What Causes Moisture to Form on Carport Floors?

Print this articleA carport is a very sensible and practical addition to homes that don’t have a garage. Carports protect vehicles from sustaining damage due to inclement weather and sun exposure while improving the look of a home when compared to an uncovered driveway. Carport floors often become moisture magnets, however, stemming from a number of conditions.

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Carport floors are most often made with concrete, which is a good choice due to the strength and durability of poured concrete. Concrete carport floors will also retain a level surface despite ground-shifting problems underneath as long as the poured concrete is installed correctly. Proper construction of concrete carport floors includes ensuring a level subsurface on the soil to begin with as well as a sufficient curing time after the concrete is poured. These steps guarantee that carport floors will remain solid and impervious to the continuous load of vehicle weight as well as changing soil conditions.

Moisture From Construction Errors

Improper pouring and curing of concrete accounts for the majority of flaws that develop later, specifically those large cracks that allow moisture from below to form on the surface of carport floors. Insufficient and incorrect curing of poured concrete also leads to moisture forming on carport floors. A compacted subsurface is the first important step to take when pouring concrete, which will prevent major slab cracks later on from normal ground shifting. Water used in concrete mixing needs anywhere from a few weeks to even a month or so to help the concrete fully cure. This curing time must be allowed, or moisture will continue to form on carport floors and surface glazing and cracking will occur.

Floor Covering Problems

Some homeowners choose to leave their carport floors unfinished as a bare concrete slab while others opt for floor coverings to protect and enhance their carport floors, such as paint, tiles, or sheeting material. The common cause of moisture forming when using floor coverings is water vapor. Moisture will be present in and below concrete slabs even if properly cured. This is unavoidable because moisture vapor continually escapes from both the sub-soil and the inherently porous nature of poured concrete. Both paints and the adhesives used to apply tiles or vinyl sheeting will resist this moisture vapor when a vapor barrier (or vapor retarder) is installed beneath the poured concrete slab, which is generally a plastic sheeting of greater than 6 millimeters in thickness for maximum vapor retention below carport floors.

Moisture From Environmental Conditions

Seasonal temperature changes are the main cause of ground shifting. This factor comes into play for concrete carport floors, especially in areas that experience cold winters. The ability of the soil to sustain weight loads is greatly affected when the ground reaches freezing or subfreezing temperatures and also when it warms up and begins to thaw. Problems from ground shifting as a result of these temperature changes will be avoided if steps are taken when pouring. Ground temperatures must not be allowed to fall below 40 degrees Fahrenheit within the first 24 hours after concrete is poured. Form boards should be left in place for as long as possible (one week, for example), and insulating material, such as polyethylene sheeting or burlap, will help retain a sufficient curing temperature as well as prevent superficial cosmetic cracking and grazing after carport floors have cured.

Referencesconstructionknowledge.net: What Should I Know About Installing Slabs On Grade?concretenetwork.com: Controlling Moisture Transmissioncement.org: Curing to produce quality concreteRead Next:

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