- Tramex Concrete Moisture Meters and Kits
- Tramex EIFS Inspection Moisture Meters and Kits
- Tramex Flooring Inspection Moisture Meters and Kits
- Tramex Home Inspection Moisture Meters and Kits
- Tramex Infrared Thermometer
- Tramex Parts and Probes
- Tramex Pest Control Moisture Meters and Kits
- Tramex Roofing Moisture Meter and Scanner
Tramex is a world known manufacturer of moisture meters. The company has an intensive research program, and in fact was an inventor of a first ever non-destructive moisture meter. Their products are designed and made in Ireland.
Tramex moisture testers are designed to produce accurate and consistent readings in many applications related to inspection of building envelope. They measure source and extend of moisture related problems or damages to aid work of any professional working with water damage areas in flooring, walls, roofing and indoor air quality. Tramex meters work with specific materials, such as concrete or wood.
The quality and accuracy of Tramex meters is outstanding, so even flooring industry leaders like SICA recommend using them, as reference testers. Try one today to improve your testing of water related problems and to save time while troubleshooting problems or making sure you can apply any coatings to concrete safely.
Tramex is an international industry-leading manufacturer of high-tech moisture meters that set a standard for quality and innovation. Tramex engineers were the first to develop and patent non-destructive moisture meters and offer the most comprehensive and advanced range of instruments available on the market for detecting, tracing and measuring moisture in the building envelope. Tramex provides moisture testing solutions for Flooring, Walls & Roofing, Water Damage Restoration, Indoor Air Quality, as well as for material specific industries related to Wood and Concrete, and produces each meter to a rigorous standard that is individually verified and calibrated before shipping. Purchasing a Tramex instrument is an investment in a high-quality product that will consistently out-perform the competition year after year.
One of the most crucial moisture content tests that can you can perform in the world of commercial buildings is testing flat roofing for excess moisture. Too much moisture can spell massive problems, costing in the tens of thousands of dollars to repair, making regular and preventative moisture testing essential. Consistent testing is both a money saver for your clients and a great source of business for technicians who are skilled and experienced in moisture testing on flat roofing.
Tramex moisture meters offer the industry standard in non-destructive roof moisture testing, using the electrical impedance method that meets the rigorous ASTM D7954 standard. In the following section, we are going to cover the basics of how to perform a test of flat roofing to the ASTM D7954 standard using the ultimate in non-destructive roof moisture meters – the Tramex DEC Scanner.
The ASTM D7954 Standard
The ASTM itself is an international non-profit organization that develops testing standards for a vast array of different commercial and manufacturing applications. They use the consensus of experts and engineers in each field to determine the best practices for building, testing, manufacturing, etc. On the international level these standards are voluntary, but because they represent the best way to perform a particular test, they are often cited in local laws and regulations. That means that in some jurisdictions they have the weight of law, so it is essential for contractors to meet these standards.
Meeting these standards in an easy, cost-effective way enables testing companies to work in a much larger geographical range. Thus, it is important to employ technicians and methods that can easily meet these standards.
The ASTM D7954 itself was rolled out in its current form in 2014. Its full name is "Practice for Moisture Surveying of Roofing and Waterproofing Systems Using Non-Destructive Electrical Impedance Scanners". That's a mouthful to be sure, but mainly it describes the best practice for using a digital moisture content meter on a flat roof without having to tear it all up and use traditional moisture meters. This accomplished by sending an electrical current from one electrode through the roof under the scanner and allowing the scanner to receive the signal back to a second electrode. You could think of the current like an upside-down rainbow bouncing from one sensor to another. While this signal is passing through the roofing material, if there is moisture present, the signal will be altered.
The Tramex Dec Scanner or DSAL (DSAL is the unit's part number, so we'll use them interchangeably from here on out), is designed to use formulas that give you different moisture readings on the scanner based on the way and degree that the signal is altered by the materials moisture content. Tramex has always been at the cutting edge of this technology, and many regulating bodies and private companies that want testing this standard recommend specifically Tramex moisture content meters like the DSAL (Dec Scanner).
