviously not an ideal situation. Adhesive product recommendations would be appreciated.
     
  2. Commercial Floor Rep

    Commercial Floor Rep I Support TFP Published

    Aquaflex is the only adhesive on the market that offers a warranty for this high of moisture over existing slabs. He has a patent on the technology.

    Aquaflex - Commercial Waterproof Flooring Solutions

    Benny's got formulations for any type of flooring. So he can provide an adhesive for both the LVT and the carpet tile. He only sells direct, not thru distribution so you'll have to contact him directly to purchase. By the time you pay freight to ship it out of California your probably looking at about $1.50 / sf.

    Another option, since you're crunched for time might be Kovara AB 300.

    KOVARA® AB 300 | GCP Applied Technologies

    This isn't an adhesive but rolled sheet underlayment system. It might also help save some floor prep. This is a much more expensive option - $2.25 - $2.75 / sf.

    A third option might be to reach out to Spraylock. I've been involved with them on projects where they have come in and performed some testing and evaluations and then provided a warranty beyond what there standard warranty covers (98% Rh on there premium LVT adhesive). Probably the least expensive of the 3 options but will be dependent on whether Spraylock is interested in assuming the liability. If it's "chain" nursing home and there are multiple locations they might be interested in doing so if it secures future facilities for them.

    Hope that helps and wish you luck. Moisture in concrete problems consume about 30-50% percent of my (and my customers) time anymore so I feel your pain.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019 at 5:07 PM
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  3. Commercial Floor Rep

    Commercial Floor Rep I Support TFP Published

    Also, for what it's worth your going to want to clarify something with whomever you go with. And I would strongly advise you get this information in writing.

    Most adhesive manufacturers state their Rh limits based upon new construction slabs with an intact vapor retarder properly positioned and functioning. In other words, slabs with a finite amount of moisture in them.

    You're not dealing with that scenario. This is existing construction and most likely you have no intact vapor retarder. With no vapor retarder, you have an unlimited source of moisture and therefore are subject to whatever the ground conditions are underneath the slab. This is often referred to as "moisture of intrusion". This is dramatically impacted by the weather and the water table's proximity to the bottom of the slab, site drainage, and proper downspout placement are also critical. I've never been to your neck of the woods but I would surmise that "it ain't real dry down there" as the Mississippi drains through your state.

    Make sure that whomever you are dealing with understands the scenario and that they are providing you with information that reflects an old slab not a newly constructed slab. And again, get it in writing.

    Good luck my friend and I wish you the best.
     
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  4. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    I'm not feeling confident in any of that. The material blocks moisture from evaporating in the air. So, it's trapped underneath for accumulation to reach 100%, water.

    I can't understand how one nursing home we worked on was able to close off each wing, no one anywhere, doors locked. We passed on the other section as the check was taking too long. Sure would like to see how it all turned out.

    It's difficult to work on those places, normal places people fall on their ass from nt paying attention.
     
  5. seaforrest

    seaforrest Specifier

    Commercial Floor Rep.......Thanks so much for your very detailed, informative reply! I have already been through several flooring disasters related to moisture in these older buildings. It's been a massive expense and hard lessons learned. In most cases, we are having to pull up layers of old flooring with the old petroleum based adhesive that held up to any moisture issues. The installer team I am working with has already been through one litigation settlement with us, so understandably, they are very cautious to stand behind any of three new adhesives we have been researching because there are so many manufacturer disclaimers. My current project is in swampy Mandeville, LA which borders the infamous Lake Pontchetrain. (I probably spelled that wrong.) Water underneath this slab will always be present. I am eager to present the options you have listed with this team tomorrow. Ultimately, this decision is on me and so I will research every avenue, and yes, get any claims in writing. Great information! Thanks.
     
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  6. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

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  7. seaforrest

    seaforrest Specifier

    The only way that Nursing home could close off an entire wing would be low occupancy, which is probably why they were slow to pay. In a fully occupied older facility, we are lucky to even get a space to store materials inside. In this one, we have sectioned off a portion of their dining room just so the goods will have a place to sit and acclimate. It is never, ever easy.
     
