Is Your Concrete Floor Sweating?

Warehouse Condensation Concrete sweating is a problem for many warehouses and manufacturing facilities in the Southeast. The most common time for this occurrence is in late spring and early summer when the temperature of the concrete is below the dewpoint temperature of the air. The water vapor in the air condensates and accumulates on the surface of the floor much like a glass of ice water. This condensation can create slip and fall hazards, depending on the surface of your concrete floor.

During a recent product demonstration, we were working with a customer that had a very significant slip and fall hazard that was being created by condensation in the warehouse. There was a large section of the warehouse loading dock that would not dry even with the assistance of several floor fans. They were forced to close off the section due to lift trucks not being able to get traction in the area. Upon inspection of the area, we found that the section had been contaminated with a small amount of oil that had seeped into the porous concrete. Once the section became saturated from condensation, the oil kept the concrete from absorbing the water or allowing the water to dry completely.

For the demonstration, we pared the Advance Advenger with a 28 inch scrub deck, eco-flex detergent dispenser and MCP Muscle degreaser. We used the degreaser at 1:32 by setting the controlled dilution rate on the eco-flex system and scrubbed over the section that was creating such problems for this company.

After going over the same path twice, we were able to get the results you see to the right. The customer left the fans running while we were scrubbing the floors, so the visual was astounding. By the second lap around the area, the first pass had dried and left no oily residue, condensation or floor scrubber solution. After two passes, the floor was completely cleaned where we had scrubbed and was ready for foot traffic.

This customer had a severe issue in a small area with relation to the square footage, but this is actually a very common occurrence. Condensation gets the blame when the major slip and fall issue is created by a small amount of oil that has developed over the surface of the floor. This oil is deposited from lift truck traffic and/or product spills. All lift trucks utilize hydraulics that will leak over time. A little bit of oil can go a long way and doesn’t take long to be spread throughout the facility with heavy traffic. A good degreaser used at least periodically can greatly reduce slip and fall issues that are due to seasonal condensation.

Below is an image of the completed area. You can see that the remainder of the facility has a sheen that is created by a thin layer of oil.
Warehouse condensation at the fringe