When concrete is mixed and poured, water vapor migrates from the bottom of the slab to the surface to evaporate. This process requires time and quantifiable concrete moisture measurements to verify. ASTM F formally recognizes the use of in situ probes as a means of conducting relative humidity testing. In lay terms, the American Society for Testing and Materials recognizes that floor coverings often fail due to unsuitable concrete moisture levels beneath them. In that case, builders did not allow the slab sufficient time for concrete moisture levels to equilibrate reach equilibrium moisture content according to relative humidity RH.
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Meeting this standard provides the groundwork for limiting moisture-related flooring problems and the many liabilities and mitigation problems that can result from excess moisture. The standard provides precise guidelines for RH testing methods. While any professional must understand the exact requirements of standard F the most recent version , the following are 10 guidelines to help ensure that you have met the criteria laid out in ASTM F These requirements for the standard apply regardless of the RH test method being used.
Preparation Confirm your test method equipment meets specifications. Each hole must have a liner that isolates the sensor from ambient conditions, and sensors must have NIST-traceable calibration. Some calibration restrictions may apply, so read the standard carefully to be sure your test equipment qualifies for the most recent standard. Make sure your calibration is up to date.
Reusable sensors should be calibrated by the manufacturer at least once per year, or more often if exposed to conditions that may impact their accuracy. All sensors must be calibrated no less than 30 days prior to use.
Check job site conditions. Section 9 of the standard requires that both the slab and the ambient air above it must be at service conditions for a minimum of 48 hours before testing. Map your sensor count and location. F requires three test holes for the first ft2 and, at least, one additional hole for each additional ft2.
The total area of the slab and the number of test holes must be recorded on your report. Know the required depth of the test holes. The depth is calculated to the bottom of the test hole the location of the installed RH sensor or probe.
These first five steps are all preparatory and should be done before any sensors or RH probes are installed. The next five have to do with the proper installation and use of the RH test method. RH Testing and Reporting Drill and prepare the test holes. Each test hole must be drilled to the depth determined at Step 5 above section 10 of ASTM F and properly prepared. For most RH testing systems, this includes cleaning any debris out of the test hole and inserting the necessary liner in the hole.
Note that the liner requirements have been updated and the hole is to be fully lined to meet the ASTM standard. Insert RH sensor. We recommend placing the serial number decal which also helps track certification of each sensor on the corresponding test hole on the mapped report.
This will NOT be valid for ASTM compliance, but can certainly provide a target timeline for schedule decisions or for choosing alternate adhesive or flooring options that might have higher moisture tolerances. Take RH readings. Use our checklist to record and report the RH readings. Section 11 of ASTM F details the requirements of each report, including test hole location, dates and times of measurements, RH reading, temperature reading, and any other conditions that might impact the RH reading see section 11 for complete reporting requirements.
With all areas of ASTM-compliant RH testing, precision is key and data integrity must also be the focus for each flooring professional. As any professional knows, ASTM standards are established to help guide industry testing and also to help ensure standardized best practices to protect both the installer and the consumer. Be sure to familiarize yourself with ASTM F and choose the best concrete moisture test method for the job.
ASTM F2170 Explained
Step 1. For new unused probes, proceed to next step. Note date on report. Step 3. Verify 48 hour service conditioning of concrete floor slab and the occupied air space above the floor slab per section 9 of ASTM F
10 Guidelines for ASTM F2170 Preparation and Testing