How To Perform The Test
The first step in performing this roof moisture testing, if possible, is to obtain a map of the roofing surface. As much information as is available about the actual construction of the roofing surface will help tremendously. You can create this map yourself, and Tramex offers specialized App software that can ease the burden a bit. This is one excellent advantage you can capitalize on when using a Tramex digital moisture meter. However, if you can obtain any kind of building plans before performing the job, they will be very valuable.
The purpose of having these plans, or creating your own map, is to give you a lay of the land so that if the test does show increased moisture or even damage, you can trace the potential problem or leak back to its source. If you are able to obtain plans that include more about the construction than just the roof layout this will be a great help as well.
The next step is a bit obvious, but it bears saying anyway. The roof surface should be free of debris and dry on the surface from rain or dew. Now you don't need to go out there with a Shop-Vac and make sure it's perfect, but the Tramex Dec Scanner is designed like a little push lawn mower and you just don't want anything that will trip you up when moving the scanner across the surface. Also, moisture from rain or dew will cause you some problems with your readings. We are looking for moisture in the building material itself, not the surface.
Next, you'll need to calibrate the unit to the ranges necessary for the material type. This is variable, and we can't discuss it here, but it's easy to do and the Dec Scanner has instructions to do it, or you can touch base with Tramex support staff. The Tramex Dec Scanner is actually designed to the width of a standard roll of roofing felt, so with your trusty map of the roof in hand, it should be relatively simple to begin scanning in a row-by-row way. Just push it down the length of the roof like you are mowing the lawn.
As you proceed, if there is moisture or potential damage you'll receive an irregular reading. Mark these readings where they occur on your map of the roof. It's often a good idea to mark these areas directly on the surface of the roof as well. If there is more severe damage, these psychical markings will let you know later where potential core samples will need to be taken and will save you the hassle of having to correlate with the map. Irregular areas that have been previously repaired or occur on seams etc. should be tested separately, as they can provide irregular results compared to the rest of the standard roofing.
Because of the push and test-as-you-go nature of the Dec Scanner, Tramex estimates that you can reasonably test up to 100,000 square feet of roofing – per day! If you are marking potential moisture-damaged areas as you go on your map or the App, this will allow you to very quickly build up a visual concept of the whole moisture condition of your work area and actually see how to proceed with the next round of testing or repair. It will look something like this picture here: (insert image)
Finally, if you encounter significant moisture readings when doing a scan with the DSAL, there are two next steps you should take that both involve taking a core sample from the area that could be damaged. The first is a gravimetric analysis, according to the ASTM C1616. This is a somewhat complex procedure that we can't fully cover in a post online, but we'll hit some quick basics before moving on. ASTM C1616 another standard set by the same governing body, ASTM, that describes the best practice for performing a moisture test using the precipitation method of gravimetric analysis.
Gravimetric Moisture Testing
To put it very simply - the actual process is more complex and requires specialized knowledge - gravimetric analysis is a method of testing that involves measuring the relative weights of insulation material in wet and dry states. Take a core sample from the area and measure its weight in the "wet" state and record that weight. Next, you dry the samples in an oven-type chamber for 24 hours at 230 degrees Fahrenheit. At 24 hours, you weigh the samples again and record the weight. Place the samples back in the chamber for an additional hour and then reweigh. You continue this process at 1-hour intervals until there is no change in the weight between drying sessions. This weight is your final "dry" weight. After you have the "wet" weight and the "dry" weight, you calculate the moisture content by using this formula: Wet Weight minus Dry Weight divided by Dry Weight times 100. Here's a handy picture of the formula: (insert image). Now, this process may seem super complicated and involved, but you can definitely learn it with training, and the moisture content data it gives is so accurate that you can actually use it to calibrate readings from digital moisture content meters. So, doing it by hand in the gravimetric fashion can actually greatly improve the quality of your work with digital moisture meters and ensure that your entire analysis is to the highest possible standard. Once the moisture values are obtained from gravimetric testing, you should add these results to your overall moisture map of the roofing surface. On to the next test!
