Some flooring products are not recommended for all areas of the home or conditions that may exist within certain rooms. Understand product limitations before committing to purchase or specification. Vinyl products for example, shrink and expand with changing temperatures. Direct sunlight through south facing windows can quickly cause temperatures to increase above a product's limitations. Choice of adhesive may mitigate movement but will not prevent it when extremes occur. Understand the limitations of any product you are considering by reading the installation guidelines and warranty exclusions. Some products for example include statements such as, ‘do not install product in areas of direct sunlight’ or ‘to satisfy warranty requirements window coverings must be installed to protect flooring from direct sun (heat). Homeowners don’t know this. Flooring and design professionals should. Products with ambiguous or inadequate installation guidelines should not be purchased. Choose products based on performance first and aesthetic second. www.nfca.ca
Here's our latest Coverings Magazine article: Specs Matter - Managing the end at the beginning. https://bit.ly/2XMqTLx
Pre-installation site meetings between all parties help set process, budget and a realistic schedule
Pre-installation site meetings between all parties help set process, budget & a realistic schedule to plan for the unique challenges of installing complex floor covering products properly. Flooring systems can involve multiple layers of different products (from various suppliers) and are ultimately as strong as the weakest link. A typical scenario may include the original concrete surface, moisture barrier, primer, Hydraulic Cement Underlayment (HCU), new adhesive & finally... a floor covering. Considering how many layers of product & the dollar investment that sits on top of the parent slab, the risk of short cutting on surface preparation, specifically removal of all pre-existing contaminants such as old adhesive from the original surface, is simply not worth it! 10,000 square foot office space - Original concrete surface covered in old adhesive which was left in place before primer was applied and HCU poured. Soon after a new adhesive and Vinyl Composite Tile (VCT) floor installation went ahead. Result, sporadic lifting where the HCU de-bonded from the old adhesive. Cost to mechanically remove the old adhesive? Insignificant compared to the cost of full floor system removal & relocating a busy office for many weeks. www.nfca.ca
The finished result can exhibit many issues that may seem problematic to the untrained eye but are in fact acceptable to industry standards. Viewing finished installations under extreme lighting conditions, or from a low or particular angle, that highlight irregularities is a recipe for dispute. Imperfections exist in construction, grey areas between acceptable and not acceptable fuel much debate and many unnecessary hold-backs. When resilient flooring (vinyl, rubber, linoleum) for example, with its' reflective surface and telegraphing characteristic, is installed over an acceptable concrete sub-floor, the finished product will still show undulations. NFCA supports construction parties across Canada when such disputes arise by offering inspections through a network of independent certified experts who are experienced and trained to inspect and report from a position of 'what's right, not who's right'. Getting the facts from a third party who has no skin in the game helps those caught up in a dispute to agree and move forward from a position of trust. For more information go to: www.nfca.ca/inspections.html
Avoid the problems! Don’t underestimate the placement of Gypsum Cement Underlayment in construction or, as a floor covering contractor, the installation of glue down flooring (especially resilient flooring) over a Gypsum surface. Gypsum concrete offers many advantages over regular concrete such as fire resistance, acoustical properties and a lighter over all weight. When properly mixed and placed it can offer the same compressive strength (Industry recommendation 4000psi /27mpa for resilient flooring), is easier to place and smooth out due to its runnier consistency and is also less prone to cracking.
Most often used in wood frame construction as an underlayment (thickness of 1 ½” /38mm) and also when hydronic radiant heating systems are present. Issues such as dusting, cracking, de-bonding, and overly soft surfaces leave projects with significant problems, corrective costs and delays and are mostly caused by poor planning, over watering, improper mixing and questionable site conditions. Refer to NFCA Floor Covering Reference Manual Specification Guide - Section AA2 - 03-54-12 – Gypsum Cement Underlayment.
