Hand-held devices simplify moisture measurement in concrete and give instant readings. Kett US Managing Director John Bogart explores why such measurements are necessary and the advantages of moisture gauges that require no training.



For concrete contractors, everything from seasonal temperature, rain, humidity, and groundwater to circulating air can greatly affect the moisture content in concrete and mortar at the jobsite. This can impact setting and drying time—and incorporating the wrong moisture levels in concrete and mortar can be disastrous to quality, finish, longevity, and even safety.

lthough the construction industry has access to moisture meters, to some extent, these tools typically require calibration, sampling, and time. In addition, they are not always portable or durable enough to be used on job sites.

Fortunately, hand-held, durable, instant moisture measurement devices are now available that allow anyone without special training to spot-check concrete and mortar at the jobsite to assure that it is properly mixed, set, and dry. In many cases, such pre-calibrated systems allow non-destructive, non-invasive testing on digital displays with no pinholes or discoloration.

To examine the benefits of this approach—which not only improves quality but also facilitates construction work as soon as feasible, speeding project completion—John Bogart, Managing Director of Kett US, a manufacturer of a full range of moisture and organic composition analyzers, answered a few questions on simplifying the moisture measurement test.

Q. How can seasonal heat and moisture affect concrete?
A. Concrete-water ratios can make a big difference in the permeability of concrete, but air humidity and summer heat also can affect the rate at which moisture migrates through drying concrete. High humidity can increase the risk of fractures and other structural issues. Concrete can also gradually change from ductile to brittle when humidity decreases, which naturally occurs when summer heat affects concrete’s evaporation time.