Being a Territory Manager at TSF has given me a chance to investigate different types of flooring installation issues. Whether the issue happened almost immediately, after a few months, or even a few years later, an improper install can cause serious problems. In many of these inspections, it was clear that the floor was ill-fated before it was even put down.
Installing Over Subfloor
The lack of proper subfloor preparation can be either the direct cause of the problem or at least play a significant contributing factor. When this happens, consumers are displeased and aggravated when they have to go through the claims process to get it fixed.
Fluctuation and waviness in the subfloor can affect the installation process in several ways. A common problem is tile and plank run-off because of the unevenness of a floor. While it may appear straight, the flooring is not square or resistant when trying to install. In fact, you may discover that the substrate is the problem. Uneven subfloors can also cause problems when installing sheet vinyl with heat welding equipment. It can impact the integrity of the finished seam.
Telegraphing, or revealing the surface of the coated part of the substrate, can detract from the visual appearance and design of the floor. Installations that include complex patterns, feature strips, borders, and insets can really be impacted and destroy the design of the space.
Installing Over Concrete
It is important that flooring installers understand what is required to properly prepare a concrete slab for a successful resilient flooring installation. Installers should be familiar with the flooring manufacturer’s recommendations to insure industry standards.
While skim-coating the floor provides a smooth surface, it does not remove the waviness of the concrete because the slab is a guide for the installers trowel. The thin application of the patching compound does not fill in between the fluctuation or unevenness of the slab. Using a Self-Leveler on concrete is used to create a smooth, flat, or level surface prior to the installation of floor covering.
Skipping steps on floor prep is not something to mess with. Even flooring that is described as “rigid and will bridge the gaps” or “the flooring is thicker and fluctuations in the floor won’t show through” are common misinterpretations. This can often turn into a large, frustrating, embarrassing, and costly mistake.
Building a strong foundation should always begin with a solid subfloor that meets or exceeds the flooring manufacturer’s guidelines and industry standards. Therefore, it is important to understand specification information and the manufacturer recommendations. Together we can master the building of a strong foundation.
– Dean Nagel