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February 5 - February 11, 2017

How can you determine the moisture content of a concrete block (CMU) wall, and how can you judge when the moisture level is low enough to paint?

Selected Answers

From Frank Tomasi of Designer Decorating Company on February 10, 2017:
Use a moisture meter.

From Zenith Czora of Parex Davco on February 8, 2017:
The easiest way to determine the presence of moisture in a CMU block is using the plastic sheet method.  On inspection, if condensation appears on the the underside of the plastic or if the color of the substrate darkened, this indicates excessive moisture. If you are using a moisture meter, it should have a reading of less then 5%. In terms of relative humidity, the concrete is dry enough when RH is less than or equal 74% RH. The surface temperature should be 3 degrees centigrade above the dew point, which indicates that the surface remained dry. Alkalinity of the substrates is also important as the moisture content is dependent on the type of coating to be applied. Water-based, breathable coatings are more forgiving on damp surfaces than solvent-basedcoatings.

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Tagged categories: Concrete masonry units (CMU); Good Technical Practice; Moisture detection

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