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Old 11-21-2011, 09:38 AM   #1
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High moisture in slab, should I put down a barrier for travertine? help!


I am having some moisture issues in my living room. I had to rip up my previous wood floors because of the moisture and I just had my slab diamond grinded. To make a long story short, the moisture tests read at 20 in a couple areas. 2ft away through a wall from the highest moisture reading in the living room is my bedroom with wood floors.

I have talked to 20 people about this and I dont know what to do. I think I am pretty set on travertine since it breaths. I dont know if I should put something like DITRA down and then put the travertine on top. Or if I should skip the barrier and use a non-modified thinset mortar to adhere the travertine to the slab. My biggest fear is having the moisture escape into my bedroom and destroy the wood in there because I put down a barrier. I have been told it may very well do that or it may not. Someone said moisture mainly travels up and down and equalizes, not so much left to right.

The bottom line is I cant do anything about the moisture. I live in southern louisiana and may not have any protection under my slab and a high water table. Any ideas or suggestions?

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Old 11-21-2011, 10:09 AM   #2
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High moisture in slab, should I put down a barrier for travertine? help!


If you attempt to close off an ongoing moisture problem where is that moisture going to go in the future?
What additional damage could/will occur, and where?

Why would there be moisture in your livingroom and not in your berdroom?

Why did you grind the subfloor?

Why would you use "non-modified thinset" to install your travertine?

Which moisture test did you use and what does that "20" mean? Are you saying the test resultes show 20 pounds/1k ft2?

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Old 11-21-2011, 10:40 AM   #3
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High moisture in slab, should I put down a barrier for travertine? help!


I did visqueen moisture tests in the other rooms before i laid down wood (after the living room incident) and there was no condensation in any of them.

The floor was ground to get up all the adhesive from the wood.

If I used a latex thinset I would have to worry about effervescense (sp?)

I used 3 calcium chloride tests that registered 20psi, 13psi, and 10psi.
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:53 AM   #4
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High moisture in slab, should I put down a barrier for travertine? help!


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If I used a latex thinset I would have to worry about effervescense (sp?)
Nonsense! Efflorescence does not come from using latex thinset. Impossible that efflorescence has anything to do with latex additives. Efflorescence comes basically from the Portland product either in the slab or the thinset but latex has nothing to do with it.

Effervescence has to do with beer and soda-pop and Alka Seltzer I think.

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I used 3 calcium chloride tests that registered 20psi, 13psi, and 10psi.
Moisture content in a slab can vary considerably from season to season. If those three CaCl tests were done in the same area, something could have been wrong with at least one of the test products. That variance wouldn't make any sense if in the same general area unless there is something like a water leak causing the one high report.

At any rate even the highest result wouldn't have an effect on a tile installation of this type.
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:08 AM   #5
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High moisture in slab, should I put down a barrier for travertine? help!


maybe you should figure out where the moisture is coming from and worry about that. Is the property outside your house properly draining water away?
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:18 AM   #6
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3 flooring contractors and the Schluter rep i talked to told me that the latex over time would come up through the travertine if I went that route or used any modified thinset without a moisture barrier.

We have had a serious drought here in southern LA for the past 3 months. When I had a certified flooring inspector come 3 months ago to take readings, his meter was off the chart in that area. Initially it was thought that my chimney was leaking down into my slab but I have since redone my roof and had my chimney rebuilt. Almost no rain at all since then and the calcium chloride test was off the chart in that area. I know moisture can be different hour to hour but this area is a constant. The tests were done 8ft apart from each other spanning my living room.

Maybe I should just put the DITRA down but stop the coating 6" from the wall so that it can wick out? If it wicks out concentrated in that area, would I run the risk of discoloration of the stone?

The moisture is most likely coming from a tear in the visqueen under the slab that I am not going to figure out and fix. Way too much money involved with that.
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:20 AM   #7
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High moisture in slab, should I put down a barrier for travertine? help!


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maybe you should figure out where the moisture is coming from and worry about that. Is the property outside your house properly draining water away?
Agreed, that would be the next logical place to look for issues. What about downspouts and yard irrigation?
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:28 AM   #8
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High moisture in slab, should I put down a barrier for travertine? help!


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3 flooring contractors and the Schluter rep i talked to told me that the latex over time would come up through the travertine if I went that route or used any modified thinset without a moisture barrier.
"Latex leaching" is not efflorescence. It is two distinctly different issues. Sorry but I would disagree with all four of them. Latex leaching would be rare in a case such as this I think.

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Maybe I should just put the DITRA down but stop the coating 6" from the wall so that it can wick out? If it wicks out concentrated in that area, would I run the risk of discoloration of the stone?
Yup, I think so.

Are you running a dehumidifier?

Why use a porcelain tile that mimics travertine and a Portland grout? This would allow moisture migration and evaporation through the grout lines and the tile could not be damaged from excessive moisture.
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:45 AM   #9
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High moisture in slab, should I put down a barrier for travertine? help!


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Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
Agreed, that would be the next logical place to look for issues. What about downspouts and yard irrigation?


in southern california, that would be my guess. Sprinkler water finding its way under your slab
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Old 11-21-2011, 01:35 PM   #10
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High moisture in slab, should I put down a barrier for travertine? help!


There are no sprinklers or any kind of moisture hitting my yard or any yard around me.
My slab is showing 2-3" above the ground all the way around the house.
My wife is pretty set on a pattern of travertine we got a sample of from directbuild.
Not running a dehumidifier but the AC does stay on most of the day and night.
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Old 11-21-2011, 01:41 PM   #11
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High moisture in slab, should I put down a barrier for travertine? help!


...and the water table is at what elevation this time of year?
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Old 11-21-2011, 01:47 PM   #12
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I dont really know the details of the water table. I am assuming it has remained constant in its height for the past 3 months though.
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:12 PM   #13
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High moisture in slab, should I put down a barrier for travertine? help!


then high moisture just doesn't make sense. There has to be a reason
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:17 PM   #14
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High moisture in slab, should I put down a barrier for travertine? help!


It is possible that my house was built without putting visqueen under the slab 25 years ago. Keep in mind, this is southern Louisiana and we are very close to sea level and normally it stays very humid and moist for 3/4 of the year. Unfortunately we also have the least strict rules for moisture on new houses in the country... unlike Florida.

Like I was saying though, I dont think I will be able to get to the bottom of the problem. I am just looking for the best viable solution to put something down and wipe my hands of it without any further problems in the future.
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Old 11-21-2011, 03:15 PM   #15
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High moisture in slab, should I put down a barrier for travertine? help!


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It is possible that my house was built without putting visqueen under the slab 25 years ago. Keep in mind, this is southern Louisiana and we are very close to sea level and normally it stays very humid and moist for 3/4 of the year. Unfortunately we also have the least strict rules for moisture on new houses in the country... unlike Florida.
Good reason to run de-humidfiers year-round.

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