Claudia Lezell, ASID, CTC Inspections Too, Inc. – Floor Covering Inspection Moisture and More to it than meets the eye

Air Date: 2-28-2014 | Episode: 317

Joining us this week on IAQ Radio is Claudia Lezell President of Inspections Too, Inc., an inspection company that specializes in the diagnosis of floor covering failures…

Full Description:

Joining us this week on IAQ Radio is Claudia Lezell President of Inspections Too, Inc., an inspection company that specializes in the diagnosis of floor covering failures. Ms Lezell is an authority in the diagnosis of floor covering failures related to moisture and more. Claudia leads a team of highly qualified scientists, experienced engineers and trained certified inspectors whose mission is to provide the highest quality flooring diagnostic services in the industry. The need for this type of service is growing due to the vast majority of factors that play into each flooring and moisture related failure. Flooring and moisture related failures can only be avoided when proper testing procedures are followed before installation of a project. Billions of dollars in related damages occur annually from flooring failures related to factors that could have been avoided if proper pre-installation testing had been performed.

Every floor has its own requirements… sub-floor preparation, installation, specification, and maintenance. Determining the failure of a specific floor requires a thorough analysis and understanding of the floor and underlying material. Flooring changes are occurring more frequently than ever driving the need for expert inspection when inevitable failures occur. Knowledge of substrates, industry trends and new products is vital when assessing the possible causes of the floor failure in today’s ever changing market.


Z-Man’s Blog:

Treading Lightly

Claudia Lezell, formally a Teacher of the Deaf and Hearing Impaired and now a flooring inspection expert says she formerly “worked with people who couldn’t hear, but now works with people who don’t listen”. For Claudia, a flooring inspection begins with a party that commissions her work. She then gathers information by detailed questionnaire. Being careful not to jump to conclusions she performs the inspection and formulates a game plan.

Nuggets minded from today’s episode:

  • With many different types of concrete in use, concrete is a much more complex and problematic building material than most of us IEPS/cleaner restorers likely imagined.
  • All flooring systems and assemblies are manufacturer specific.
  • “When industry standards, trade standards of care prudent to the industries are not followed, unfortunately some believe “workmanlike manner means doing it wrong”.
  • “Devalued engineering” (cost cutting) and fast cheap construction” results in problems. When important tasks are done wrong and corners are cut, problems inevitably result.
  • Too high water to cement ratio, elevated pH, alkali silica reaction, reactive aggregate, etc. can result in colossal flooring failure.
  • Vapor emission is when moisture is coming through concrete and vapor transmission is when moisture is coming through soil.
  • “Experience has shown that there are more ineffective products available for treating moisture problems in concrete than effective products.” “There are limits to correction.” Product warrantees sometimes include “out clauses” for manufactures, so understand what is warranted and always question if the product can be tested for compliance after application?  Categories of products used to suppress moisture include: penetrating products which use silicates, overlaying coatings and membranes.  For more protection, double rolling (2 coats) when using overlaying products is more desirable
  • Afloating floor is a floor that does not need to be nailed or glued to the subfloor. The term floating floor refers to the installation method. Floating floors are floors installed atop sound deadening, poly film, plastic membrane, etc.
  • Flooring systems are exposed to moisture from top, laterally and bottom.
  • Polished concrete floors may be ground or coated. Clients frustrated with failures of other flooring systems have moved to polished concrete. Polished concrete still remains vulnerable to restoration techniques, efflorescence, slips and falls, maintenance issues and moisture.  All still need to be taken into consideration during the specification process.
  • When a floor system fails, everyone involved with or who touched the floor from architect to janitor may be sued.
  • Not always the “end all”, ceramic tile floors may be less sensitive to moisture in concrete.
  • LEED credits are available for adding fly ash to concrete, but “more is not always better”.
  • Visible evidence that a floor system is failing are: gaps in material, oozing, lumps, discoloration, cupping, crowning etc.
  • When evaluating concrete substrates, looking for clues from above. The type of aggregate used is a good clue to the type of substrate in place.
  • Comparing materials that are failing to materials that aren’t provides valuable information.
  • “Moisture is stupid it takes the path of least resistance.” and doesn’t use a GPS.
  • Some types of adhesive removers penetrate concrete and wicking up to cause problems later.
  • Both older flooring materials and mastics may contain asbestos.
  • Quantitative sampling provides numbers while qualitative sampling provides a concept.
  • Concrete test methods include: vapor emission testing, relative humidity testing, & petro graphic analysis. Core sampling may be required.
  • The meter is only as good as the person using it. We need the right meters for the job. Will the meter you plan to use provide accurate information?  Users must understand the nuances of the meter, precision and bias of the meter, suitable applications for the meter. Meters need to be maintained, checked for calibration and have ample power supply.

Reference info:   Article by Claudia Lezell

ASTM F1869 – 11

Standard Test Method for Measuring Moisture Vapor Emission Rate of Concrete Subfloor Using Anhydrous Calcium Chloride

ASTM F2420 – 05(2011)

Standard Test Method for Determining Relative Humidity on the Surface of Concrete Floor Slabs Using Relative Humidity Probe Measurement and Insulated Hood

ASTM F2170 – 11

Standard Test Method for Determining Relative Humidity in Concrete Floor Slabs Using in situ Probes

Today’s music:” Pink Panther” theme song by Henry Mancini

It was with a heavy heart that we played taps and bid farewell to industry pioneer Bill Bane.

Z-man signing off