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  8. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    24/7 occupied health care facilities are about as tough a buck as the flooring industry offers as far as challenges to both production and quality control. Add moisture problems in

    THE toughest buck------that I know of are the dentist offices. Tiny, tiny spaces with tons of electrical, plumbing, the chair, toe kicks, cubby holes. It's just as miserable and unproductive per square foot as it gets. At least we can do those on Fri night/Sat/Sun assuming the dentist can schedule accordingly.
     
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  9. seaforrest

    seaforrest Specifier

    What kind of moisture levels do you typically encounter? Have you used this successfully with 98-99%? That's what I'm facing.
     
  10. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    True, they had sold and corporate was out of state.

    I hope you comprehend slab grinding minimum for warranty most likely.(clean slab, no contaminants) asbestos tile? One heaping problem.

    Also you have mold issues. Ring released in air possibly from demo.
     
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  11. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    Occasionally the shop I install for tells me the specific moisture reading from the testing results but generally it's not something they need to tell me. I know when we're using the M99 that the tests exceeded 95%.
     
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  12. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    There are a number of new adhesives on the market that address your issues. What most folks have heard of is the aforementioned Aquaflex, WF Taylor also has one and Armstrong just introduced S-1000. If you follow CFR's advice from above I believe you can find something that will work.
     
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  13. seaforrest

    seaforrest Specifier

    This facility was built in 1993, so luckily we shouldn't be dealing with any asbestos tile. That really would be a nightmare. Based on past litigation experiences (and trust me, no one problem issue was ever the same as the last), I do understand the nightmare of warranty claims. High stakes risk for all parties involved. Hoping to address this particular problem project on the front end.
     
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  14. Commercial Floor Rep

    Commercial Floor Rep I Support TFP Published

    For what it's worth, in researching it what I've found is that Aquaflex makes the statement of 100% Rh without differentiating between existing slab or new slab. When you dig down into the ifs, and's, and why's and I've talked to several of the tech departments on this point, everyone else is ok with new slabs - again a finite amount of moisture theoretically - but not so much with existing slabs without an intact vapor retarder. I know for sure Taylor's Resolute holds that stance.

    It's not easy to even find information regarding these fine points in print. It's like they are trying to skirt the issue until you ask them directly.
     
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  15. Commercial Floor Rep

    Commercial Floor Rep I Support TFP Published

    Here's an example of what I'm talking about. V-88, which is very, very, extremely similar to Taylor 2091 (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) now has different ranges for moisture and pH depending on what you're doing with it and what it's going over.

    You can see that there's a significant drop in the range when going over an existing slab.
     

    Attached Files:

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  16. seaforrest

    seaforrest Specifier

    Very interesting. I don't understand why the age of the slab would make any difference, but Mannington has obviously had litigation related to such. And they only specified this ruling on the one adhesive, not all.

    Did you find that AquaFlex differentiated new slab vs. old slab in their specs? I have emailed an inquiry to AquaFlex and will be sure to ask. There is so much risk in this industry now that I can hardly ever submit an inquiry to installers and manufacturers and receive a firm response. Yesterday, I had my carpet rep email some of my adhesive choices to their technical team to request feedback on whether they would RULE OUT any of the options. I guess they even see that question as a backwards request for them to "guarantee" the other options, so I got a very non-committal response. (resulting in my decision to query this forum for insight)
     
  17. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    So this begs the question, Are YOU willing to accept the responsibility fr their unwillingness to do the project correctly? I have been involved in several nursing home renovations in my career, in each case when the ramifications were explained, arrangements were made to close down a wing at a time. I have also been involved (after the fact) with several failures because contractors tried to shortcut the work due to (not enough time/not enough money/insert your favorite excuse). You may or may not find a manufacturer who is hungry enough/stupid enough to warranty your project, under less than optimum conditions. Make sure to insulate yourself from liability from what looks like a sure failure.
     
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  18. Commercial Floor Rep

    Commercial Floor Rep I Support TFP Published

    It isn't so much the age of the concrete it's more that pretty much any slab older than 15-20 years old is highly likely to not have an intact vapor retarder. Without that vapor retarder your source of moisture is inexhaustible so there is a much greater risk, long term for a moisture related failure. In reality this has always been the case with most adhesive manufacturers you just never heard it because everyone assumes that when they state their Rh range it's for any substrate.

