Moisture Testing Device You Should Carry for Concrete Installers

Posted by Tom Laurenzi on Sep 11, 2018 4:29:00 PM

If you’re a moisture meter distributor who serves concrete installers, odds are you know how important it is for your customers to be able to accurately measure moisture in concrete. However, you may be surprised to learn that moisture meters—even so-called concrete moisture meters—are not the best item to stock if you want to help your customers accurately measure moisture in concrete.

To help your customers take the most accurate concrete moisture measurements possible—and to follow the ASTM F-2170 standard—you should carry a different kind of moisture testing device. Specifically, you should carry thermo-hygrometers with in-situ probes.

Why Are Thermo-Hygrometers the Top Moisture Testing Device for Concrete?

There are several reasons why thermo-hygrometers are the ideal moisture testing device for concrete installers—even though they don’t actually measure moisture content. Instead, they measure the relative humidity (RH) of an area.

Some reasons why thermo-hygrometers with in-situ probes are a better way to measure moisture in concrete than using moisture meters include:

  1. Trying to Measure Moisture in Concrete Directly Produces Inaccurate Results. There is no consistent standard for the properties of concrete mixtures. Even two bags of concrete from the same manufacturer will have different physical properties for electrical resistance, density, and specific gravity. This means that, unlike wood, there’s no consistent standard for measuring moisture in concrete directly. By measuring RH conditions deep in the concrete, thermo-hygrometers can actually provide a more accurate estimate of how a concrete slab will behave.
  2. In-Situ Probes Can Reach Deep into Concrete. A moisture meter’s pins can penetrate only an inch below the surface of a concrete slab—maybe a few more if you drive metal nails into the concrete. Pinless meters only go to a set depth. With in-situ probes, you can drill a hole to a depth of 40% of the slab’s thickness to take moisture readings deep within—as per the ASTM F-2170 testing method’s requirements. Speaking of which…
  3. They’re Required for ASTM F-2170-Compliant Testing. The ASTM F-2170 standard requires concrete installers to use thermo-hygrometers with in-situ probes to be compliant with the standard. Without these devices, concrete installers cannot perform a compliant installation, which can affect their business.

So, does this mean moisture meters are useless? Not quite. While they won’t provide info from deep in the slab, they can be used for a quick surface-level test to see whether deeper testing is warranted. If there’s moisture near the surface where the moisture meter can detect it, then odds are that the concrete is far too wet.

Don’t Forget to Pack Accessories for ASTM F-2170 Testing!

Since thermo-hygrometers are a necessity for ASTM-compliant concrete moisture testing, it might be tempting to just leave things at acquiring a few thermo-hygrometers. However, there are more products that you can upsell to your concrete customers to go with their thermo-hygrometers, including:

  • In-Situ Probes. To perform ASTM F-2170-compliant testing, your concrete installation customers will need in-situ probes to go along with their thermo-hygrometers. If they plan on leaving the probes in the holes they drill for testing so they can just go from spot to spot connecting their hygrometer and taking a reading really fast, then they’ll need at least three of these probes (to match the minimum number of holes required under the ASTM standard).
  • Rotary Hammer Drills with 5/8” Drill Bits. Rotary hammer drills with 5/8” drill bits provide the perfect size hole for inserting probe sleeves into concrete. Drill bits with three or four cutting edges provide ideal smoothness for the hole.
  • Sensor Sleeves. To regulate the relative humidity conditions in the holes that are prepared, concrete installers need to cap off the holes so the outside air doesn’t influence their RH readings. Sensor sleeves with caps help to maintain the RH of each hole so subsequent readings are accurate.
  • Industrial Vacuums. Drilling holes in concrete creates a lot of dust and debris—some of it in the hole itself. Since this debris can damage an in-situ probe, it’s imperative that any debris is cleaned out of the hole before a probe is inserted. Industrial vacuums are a handy tool for this task.
  • Safety Gear. Things like goggles, dust masks, and gloves are a must when drilling concrete. These small pieces of safety gear are relatively small and easy to stock. Plus, their semi-disposable nature makes them a consistent seller. They aren’t big-ticket items, but carrying some of this safety gear can provide convenient add-on sale opportunities while turning your store into a true one-stop shop for your customers.

Need help finding the best thermo-hygrometers to carry for your concrete-installing customers? Contact Delmhorst Instrument Co. today for help and advice. Or, check out the flooring guide at the link below.

Measuring Moisture in Flooring Systems

Topics: concrete Thermo-Hygrometers ASTM F