By Deanna Summers, MP Global Products
Because of concrete’s porous structure, it continually emits moisture in the form of vapors. There are several ways to tackle this issue, but many lead to covering up the problem through solutions like applied applications and polyethylene vapor barriers. Make no mistake…the moisture still exists beneath many of these solutions when blocked. With serious concrete emissions, the moisture can pool under these solutions and turn to bulk water which wreaks havoc to wood and laminate flooring products with a wood core.
The solution to allow continual moisture emission from the concrete’s porous structure is to allow a tiny bit of air flow to keep that moisture from turning to bulk water. A new category of products has come to market to allow airflow while reducing moisture in concrete subfloors. Some products are made of an entangled polypropylene mesh beneath the recycled fiber pad to create a waffle pattern that elevates the underlayment, permitting air flow to circulate beneath the flooring. This allows trapped vapor emissions from substrates like concrete to breathe.
For use on all concrete subfloors, on-grade, below-grade and above-grade, the mesh underlayment helps protect the overlying floor from damage due to moisture, while also reducing that main ingredient for harmful mold.
The padding of recycled fibers is placed over the mesh help to further encourage moisture from being trapped as they wick away vapor and disperse it until it can evaporate. Some products also feature an antimicrobial additive to further inhibit mold growth.
Specifiers can choose underlayment made from several different materials, including 100% or close to 100% recycled textile fibers diverted from landfill, recyclable after useful life. Many of the underlayments can contribute to the earning of LEED credits in projects aiming for LEED Certification.
Sound absorption: The mesh layer creates a capillary affect to cushion the floor, absorb sound, and help make laminate floors sound less hollow and more substantial underfoot, like hardwood floors.