Water damaged vinyl flooring, often unexpected. In an area such as a kitchen or bathroom, sheet vinyl flooring and water are generally a good match. With sheet vinyl, water remains on top, unlike luxury vinyl plank or tiles that have open seams. As good as sheet vinyl is, water damage can still occur.
A recent claimant on a floor covering inspection told me they could chalk one more problem off their lists. They installed sheet vinyl instead of laminate over their newly poured concrete. The result, water damaged vinyl flooring. The problem was first noticed by the developing stains permanently discoloring the vinyl. So was this a manufacturing problem?
Water Damaged Vinyl Flooring Problem
Wood, Laminate, Vinyl
Unfortunately many people are under the misguided belief that only wood or laminate may be a problem with water – vinyl flooring, no way!!
Stains that suggest water damage, may not show for months. even years. Perhaps the material starts coming apart at the seams. The vinyl may loosen from the substrate. Often a mystery, it becomes another flooring inspection for the Weinheimer Group or another inspection company.
Water damage problems are not as common with sheet vinyl flooring. Certainly less than some other floor covering products, but they do happen. This type of damage is more common when installed over concrete than those installed over wood substrates. Water damage can occur in a number of ways. A water leak, underlayment or concrete slab too wet at the time of installation. Moisture moving up from below a slab or crawlspace.
Signs of Water Damage
- Seams opening
- Bumps, bubbles and ridges
- Mold, Mildew and bacteria
- Tile peaking and curling
- Alkali build-up on tile joints (Efflorescence)
- Adhesive deterioration
- Underlayment nail popping
Major Causes of Water Damaged Vinyl Flooring
Just like most other types of floor covering, a vinyl flooring installation can and often will fail when exposed to excessive moisture. If you are having plumbing issues make immediate repairs or hire a Plumber. Over time, a slow leak can cause as much damage as a floor.
Water damaged vinyl flooring can occur from a variety of reasons including but not limited to:
- Wet concrete slab – not thoroughly cured
- Moisture from ground water
- Leaking dishwasher
- Washing machine overflow
- Toilet back up or other plumbing failure
- Wax ring at commode
- Excessive moisture in crawlspace
- Mold, mildew and bacteria
Surface moisture from mopping or the occasional spill should not result in water damaged vinyl flooring.
Unsealed or improperly sealed seams can allow water to enter into the substrate. This is particularly true, if the sheet vinyl is a perimeter install or the adhesive has failed. To help prevent any surface water damage, always mop up water immediately and do not allow water to puddle when mopping.
Protecting Against Water Damaged Vinyl Flooring
Your best protection against water damaged vinyl flooring is to follow the manufacturers installation standards. Resilient flooring manufacturers require moisture testing prior to installation on concrete substrates .
The following are the recommendations of the Resilient Floor Covering Institute. These are similar to that of the flooring manufacturer. For your own protection follow the manufacturers requirements.
Testing for Moisture in New or Existing Concrete Slabs
Several tests are available to determine if moisture is present in concrete slabs.
- Placement of rubber mats on the concrete floors. After 24 hours, examine the concrete for dampness.
- 2. ASTM F 1869– Standard Test Method for Measuring Moisture Vapor Emission Rate of Concrete Subfloor Using Anhydrous Calcium Chloride. The test Measures Moisture Vapor Emission Rate of Concrete Subfloor. Each flooring manufacturer recommends a maximum pounds / 1000 sq. ft. / 24 hours for a flooring product before it is installed.
- 1. ASTM F 2170 – Standard Test Method for Determining Relative Humidity in Concrete Floor Slabs Using In Situ probes, measures moisture inside a concrete slab. This test has become more widely used and often is specified in addition to the calcium chloride test to further evaluate ambient relative humidity and temperature as well as residuals left on the concrete surface. This test method provides a determination of the moisture in a concrete slab by using probes to measure internal slab relative humidity. Internal or “in-situ” relative humidity provides an indication of the potential moisture that may come out of the slab. Flooring manufacturers recommend a maximum relative humidity (RH) % for the concrete slab before their resilient flooring product can be installed.
What Flooring Manufacturers Say about Water Damaged Vinyl Flooring
Flooring manufacturers set installation standards to protect them against water damaged vinyl flooring. When it comes to water damaged vinyl flooring, the limited warranties of most of the flooring manufacturers protect them. These warranties usually make such statements as, Warranty does not cover discoloration from mold or mildew growth in the vinyl caused by excessive moisture resulting from flooding, leaking plumbing or appliances, water entering through sliding glass doors or similar conditions.
If you have a water damaged vinyl floor that you would like inspected, contact The Weinheimer Group.