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                                                                                                                                                                       Integral concrete protection since 1985

Misleading Competitor Claims: Concrete moisture barrier/ penetrative moisture spprssant "Spray & pray they work products"


It is imperative to test sub floor moisture prior to the installation of floor coverings and or coatings. Excessive sub floor moisture is the most common primary contributing factor to floor covering and or coating failure.


Typically, in the floor coverings industry, there are three methods commonly used to test sub floor moisture in concrete substrates.


The applicable standard for your country will determine which methods as detailed below are acceptable;

1)      ASTM F2170: Relative Humidity In- Situ probe test: Measures the internal relative humidity in concrete at the prescribed depth as determined by the thickness of the slab, slab location, (i.e. below grade, on grade or suspended) together with the drying conditions (i.e. drying from one or both sides).

2)      ASTM F2420: (Same principal & test method as per BS 8203) Relative humidity surface mounted insulated hood test: Measures the concrete surface relative humidity captured via the insulated hood.

3)      ASTM F1869-11: Standard Test Method for Measuring Moisture Vapor Emission Rate: Measures the concrete Moisture Vapor Emission Rate using a surface hood and anhydrous calcium chloride.

4)      BS8203: Code of practice for installation of resilient floor coverings Insulated hygrometer test- This test effectively measures the moisture leaving the floor, rather than the moisture content of the floor.

The abovementioned test methods are derived from floor coverings standards such as: AS 1884-2012, AS/NZS 2455, ASTM F2170, ASTM F2420, ASTM F1869-11, BS 8203, BS 5325 and BS 8201.


All floor covering substrates should be tested prior to the application of any floor coverings, adhesives and or coatings, regardless of the age of the substrate.


We are aware that of unscrupulous sales reps claiming that their purported silicate type products are concrete moisture barriers & or Moisture Vapour Transmission (MVT) restrictors, and claim that their products perform equal to Protecrete Densifier & or Protecrete Vaporlock.


Protecrete products are manufactured using proprietary family owned formulations, marketed and sold under the Protecrete brand only.


Several of these” purportedly same” products have been tested, and to date, none have been found to perform the same as Protecrete Densifier & or Protecrete Vaporlock.


The “purportedly equal to” products that were tested displayed little to no effect in reducing the concrete Moisture Vapour Emission Rate and or Relative humidity. At the very best, the products tested could be put into the category of semi hardeners for concrete rather than concrete moisture barriers.


BS 8203, and the release of AS1884-2012 with the introduction of concrete testing procedure ASTM F2420: Relative humidity surface mounted insulated hood test certainly hinders the ability of these unscrupulous sales reps to sell semi hardeners as purported concrete moisture barriers & or Moisture Vapour Transmission (MVT) restrictors.


This test method, amongst others, clearly reveals that their "spray & pray" product does not perform same as claimed, hence the avoidance of QA testing.

Questions to ask the rep if you are suspect and or being fed oxymoron claims:

a) Your literature states that your product will cure & act as a concrete moisture barrier / suppressant conforming to AS 1884-2012. What evidence do you rely upon to support your claims and what methods were used to substantiate claims that your product does successfully restrict moisture vapour emmissions and or perform effectively as a cure, penetrative moisture suppressant and or concrete moisture barrier etc ?.

b) What year did your brand evolve ?.

c) What year did your product names evolve ?.

d) Is your brand or any of your product names similar to Protecrete or Protecrete product names, and if so, why ?.

e) Is your literature and or product application rates similar to Protecrete's, and if so, do you understand that plagiarism is unethical ?.

f) Have you, or any of your colleagues ever been involved with Protecrete products ?.

g) If you cannot test the performance, then how did the recommended product application rate evolve, and how do you know it is correct if there is no way to test it ?.

h) What metholody do you use to confirm if the recommended product application rate is correct for the type, finish & porosity of the concrete slab being treated ?.

i) Do you own the product formula's etc, the literature you are using, the IP etc ?.

j) Do you manufacturer the product from start to finish, or do you purchase a concentrate & blend with water, or do you purchase the product ready to use ?.

k) Is your product a re badge label, & if so, what other products / brands are marketed & use the same concentrate ?.

l) What brands, types and product names have you and or your colleagues sold in the last 15 years ?.


