Aligning Resilient Flooring specification sections in the Canadian National Master Construction Specification (NMS) with NFCA standards
Successful construction requires everyone to be on the same page. Getting on that page starts early and must be supported with correct specifications. To this end National Floor Covering Association (NFCA) is pleased to have worked with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) to align the Resilient Flooring specification sections in the Canadian National Master Construction Specification (NMS) with NFCA standards for general use. This important update makes the latest information available to design authorities for inclusion in their project documents. This will benefit all involved in a resilient (linoleum, rubber, vinyl, VCT) flooring installation. Updates include substrate flatness, porosity, profile and testing requirements, indoor environmental conditions, scope of work and third party inspections (QAP). All critical factors to guiding success when working with modern day, low VOC, moisture and temperature sensitive flooring products in an increasingly fast paced construction environment. We look forward to working with the NRC on more flooring related updates. For more information go to: https://lnkd.in/ggdSBFv
Drains, including clean outs, trench drains and grease traps must be specified correctly to ensure long term flooring performance.
So much of what effects the floor covering installation at the end of a build happens in the early stages when slabs are poured. One example that leads to a common problem is the installation of drains in wet areas such as shower stalls and kitchens. Drains, including clean outs, trench drains and grease traps must be specified correctly to ensure long term flooring performance. Once installed, these mechanical components are not easy to replace as they are set into concrete. Therefore, specifying the right drain detail is critical to avoid delays and expensive replacement costs. Too often this is overlooked and not discussed until the floor covering installer arrives on site…too late. Correct drain design allows proper termination of flooring at finished edges so that water, soaps, detergents and dirt do not penetrate beneath (i.e., when non-clamping drains are installed, cutting the flooring around the collar and using silicone to seal is often the band aid solution). The problem - silicone won’t stand the test of time, prevent adhesive bond failure, lifting and curling, trip hazards, dirt and germ traps, voided warranties and ongoing expensive. repairs. www.nfca.ca
Avoid the problems, start the conversation early. Concrete slab flatness and preparation are critical to avoid delays when delivering a quality product. Minor discrepancies in new or existing subfloor surfaces can be adjusted by using patching compounds. This is considered, within reason, part of the flooring contractor's work. Where discrepancies do not meet NFCA or floor covering manufacturers tolerances (Straight Edge Method, 3/16” over 10’), floor levels must be corrected by grinding and or using Hydraulic Cement Underlayment (HCU), the application of which shall be done by others (General Contractor or Owner) or may be undertaken by the flooring contractor as a billable extra. Correct specification of work responsibilities helps all parties budget and plan accordingly. Leaving the discussion for when the flooring installer starts work can result in delays and rejection of finished product. NFCA Floor Covering Reference Manual. www.nfca.ca
Are you managing the risk or rolling the dice? Just because a concrete slab is 20 years old doesn’t mean it's dry. Sure, it’s likely to be dry, but anyone who says it IS without proper testing, will do so until they are told to put it in writing and accept full responsibility for any floor covering issues that may develop later. Floor coverings and related materials such as leveling cements and adhesives can be negatively affected by moisture present in a slab. Bond failure, bubbles, discoloration and mold growth are a few of the possible issues that can develop after installation. Old and new concrete absorbs and holds water. Water can come from multiple sources on site, such as slow leaking embedded pipes, broken vapor barriers, warm humid air condensing on cold slab surfaces (dew point), spills, and broken window seals. Testing is inexpensive and easy to perform if you plan ahead, budget and schedule accordingly. Floor failures are the opposite! www.nfca.ca
Installers beware! SPC flooring is simultaneously strong, fragile and not as forgiving as LVT or Laminate when installing.
While SPC flooring comes with durability benefits, it also presents challenges that installers should consider when planning an installation.
Extra care when engaging the locking joint, understanding its weaknesses & how to tap it together will make the difference between a satisfied client and just another claim.
The tell-tale ski jump (in this photo) at the butt end of multiple installed boards, indicates broken joints usually associated with incorrect handling or excessive mallet impact. SPC joints are thin and brittle. If they’re installed without the necessary care and attention (i.e. use of a tapping block to spread the load of mallet impacts; correct disengagement of planks - remove and re-install), then micro-fracturing of the end joint can easily occur. Once this happens, the visual result may be obvious at the time of installation, or it may take months to develop as the fracture worsens with use.
