What is the solution? Understand the #1 reason the flooring contractor will walk off the job at the eleventh hour. The construction process, as it relates to slab flatness, does not work for the concrete pourer or the flooring contractor. Section 03-54-16 'Hydraulic Cement Underlayment', is conspicuously missing when it is needed just before the floor installation is scheduled so that slab creep, curl and deflection (sag) can be properly addressed as a billable extra prior to flooring installation. With this done the floor covering manufactures spec of 3/16" over 10' can be met. This disconnect between the concrete trade (Division 3) and floor covering trade (Division 9) ensures the opposite and results in delays, onsite and court room battles, failed flooring and clients left with second rate products. If you've dealt with situations like this and want know why, follow this link to an informative article on the topic: https://lnkd.in/gWHSMAt
Having an unbiased, independent, not-for-profit resource that all building parties (construction manager, design authority, floor covering installer, building owner) can refer to for best practices and industry recognized standards, is one way to get the right instructions agreed to in advance and included in the construction documents. It benefits all to have everyone on the same page, understanding their scope of work, pricing, bidding, scheduling accordingly and subsequently working better together. Where possible, NFCA is working with each of the construction groups to be that resource and support industry accepted practices for the floor covering installation portion of a build, just one small, but problematic, component of a much bigger construction picture.
Nothing happens until someone sells something! Will that something be good or bad? Will the job be assessed, measured and quantified accurately? Will the customers’ expectations be properly set so that installation can start on time and continue uninterrupted? These and more issues are addressed during this one day sales course. For details go to our education page.
Just enough maintenance and no more! Excessive moisture, introduced by wet mopping and an overzealous maintenance schedule can not only cause damage to floor finishes but can cause wood, bamboo, laminate and other wood composite flooring products to expand excessively. Wet mopping and steam cleaning for example are NOT recommended. Occasional damp and regular dry mopping are. If/when the flooring grows and binds on a vertical obstruction it will then buckle and possibly lift. This can result in up-down movement of the flooring system called deflection (soft spots) as seen in this clip. Non flat (wavy sub-floor surfaces) can also cause deflection issues but for very different reasons. Good quality products provide clear maintenance (and related warranty) instructions that should be left with the client after the flooring is installed. Lack of knowledge and understanding regarding maintenance is a major cause of product failure and client dissatisfaction... unnecessary! This easily ignored and yet simple after sales service should be a must in our industry.
Steel containers are a no place to store and condition (acclimate) new flooring on site. Every year thousands of square feet of flooring products (including self-leveling cements and adhesives), are spoiled due to storing materials in this way prior to installation. Unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer, flooring should be acclimated in an ambient temperature of between 18° C to 24° C (65° F to 75° F) and relative humidity between 35 - 55% or eventual living conditions. Ambient air temperature, sub-floor surface and product temperature along with ambient relative humidity and sub-floor moisture content should be confirmed at correct levels prior to installation. 'Sufficient, secure, dry and heated storage space to store floor covering materials, tools and equipment necessary for installation should be provided by the General Contractor or Owner' Source: www.floorcoveringreferencemanual.com
National Floor Covering Association (NFCA) is proud to partner with Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) to promote floor covering specifications, quality assurance and education in the construction industry. www.idcanada.org
Consult experts (NFCA members) and choose carefully when considering safety flooring. The slip resistance or coefficient of friction (COF) of flooring is dependent not only on the design of the flooring (surface texture / pattern, density of embedded rough particles, etc.) but may also vary considerably due to the presence of contaminants, water, floor finishes, and other factors not under the control of the designer, flooring contractor or builder, including improper cleaning and maintenance and even inappropriate foot wear. 'Slip-proof' and 'non-slip flooring' are terms that must not be used, as no flooring is entirely slip resistant. Source: NFCA Floor Covering Reference Manual. Find an NFCA manufacturer who specializes in such products in your Province at www.nfca.ca
The NFCA Quality Assurance Program (QAP) is a specifiable, commercial floor inspection service that helps construction teams ensure important site conditions exist before installation proceeds. Independent inspectors give a voice to the spec on site and support by answering questions, recording site metrics, reviewing testing requirements and issuing unbiased reports that are delivered simultaneously to all parties involved in the build. The goal is to have the flooring installed according to manufacturers installation guidelines, leave the client with a quality product (and warranty), avoid delays and reduce claims. QAP is aimed at larger commercial projects where the stakes are high and deadlines often supersede quality. In such cases, QAP allows the entire construction team to understand the risks and to make choices together from a position of trust. The alternative... push the sub-trade to take the risk, install early and leave the building owner with flooring issues and ongoing repairs. No good for anyone's brand.
Sample size matters! Hardwood floors sell mostly because of their visual appeal. Color variation, grade, grain, knots and other natural characteristics can all enhance the look of a wood floor or be cause for rejection by the client. Therefore, setting expectations through representative sampling is important and requires showing more than just a single small piece of the desired product when making a sale. Under sampling raises the likelihood of a dispute on site at time of delivery, or worse after the floor is installed. Home owners should sign off on sample acceptance, and agreed to samples should be digitally recorded for future reference. Showroom samples that are not reasonably representative of a product should be replaced.
Dull surfaces such as new concrete disguise sub-floor surface imperfections. Shiny, reflective surfaces such as new vinyl or rubber flooring do the opposite.
According to National Floor Covering Association (NFCA) specifications, the minimum industry standard for sub-floor flatness (surface waviness) when installing resilient flooring is 3/16" over 10' for slab on grade and 1/8" over 10' for suspended slabs.
These images show an example of what finished flooring can look like when installation proceeds over a sub-floor surface that doesn't meet tolerance, in this case, 1/2" over 4' (using a 10' straight edge).
Construction budgets should include an allowance for effective grinding and patching work (not in the scope of work for the flooring contractor according to industry standards). Specifications should clearly direct responsibility for this work to the owner of the slab and/or construction manager, and conversation around expectations and scheduling for such work should be had well in advance of floor installation start date.
NFCA's third party independent inspection service, the 'Quality Assurance Program' (QAP), draws attention to such issues giving busy construction teams the chance to understand, plan and solve issues fairly and in advance of the all important deadline. The alternative is the same old same old disputes over extras, delays, poor quality, hold backs and dissatisfied clients.