Caution should be exercised if a distributor and or sales rep claim that there is no way of testing their penetrative type moisture suppressant / concrete moisture barrier product, particularly when it is to be relied upon as an effective barrier to prevent moisture related floor coverings and or coatings failure. These unscrupulous reps will often use oxymorons such as "conforms to AS 1884, but it cannot be tested".

If you are due to commence a floor covering installation and have discovered that one of these "spray & pray" products have previously been applied to the concrete & the product rep claims that test methods are not reliable, you should clarify which brand & type of test equipment they are referring to, ask for the claim to be put in writing, and seek advice from the applicable test equipment manufacturer.


Quality Assurance sub floor moisture testing is set out in flooring standards and should be strictly followed. Sub floor moisture test results should be recorded in order to confirm that the product has been applied correctly, and is working effectively as a moisture barrier by reducing the concrete Moisture Vapour Emission Rate (MVER), and or surface Relative Humidity (RH).


Manufacturers of floor coverings, adhesives and cementitious underlay's etc., void manufacturers warranties in the event that it is discovered that their products were installed on sub floors found to be above the manufacturers published permissible sub floor moisture tolerances.


In situations where the “purportedly equal to” products have been applied to the concrete and the application of the product does not sufficiently reduce the concrete sub floor moisture vapour emissions to RH (Relative Humidity) levels below the permissible recommended by the manufacturers of adhesive, floor preparation, floor covering involved in supplying products for the project, than those manufacturers warranties will be void.


The typical consequences of installing adhesives, internal cementitious underlays / levellers, floor coverings on sub floors subjected to excessive Moisture Vapour Emissions and or RH are above permissible levels are:

a)      Internal cementitious underlays: Once dry, will become porous and absorb the available moisture from the concrete sub floor. This supply of excessive moisture vapour “wetting” of the internal underlay will soften the internal underlay facilitating easy indentation, and or de bonding of the coating.

b)       Acrylic Adhesives: Will re emulsify and facilitate de bonding of the floor covering, together with potentially creating an off gassing odour causing contamination to indoor air quality.


Replacement of floor coverings due to delamination typically costs around three times the initial floor coverings price, excluding the costs associated with downtime and or relocation.


Another potential issue that can arise if these “purportedly equal” products are applied to concrete and do not perform as claimed, is that the use of these type of semi hardeners could contaminate the concrete causing an adverse chemical reaction with any additional remedial products required in order to restrict the concrete sub floor Moisture Vapour Emission Rate and or relative humidity to that below the manufacturers permissible levels.


It is only reasonable that a product claiming to be a sub floor moisture barrier and or sub floor Moisture Vapour Transmission restrictor is capable of being tested in order to qualify as fit for purpose, compatible, and compliant with relevant standards and associated test methods.


If you have been a potential victim and have had one of the “spray & pray” products applied to your project and test results reveal that the levels are not below the permissible, we recommend that you request the supply and re application of the product under the product warranty provisions until the concrete sub floor moisture levels are compliant with product manufacturers requirements.

If after the re application of the “purportedly equal” product does not reduce the MVER and or surface RH to below suitable levels, then the concrete sub floor would need to be treated as "wet" and the selection of an alternate moisture vapour barrier will be necessary.

Do not proceed with the installation of any, floor preparation, adhesives, floor coverings etc., until moisture levels are acceptable.


If you are advised that a product has “locked” in the moisture, however your intellect understands that the excessive Moisture Vapour Emissions and or RH results are high & not reflective of same, you should seek legal advice before proceeding with any floor preparation, adhesives, coatings /coverings etc.


Failure to comply with the relevant standards and or manufacturer’s installation instructions will render the installer and or contractor liable for remediation and or replacement costs.



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