There are times when moisture or water reaches the area between tile and subfloor and becomes trapped. To be specific, that typically happens with floating subfloor.

What is Floating Subfloor?

Floating subfloor is a type of subfloor or substrate that does not touch cement/mortar bed beneath the tiled surface. It literally floats there.

If you are using waterproof underlayment, then this subfloor will rest on the underlayment. Made from plastic, polyethylene and sometimes, styrofoam, the subfloor provides a greater degree of water and moisture resistant. If you are using waterproof tiles, then this subfloor will add to the water-resistant properties of your flooring.

But, that is not the only property of floating subfloor. It adds character, warmth, and homeliness to your flooring.

Despite all those gains, there is one drawback. Water or moisture often gets trapped in floating subfloor. If there is moisture, it may ignite problems like cracking of tiles and cement bed.

If you are facing the same issue, this article offers some of the tips and tricks to rid of it, and save your expensive tile investment. Check out the following subheadings –

Identify the Exactness and Severity of the Issue –

This may sound a professional’s job, but you can do it yourself too. If you notice several darker patches or areas on your flooring, then it is a good sign of moisture problem with your subfloor.

Ideally, these signs can be easily spotted before installing tiles while laying the subfloor. If there such signs, you can fix it right away.

Mark and Remove the Affected Areas –

Once you have identified the moisture-affected zones on your floating subfloor, it is time to mark and remove them. As mentioned above, this substrate is prepared from plastic, polyethylene, or styrofoam, you can remove it easily.

Better it would be to remove the entire subfloor. Because, if some areas show that they are affected by moisture, it is likely that the entire concrete/cement bed has moisture problem. You will need to place a waterproof underlayment or barrier between concrete and floating substrate.

This will help control the issues caused by moisture in future.

* How to apply moisture barrier on concrete substrate –

* Mix the moisture barrier mixture in a bucket or container.

* Apply it evenly over the concrete.

* You might want to use a notched trowel for this.

* Let it settle and dry before moving forward with floating subfloor installation.

Dry the Floating Substrate Material –

The best part is, you can reuse the material. Once removed, it is not a waste.

Place the material in a well ventilated area, under the fan or in a room where you have dehumidifier. The idea is to let the material dry and zero down the chances of trapped moisture.

Remember: do not dry it under the sun. Otherwise, it might shrink and change its shape or size. So, let it dry naturally, at its own pace. Also, ensure that the concrete or cement bed is completely dry.

Reinstall the Substrate –

Once the floating material has dried completely, and you do not notice any darker areas on it, it is ready for reinstallation. Check its condition thoroughly before reinstalling it. Watch for parts that need to be removed. Cut those parts carefully. Make sure you have replacement for the areas you cut.

All set? Now, install the floating subfloor over the dried concrete bed.

Join different pieces firmly together. Ascertain that there are no wide openings on the substrate. Let it dry too before moving to the next stage i.e. tile installation.

Generally, if you have used a good quality waterproofing barrier and allow the concrete to dry, there will be no such issues.

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