Elevated moisture levels on my vynil floor


Old 05-25-13, 08:25 AM
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Elevated moisture levels on my vynil floor

I have used the moisture meeter (Ryobi) from home depot to measure amount/level of the moisture under my vinyl floor (over a concrete) in the downstairs bedroom. I had an extensive slab leak in that area hence checking the moisture. In the spot where the actual leak was the meeter shows the highest reading. Should I just pull the vinyl floor off, install the visqueen vapor barrier, 6mm underlayment and forget about it?
I think I know the answer
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Old 05-25-13, 09:08 AM
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A vinyl floor over concrete is a vapor barrier that will allow the moisture level directly below the vinyl to equalize with the soil below. If that moisture is allowed to evaporate into your basement, since is moves rather slowly, it can easily be handled with ventilation or a dehumidifier.

Below is a link with some related information.

Since you experienced a leak, that is the place to start, eliminating the potential source. Any hope of making improvements in that direction?
BSI-003: Concrete Floor Problems — Building Science Information

Old 05-25-13, 09:33 PM
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Thank you for your answer,
but i don't think we are talking about the same application. I live in California, basement here are extremely rare. The floor in question is right on the concrete slab that was (not any more) saturated with water from a burst pipe inside the slab.
I pulled part of the vinyl and the backing paper looks damaged by something, probably mold...
I am inclined to rip the whole vinyl off and scrape whatever left of it, just not sure if I should use any heavy machinery like a concrete sander. I am concerned with cold water pipes still going through the slab and I don't want to damage them.
Old 05-26-13, 04:05 AM
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Bud didn't know your leak was from plumbing. All you said was you had an extensive slab leak. Being in California seismic movement can cause foundations to shift and cause leaks. I would not worry about damaging further piping by scraping. All your piping is below the concrete pad, not in it. What are your plans for the room/floor? I would not install anything that would absorb water, such as wood products. Removing the covering may surely show signs of mold, so be very careful in disturbing it, as it can get airborne. I'd remove it to eliminate the water holding capability of the vinyl and let it dry before making a decision on future flooring needs.
Old 06-03-13, 06:58 AM
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Thank you Chandler!
I ended up removing the vinyl, but to remove the paper backing i had to wet the floor that was already not that dry to begin with

There was plenty of reddish looking "substance" in some places. Have two fans running is the 11'x9' room for two days and measuring moisture, still not dry.
I'll give it a week and then start the floor. Unfortunately it is going to be a laminate, my wife picked it.
If i still have a small pond under my slab, there is possibility I will need something like that dimpled plastic membrane like Bud suggested.
Old 06-03-13, 07:20 AM
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Chiming in a little late, I'm confused - did you repair the leak? If not, that is the place to start. It will continually be wet and pretty much any floor will fail. I know you refer to the leak in the past sense, but it should eventually dry out. Fans and dehumidifiers will speed things up.

Tell the wife, moisture and laminate don't mix. If there is the potential for moisture again, or is still present - Hold on any flooring until your moisture meter tells you it is OK.
Old 06-04-13, 11:10 AM
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I hope it's repaired

Thanks for chiming!
It would have been late if I already installed the floor , but not yet.

The leak is hopefully taken care of, saying hopefully because the cold water pipe(s) still there (in or below the slab) and I can not be so sure unless call the plumber and have them test it for leaks. I suspect the pinhole leak would be very hard to detect anyway, unless by moisture level in the slab, and I already have that... I think I will end up using dehumidifier, because the moisture level is dropping, but very slowly and unevenly throughout the slab.

I don't know if it's any good testament to using vinyl as underlay for the "wood" installation or I just got lucky, but it has protected my initially installed engineered wood very well. I see no damage what so ever on (underside) the floor i just removed. I actually like that floor much better then new laminate, although the laminate "Should" be less prone to dings and scratches, it will never look like real wood. But again, who am i to make decisions right?

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