Eliminate Condensation on a Concrete Porch Floor
LESLIE: Rick in Louisiana has an interesting problem. I’ve heard about sweaty palms but a sweaty concrete porch?
LESLIE: Is it nervous? Does it have a hot date? (laughing)
RICK: Well, it depends on what its temperature is. (laughing) We get some 45-degree days – quite a few in a row – and then all of a sudden we get a south wind and it’s about 75 degrees and about 80 percent humidity. And it’s like the outside of a glass of cold water; it just sweats to the point where it’s … this is a covered concrete porch.
TOM: Right. Yeah, it’s condensation. It’s condensation.
RICK: And it’s just pure condensation. I don’t think it’s anything coming up from below it. And what can we … and somewhere and on one spot, it looks like something was spilled on it. And it does not condensate at that spot. I wish we could find whatever it was that got spilled on it. (chuckling)
TOM: Do you … have you ever painted this with anything?
RICK: No, it is just fresh concrete. I mean …
TOM: Because I’m thinking that if you put … you know, concrete is so hydroscopic. You have the moisture that may land from the air but you also have a lot of moisture that holds from below. So Leslie, I’m thinking that if he paints it with like an epoxy paint – you know, like an EPOXYShield or something like that.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Well, EPOXYShield is a great option because that is like a paint but instead of being a paint with such a serious color, it’s almost like a painted surface and then there’s like a clear coat with like sparkles in it. It’s so 50s and kind of retro; it’s really cool. But you can also use an epoxy-based paint which can come in a variety of colors and even a variety of opacities to the colors. So you can really get a variety in the look that you’re looking for; whether it’s just a deep paint or a lighter paint, like a tint. And that’ll seal it almost, in itself, and make it so that your condensation problem might be solved.
RICK: Is it … but is it … it appears to us that it’s that the condensation is from the air onto the concrete
RICK: …itself. And it’s almost instantaneous if you get a change in the front … weather front.
TOM: Correct. But you know what, that concrete that’s unfinished is holding so much moisture, right now, that the condensation probably occurs quicker.
RICK: Now, is it holding moisture … now we have cold dry air, so the concrete is probably … I mean it’s dry, cold air when we get the cold weather.
TOM: Well, it tends to be a very hydroscopic material. It’s soaks up water very, very readily.
TOM: Another thing to look at is just your general drainage conditions around that porch to make sure you’re not letting any water collect against the concrete where it’s …
RICK: No, it is … it is pure condensation or …
RICK: … you know, the hydroscopic (inaudible).
TOM: I would suggest you paint the porch with an epoxy-based paint. So it’ll give you a little traction and I think it’s going to cut back on the condensation issue.
RICK: Now is there any other kind of materials that you can put over it to …
RICK: … (inaudible) like tile or something or …?
TOM: Well, sure. Or you could put a wood deck over it or …
LESLIE: Yeah, you build a wood deck over it; would be gorgeous.
TOM: You know, you could do something of that nature.
RICK: Okay. Now, if we put … if we build a wood deck … right now, the porch is actually … it’s actually screened in and if we built it up an inch or two, I mean we’d have to change the door jambs and everything.
TOM: Yeah, well you want to avoid that.
RICK: Yeah, how … I mean … but you … can you lay decking right over wood or does it have to be an air …
TOM: Sure, well what you could do, for example … what would be nice is if you put, say, 5/4 boards down on the flat …
TOM: … and that becomes the base that’s really just going to help tie this whole thing together.
LESLIE: Would you Tapcon those right into the concrete?
TOM: Sure. Sure. And then you can use a composite decking product on top of that. You can use Trex or Veranda. And so, between the two of them, you’d only be talking about – what? – like an inch and a half, right? Yeah, about an inch-and-a-half.
RICK: It will actually be two inches because the 5/4 …
TOM: (overlapping) I’m sorry. Yeah, you’re right. Yeah, it would be two … it actually would be two-and-a-quarter about, all together. Yeah, (inaudible).
RICK: … is an inch and the Trex would be an inch, right? Could you just have the Trex or something by itself? Or the wood … or …
TOM: Well, you could. But then, the thing is, how are you going to … how are you going to nail it down or screw it down? You need something as a cross member to tie it together.
RICK: Right, okay. Course, with the Trex and stuff, would you need to tie it down? Because I mean if you put it in tight enough …
TOM: Somehow it’s going to have to attach. Yeah.
TOM: One way or the other.
RICK: You’ve given me some options.
TOM: Alright. Well, that’s what we’re here to do, Rick.
RICK: Thank you very, very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.