It’s hard to walk down a sidewalk these days without seeing a crack in the pavement. Some of these have obvious reasons, like strong tree roots pushing them up, while others seem to appear out of nowhere.
When concrete is initially poured on a flat surface, to create a floor or sidewalk, it is left for a day or more, depending on the location, to cure. Curing is the process by which the concrete is protected from evaporation until it hardens.
The wetter and cooler concrete is while it’s curing, the stronger and less permeable it is.
I know what you’re thinking… Wait. Why does this matter to ESD flooring? The short answer is more than you know.
A Concrete Problem
Because of the unique nature of the concrete curing, moisture is captured within the concrete. Again, this helps the concrete stay stronger and last longer. But it has an unfortunate side effect.
You see, concrete cracks when the moisture inside it evaporates faster than it can draw replacement moisture from the ground under it.
You may have noticed that a bare concrete floor is unusually cooler than its surroundings. There’s even the old wives tale about walking on bare concrete causing arthritis flare-ups.
But concrete doesn’t just capture moisture during curing. After hardening, it also transmits the moisture and the temperature of the ground below it.
All of this leads to the number one reason electrostatic discharge (ESD) preventative flooring fails: moisture permeation.
When too much moisture moves through the concrete, it results in a high alkalinity in the concrete. The higher pH levels react to the bonding agent, causing the adhesive in many instances to fail. And if that failure isn’t discovered, could even lead to mold between the concrete and the flooring.
A properly constructed system built recently should include a vapor barrier – a plastic shield that lessens the moisture transference of the concrete flooring. But older buildings may not include this and preventative measures should be taken.
The best and most economical solution is to install resilient flooring to the concrete base before laying down the adhesive backed ESD flooring. Resilient flooring is an organic floor surfacing material in sheet or tile form: rubber, vinyl, cork, or linoleum are all viable options.
A more efficient method is to simply pour a static conductive water-based epoxy floor covering. This eliminates the need for an additional layer of ESD flooring as the epoxy itself provides the protection.
What you can’t do is nothing. Moisture-related floor covering failures are responsible for over $1 billion annually in damages.
Contact us today for more information; we would love to be your full service, seamless ESD solution provider.