As a flooring professional who has been in our industry for 26 years, I have seen a lot of changes in the way flooring can be installed. Not only the method for installing flooring, but also the backing systems used on the flooring. Traditionally, broadloom carpet had a breathable backing system, either jute or polypropylene. Now there is almost an infinite amount of backing systems for broadloom that can either be breathable or non-breathable.
So why am I bringing this up? Knowing the backing system of the carpet you are installing is vital to a successful installation. The backing system of the carpet you are installing will dictate which form of moisture testing you will need to do prior to installation. Not all moisture testing is relevant for broadloom carpet with a breathable backing system. If you are planning to install a broadloom carpet that has a breathable backing system, you will need to use ASTM F1869 Standard Test Method for Measuring Moisture Vapor Emission Rate of Concrete Subfloor using Anhydrous Calcium Chloride to look for moisture. F1869 has been around for many years and is a good standard as long as you understand what it is telling you. ASTM F2170 Standard Test Method for Determining Relative Humidity in Concrete Floor Slabs Using in situ Probes shouldn’t be used for this application as the results will not be useful in an installation where the surface of the concrete isn’t covered with a non-permeable floor covering. When installing a carpet backing that is non-breathable, then ASTM F2170 is an acceptable test method.