    Another little quirk I ran into is with Tarkett. Tarkett has taken a stance that not only does their adhesive have a moisture limitation but the flooring product itself does as well. They are using this, in a way, to somewhat dictate the use of their adhesive systems. For example, you have an 89% Rh and you're installing rubber tile. If you use their adhesive - good to 90% Rh you have a bond warranty. If you use a 3rd party adhesive then you don't because their product with another adhesive only has a 75% Rh moisture limit. Since the 3rd part adhesive company can't supersede the flooring manufacturers warranty they cannot offer anything higher than the product itself even if their adhesive is rated higher. That one makes me chuckle.

    I think there's also something to do with the "thickness" that a troweled adhesive is being applied at vs. a spray. The length of time to reach a cure state is significantly higher than a spray applied adhesive. I'm a bit old school and I was very resistant to the spray adhesives until I had a claim where they were used to resolve a failure and it made me a believer.

    On that job, I did moisture testing during the claim myself and the tests were higher than 98% and many were above 99.4% because we would get error readings and that's the top of what a Rapid Rh probe will read and then it will give an error message. Spraylock came in and tested (confimed my readings as well) and wrote a custom warranty for the facility - this was several thousand yards of sheet - that had to be replaced because it was blowing off the floor. It was so wet you could literally grab a corner and with very little effort pull it right off the floor in whole pieces.

    The replacement went in with their adhesive and it's still down like a mother hummer today (6 years later). Again, homogeneous sheet vinyl (Biospec) and absolutely no problem with bond even under the beds. That sold me.
     
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  19. Commercial Floor Rep

    Commercial Floor Rep I Support TFP Published

    Here's one I just got on Monday with a "Oops we didn't know. Now what do we do?" Pretty much happens about 3 or 4 times a week for me anymore. I educate and teach constantly to test BEFORE they quote the job and people stare at me like I have 3 heads. Then when this happens they suddenly want a "silver bullet" to fix it with no additional cost but as Elmer said they don't want to deal with reality that they have a problem.
    Moisture Issue.jpg

    In this particular case - the end user is telling the dealer that they are going to "just dry it out with dehumidifers and it'll be fine" before the dealer installs the floor. Yeah....that's not going to work. But due to the lack of understanding I've had to begin the dance and start trying to get the dealer better educated so that they understand when they lay that floor, they own it. The minute they install they have accepted that slab and all its flaws. No piece of paper excuses them from this fact. So, if the customer isn't going to do it right they are accepting the liability for doing it wrong.

    It's a sad state of affairs but it's where we are today. This stuff really puts people out of business when it goes south. The costs to fix it can be phenomenal.
     
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  20. seaforrest

    seaforrest Specifier

    CFR - you nailed it. These large job failures will put some smaller companies right out of business. My position is actually quite unique in that I am employed by this nursing home management group as their Director of Purchasing which, through the years, has really turned into more of a Renovation & New Construction Owner's Rep / Liaison. (Titles never accurately tell the truth anyway.) While I work directly for the owners of these multiple properties, I still have become an advocate for the flooring installers to help prevent victimization of litigation because of outside pressure from owners fighting to meet their own timelines no matter what. When flooring failures happen, it has been on me to pull all communication and purchase records for mediation. So....yes Elmer Fudd... this project might look as an impending disaster. However, the ownership has two choices. Proceed with renovation to increase profitablity of this facility. Or leave it alone because of the hardships presented. Well... they obviously want increased profitablity. I have had a few issues with Tarkett, however, on one renovation of a nursing home that flooded in Baton Rouge in 2016, they actually replaced some failed flooring in the main corridors (replaced during rebuild) with some new carpet tile that holds up to any moisture levels. So far, so good on that. The rest of the areas were re-installed with a spray adhesive. I don't recollect which one, but it worked as well.

    So, while it looks like impending disaster, we will make this happen successfully... somehow. To be continued....
     
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