Cutting and pasting old specs into new documents devalues the purpose of the spec, leads to incorrect installation process and can result in perfectly good flooring products under performing or failing altogether. There are generic, Canadian floor covering specifications online at https://lnkd.in/ezn6udg available to design authorities for specifying floor covering installation work. This specification resource guides the process of floor covering installation and advises all parties on product acclimation, correct indoor environmental conditions, testing requirements, sub-floor flatness requirements, surface preparation, installer qualifications and clearly assigns scope of work to the correct party. Include the correct language in your next floor covering spec with the words: 'Perform all work in accordance with the NFCA Floor Covering Reference Manual of Canada and the manufacturer’s recommendations for the type of work that applies'. With this done, industry standards and correct procedure can be referenced throughout the installation.
To simultaneously protect budgets, deadlines and product warranties, planning ahead is critical. This means ‘Scope of Work’ (who is responsible for what on site) must be clearly understood in advance so that the Construction Manager and Flooring Contractor have accurately covered their work scope in their initial bid for the work and can subsequently afford (based on original bid) to work together throughout the build. This way deflected, curled slabs can be properly managed before floor coverings are scheduled, correct ASTM moisture testing requirements can be budgeted and factored into the schedule, surface prep reviewed understood and managed properly and indoor ‘service’ conditions provided prior to and during installation. With these four items properly specified, understood by all involved and planned for, installers can do the work they are trained to do and clients will stand a better chance of getting the flooring they expect... on budget, on time and with warranty intact. Specify the NFCA Floor Covering Reference Manual. Call 1.604.371.0137 for details. Or go to www.nfca.ca
Timely provision of an acceptable surface to the floor covering installer is necessary to avoid delays and ensure quality
The timely provision of an acceptable surface to the floor covering installer is necessary to avoid delays and ensure quality. The Floor Covering Reference/Specification Manual of Canada states 'The General Contractor shall provide substrate surface level and flatness conditions acceptable for floor covering materials (straightedge measure of 3/16" over 10'). This shall include grinding or sanding of ridges, undulations, projections, and areas of carbonation and scaling and filling and leveling of expansion joints, cracks, grooves and other irregularities. Where patching or leveling is required, the use of an approved Hydraulic Cement Underlayment is recommended'. For existing slabs the same applies including the removal of any and all surface contaminants including old adhesives. The flooring contractor may take on this work as a billable extra. www.floorcoveringreferencemanual.com
Luxury Vinyl Planks and Tiles change shape according to changes in temperature that exceed manufacturers' recommendations. Avoid the problems of post-installation shrinkage (gapping between planks) and/or expansion (lifting at joints). Deliver all flooring materials (including adhesives and accessories) wrapped/ sealed in original labeled and unopened packaging a minimum of 48 hours before installation, to a round-the- clock (night time too) temperature controlled environment (20c / 45% RH). Confirm the temperature of the subfloor surface, the installation space (room), the floor covering product and related materials have ALL reached the recommended temperature before installing. SPEC NOTE: Sufficient, secure, dry, and heated storage space to store floor covering materials, tools and equipment necessary for installation shall be provided by the General Contractor or Owner. Do not deliver floor covering products to site until correct conditions exist. www.nfca.ca
Wood changes colour when first exposed to daylight. Floor protection from ongoing construction activity should be applied from wall to wall. Tape the protection at seams and NOT to the wood floor surface. NFCA Floor Covering Reference/Specification Manual states: Installed flooring shall be protected with heavy Kraft-paper or other suitable covering as recommended by the flooring manufacturer. Do not use non-breathable sheet or film that could cause condensation to form. This covering must be maintained throughout the remainder of construction period. The overall responsibility for the protection of all installed flooring, from completion of work until the Owner's take-over, is the responsibility of the General Contractor. The flooring contractor will not be able to control the work or actions of on-site workers, or the actions of persons causing damage from setting-up or delivering equipment, furniture, or other items to the site. www.floorcoveringreferencemanual.com