The Hidden Costs of Moisture Damage

It happens all too often. A flooring contractor or building maintenance manager is aware of a moisture issue in a concrete floor, but decides to forego the expense of mitigation when installing flooring. With construction and renovation budgets tight, saving money up front is good business, right?

Not necessarily. When you consider the potential costs down the road, skipping moisture mitigation can be a very costly decision—one that can come back to haunt you in a big way.

What are these hidden costs? Start with one of building owners’ most feared four-letter words: mold. Moisture is a major cause of mold in buildings, which can seriously impact indoor air quality and contribute to a variety of health problems for building occupants. Mold mitigation can be an extremely expensive proposition. And, unless you address the underlying moisture problem, there’s the possibility that the mold will return.

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Moisture can also damage the building itself. Flooring materials above the slab can warp or rot. Wiring and other moisture-sensitive components can be damaged. Even more serious, corrosion or rotting of structural members and fasteners can, over time, affect the building’s structural integrity.

Depending on the specifics of the warranty agreement on the building, the contractor may be on the hook to rectify some or all of these problems. This could add up to a significant unplanned expense once demolition, disposal, mitigation, labor and materials, loss of use of the space, and a host of other costs are added up.

Think it’s not your responsibility? In our litigious society, there’s the possibility that such a disagreement could lead to an expensive lawsuit. Win or lose, the legal costs could be very high.

Looking down the road at the possible consequences, the decision not to mitigate floor moisture at the outset can seem like a false economy. That’s especially true when one considers that choosing the right mitigation solutions need not be overly costly or time-consuming.

Before deciding to skimp on moisture mitigation, think about what’s in the best long-term interests of the building owner. That approach is usually in the best interest of the contractor, as well.

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