[Probe and Pin Testing
The second test to perform is a more direct measurement of the moisture content using another Tramex digital moisture meter, like CMEX II, that uses relative humidity probes. (Finish Later...)]
The Tramex RWS Roof and Wall Scanner
Let's take a small sidestep here and have a look at another useful Tramex roof moisture meter – the Tramex RWS Roof and Wall Scanner. Now, this handy non-invasive moisture meter works in a similar way to the Dec Scanner that we discussed above. It uses an electrical signal passing from one electrode to another like a bow through the material that you are testing. You could almost think of it as a miniature DSAL, since it weighs in at about 2 pounds and is more of a handheld held meter, as opposed to the larger push tester. The Roof and Wall Scanner also meets the demanding ASTM D7954 standard, and in this regard Tramex shows themselves to be on the cutting edge of professional moisture meters.
Now, of course, the question is - why do you need the RWS if you've already invested in the large-area Dec Scanner? The answer is threefold. The first good reason is that the Tramex has equipped the RWS with a telescoping handle that allows you to place the meter in otherwise unreachable areas. If there is a sizeable non-removable object, like a commercial air-conditioning unit on the roof you are testing, you can use the long handle to check under the unit. Now, if there is significant moisture under the said unit, it may still need to be removed to allow for more in-depth core sampling, as described above. However, this more maneuverable feature of the Roof and Wall Scanner enables you to test the entirety of the roof surface, hitting areas that are inaccessible to the larger DSAL unit.
Another great reason to have the Tramex roof and wall moisture scanner in your toolbox is the ability to do non-destructive moisture testing on smaller roofing projects that don't require the comparatively large DSAL to get the job done. You'll have to make this decision based on the size of the job you've been contracted for, but generally, in light-commercial/office buildings and residential jobs, the RWS roofing moisture meter is going to suit you just fine. This comment segues nicely into the third reason to pick up a Tramex RWS: the diversity of application inside the building envelope from this single meter.
Of course, that's just fancy jargon to say that this meter does multiple jobs, and you might have guessed that the second type of test this little meter will do involves - that's right - walls! You could have just as easily called the meter the Tramex EIFS moisture meter because that's what folks are really looking for in a wall moisture meter. So let's climb down off the roof and check this feature out.
EIFS stands for Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems. These are continuous thermal insulation claddings that consist of an insulation board attached by adhesive or mechanically to the substrate material, a reinforced base coat, and then a textured coat as the finish. These are very versatile claddings that allow a lot of flexibility for architects to create the aesthetics they require. Generally, this type of insulation keeps moisture out reasonably well, but if it creeps into the substrate material and the insulation stays wet, it can almost completely lose its thermal value and compromise the integrity of the structure. This danger applies even more to foam insulation.
How to Scan For Excess Wall Moisture
The scanning procedure is similar in concept to the roof moisture scanning procedure described above but on a smaller scale. You'll want as much information about the building envelope as possible, but you can certainly work on insulation in walls without it. First, calibrate the unit to a known dry material. Next, begin scanning in a horizontal or vertical pattern, making sure to sweep the entire surface of the wall. If you detect any irregular moisture content, you can simply mark that spot on the wall itself and continue on. Now, generally speaking, thermal insulation that you can confirm to be wet needs to be replaced, and the next step you want to take will vary depending on the degree of damage. However, the Roof and Wall Scanner is an excellent diagnostic tool and your first line of defense when working with potentially wet insulation, especially EIFS, which are the standard nowadays in well-made buildings. Overall, a painless and straightforward procedure. Tramex non-destructive moisture meters make all this testing a snap, and the savings in cost and hassle as a technician is tremendous.