Your Essential Guide to Different Screed Moisture Content Methods: Which One is Best? 

The floor screeding process can be time-consuming and laborious, but everyone knows how essential it is if you want your floors to be smooth and to last for a long time. But along with this process comes an assessment of the moisture content in screeding; it’s important to assess the screed’s moisture content after it has been laid so that the final finish of the floor, whether it’s carpet, wood, tile, or vinyl, can be properly laid as well.

The experts actually recommend waiting for up to four months before a standard screed with 75-millimetre thickness can dry to an acceptable moisture level, and this can be affected by the level of humidity in the area and the fluctuations in temperature in the area. It is also essential to measure the moisture content of screeding in the area or space so you can be sure that the contractor or flooring specialist can apply the final finish. There are different methods for measuring the screed moisture content in an area, so the big question is, which one is best? Here’s your essential guide.

The concrete moisture or CM test

The concrete moisture or CM test is fast and precise, and it is a preferred method of many screeding manufacturers. There are two standard methods under the CM test: the calcium carbide test (destructive) and the Tramex meter test (non-destructive).

The calcium carbide or destructive test is when the specialist takes a sample of the screed, which is then made to react with the calcium carbide. Once it reacts, it will release acetylene, a gas, and the amount of acetylene will show the moisture level in the sample of screed.

The Tramex meter or non-destructive test is also fast and accurate, and the specialist, such as, makes use of a Tramex meter, a device that displays different results. The specialist can choose the measurement options of the device from the menu, and the meter is placed against the screed surface where the moisture level is shown as a percentage.

The air hygrometer test

The air hygrometer test falls under British Standards, and it involves measuring the moisture from the screed in a particular area, which has been sealed off for about 72 hours. In a span of 72 hours, a hygrometer that has been calibrated is placed in the area, and it is then read after the prescribed time, and it will show the level of humidity in the area. From this, the moisture level or content will then be calculated. Although this method is traditional, it isn’t used much nowadays because it can be quite time-consuming.

When you have obtained favourable test results for either of the tests, the contractor can lay the final finish of the floor. It is critical to ensure that the moisture level of the screeding is acceptable before going ahead with the installation of the final finish; otherwise, you would have to wait for a longer time, do another test, or go ahead with the application of a DPM for the surface, which can be quite expensive – even more expensive than the actual screed.  Hence, the application of a DPM is only done if you are really on a time constraint.

What you should remember

So you can avoid issues such as these, you should allow for sufficient time to pass before you go ahead with the application of the final finish. Screed needs to dry as best as possible according to the instructions of the manufacturer, and it is, therefore, important to do an accurate measurement of the moisture level of the screeding before you decide to apply the final finish.

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