For this reason, installers switching between LVT or laminate and SPC installation work should take time to understand the locking joint, modify installation techniques & always review manufacturer installation guidelines to avoid the problems.
Being clear about who is responsible for what when it comes to sub-floor preparation is not easy considering the endless scenarios that can present on site involving surface flatness, porosity, contaminants removal, profile, etc. When specified, NFCA minimum industry standards help to remove the confusion. The following is an excerpt from ‘PART A12 Substrate Preparation’ of the Floor Covering Reference Manual, which helps to clarify related trade scope of work for the floor covering installer:
‘The flooring contractor shall be responsible only for minor substrate preparation that includes filling of small chips and dents, removal of minor protrusions and vacuuming of an otherwise acceptable surface in accordance with NFCA requirements and as defined by local trade jurisdiction requirements. General Contractor or Owner shall include for the additional substrate preparation work (shot-blasting, grinding, levelling, skim coating, crack filling, etc.) as required to meet NFCA and manufacturer requirements. Source https://lnkd.in/ezn6udg
Right trowel notch size, right coverage. To ensure a long term successful bond of the floor covering product (in this case sheet resilient) to the subfloor surface, it is important to use the recommended adhesive in strict accordance with the floor covering and adhesive manufacturers installation guidelines.
For example, trowel notches that are too large will place too much adhesive which can lead to trowel-marks showing through the material and/or excessive indentations (as seen in this image). This can cause swelling and buckling throughout the material.
If the trowel notches are too small the adhesive will not hold the flooring down. Spread the adhesive covering 100% of the exposed subfloor, leaving no gaps or puddles. The trowel notch must be large enough to apply a continuous film (i.e. full coverage) of the adhesive to the substrate to ensure a minimum 90% transfer of the adhesive to the resilient floor backing. The adhesive is not to be used as a filler or leveller.
'Minimal Prep'...part of the problem! Resilient (vinyl, rubber, linoleum) flooring tends to follow every contour of a substrate, essentially forming a skin. Joints, cracks, depressions, protrusions, and seemingly insignificant imperfections on a substrate surface may telegraph through and become very obvious after the product is installed. 'Minimal prep' is an overused term in flooring that creates ambiguity in the process of preparing a subfloor. A preferred alternative is to reference available standards that direct testing, preparation and work responsibility for this critical stage of an installation. Most manufacturers of resilient flooring reference 'ASTM F-710 Standard Practice for Preparing Concrete Floors to Receive Resilient Flooring'. The Floor Covering Reference Manual of Canada also notes this standard but goes further (in PART A12 Substrate Preparation) to explain who is responsible for what to get the work done. Clearly assigning this work responsibility is critical to avoid conflict and delays. Together, these documents go a long way to solving the long-standing issue of 'what is minimal preparation for the floor covering installer'.
In-floor, hot water (hydronic) radiant heat systems work well with hardwood floors when site conditions are managed according to manufacturers' recommendations - but when they're not...
In-floor, hot water (hydronic) radiant heat systems work well with hardwood floors when site conditions are managed according to manufacturers' recommendations. The opposite is true when conditions are not managed properly. Ambient relative humidity; air, surface and product temperature; subfloor and product moisture content, all must be maintained within specific ranges. Thermostat temperature controls for rooms must be connected to regulate heat 24/7. Without proper management and site control, thousands of dollars or perfectly good product and installation work can be quickly ruined. Surface temperature, as in this image, is most commonly overlooked. An overly hot surface can cause splits, checks, delamination, gaps and buckling in hardwood flooring . Many manufacturers, for example, advise a max surface temperature of 28c (82f). Always check the installation guidelines that (should) accompany the product. Avoid products that do not provide detailed installation guides. www.nfca.ca
Flooring systems can be complex, involving concrete slabs, moisture barriers, primers, leveling cements, adhesive and finally a floor covering product. Multiple products are often used to complete one flooring system and so the risk of being caught up in a question of failure between two unrelated manufacturers is likely. With fewer manufacturers involved in a system, there's less chance of finger pointing and dispute if an issue arises. For example, switching products like adhesives from the original specification to save money is a common cause of problems in the floor covering industry. Technical support offered by product manufacturers should be consulted to ensure approval of their products when used in combination with other unrelated manufacturers. Manufacturers who do not have accessible and comprehensive technical support should be avoided.
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