A property in North London, suffered an escape of water in the kitchen. We were called to site to evaluate the moisture levels in the floor screed and to establish if moisture levels were at safe and acceptable levels. Safe and acceptable levels are considered levels in which secondary damage will not be caused.
Our evaluation was based on a visual inspection, and where possible, a non-invasive and in-depth moisture survey. These allow us to determine possible locations of moisture and moisture migration from the escape of water.
The property is a modern flat located on the ground floor with a suspended plasterboard ceiling. The partition walls are constructed from 12.5mm plasterboard on metal stud work frames. At the time of our visit, it wasn’t known what the exact construction of the floor was, but judging by the age of the property, we were expecting to find that the floor is a floating construction with thermal insulation under sand cement screed.
At the time of our visit, we recorded the atmospheric conditions within the property. Atmospheric readings help us to evaluate several things, including whether there is a risk of secondary damage to hygroscopic materials (eg. wood and plasterboard) due to high levels of moisture in the air. Hygroscopic materials can absorb water vapour from the air, increasing the amount of water they’re holding at a given time. As such, this can lead to further issues, including microbial (most commonly mould) growth.
The atmospheric readings read as:
|Relative Humidity||Temperature||Dew Point||Specific Humidity||Vapour Pressure|
The kitchen floor and lower plasterboard walls recorded at 999 REL in all tested locations. We also recorded increased moisture readings of up to 450 REL on the wooden flooring in the lounge adjacent to the kitchen, compared to readings of 160-170 REL on the opposite side of the lounge and hallway.
As a result of high moisture levels within the floor and lower walls, mould growth had started to appear. We also noticed salt residues on much of the kitchen floor, indicating high moisture levels below.
The Technical Part
To facilitate the drying of the affected areas, two of our technicians carried out the below enabling work:
- The uplift of the kitchen floor tiles
- The removal of kitchen tile adhesive
- The removal of kitchen skirting boards
- The creation of an inspection hole within the kitchen floor to confirm its construction
- The installation of drying equipment to the kitchen
- The installation of a temporary floor to minimise disturbance and remove potential tripping hazards
The wooden flooring in the lounge, despite having high moisture readings, was not showing any sign of damage during our inspection. However, we installed a negative pressure system to help withdraw any moisture which may be underneath the flooring to prevent any damage being caused in the future.
The drying regime lasted four weeks and included the use of turbines, condensing dehumidifiers, piping kits, and our remote monitoring system so that we could ensure the best drying model was maintained throughout.