The three temperatures you must control prior to delivery of flooring to site: Surface, Ambient and Product. Floor covering products are required to be delivered into eventual living (service) conditions prior to installation so that they acclimate and don’t change shape when occupancy is reached. Living conditions are typically 20c (68f) at 45% Ambient Relative Humidity. Thermostat controlled, main heat and or HVAC should be operating and maintaining these conditions. Test results should be recorded for future reference. Managing this critical pre-installation stage helps avoid the risk of encountering a host of related problems (depending on flooring type) such as splitting/checking of hardwood top veneers, excessive expansion and related squeaking, shrinkage and gaps, buckling and lifting of vinyl plank edges. The installation area is either within manufacturers’ installation guidelines or not. Temporary electric heaters, such as in this image, are limited to the amount of space they can heat and often do not have thermostat controls. Fans are also required to circulate air and keep conditions stable. Propane heat is not recommended as it introduces water vapour into the air that will raise Ambient Relative Humidity. www.nfca.ca
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
Many flooring products will develop expansion and contraction related issues because they were incorrectly conditioned (acclimated) prior to installation. Never send a floor covering product to a site unless the site is managed at eventual service (living) conditions. NFCA Floor Covering Reference Manual states: 'Product Delivery, Handling and Storage' • Deliver all flooring materials (including adhesives and accessories) wrapped / sealed in original labeled and unopened packaging a minimum of 48 hours before installation to condition materials to correct (service) site temperature and humidity conditions. A 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 proceed with installation until all unsatisfactory conditions have been corrected. Notify the General Contractor in writing of all defects likely to impair finished work. Start of work implies acceptance of surfaces and conditions. www.nfca.ca
Hospitals and mold DON'T mix, which underlines the importance of ensuring correct site conditions exist prior to floor covering installation. The NFCA commercial floor inspection service (QAP), protects building owners from the process of construction which so often over looks critically important details such as quantifiable moisture testing to ASTM standards, and who should take those tests to ensure they are done correctly. The result.... quality flooring, installed, correctly, on time and with warranties in place, lasting for decades as the manufacturer intended. www.nfca.ca
It can't be overstated...remove the word 'smooth' from the specifications when describing acceptable concrete surfaces for toppings and or floor coverings
It can't be overstated. Remove the word 'smooth' from the specifications when describing acceptable concrete surfaces for toppings and or floor coverings, and replace with: 'Provide a Concrete Surface Profile (CSP) of 3 prior to placement of Hydraulic Cement Underlayment (HCU), or a CSP of 2 prior to installation of floor coverings, or as required by the manufacturer of the scheduled topping or floor covering product'. Power Trowels have their place but must be managed so that they don't over do it! Overdoing it creates a multitude of problems including an overly smooth, dense surface which prevents moisture vapour from escaping which significantly slows the drying process. Excessive power towelling also removes surface porosity, required for adhesive bond, which in turn can force the need for shot blasting or grinding which wastes time and money, and doesn't necessarily solve the issues. www.nfca.ca
NFCA Flooring education in the Toronto area, October 31st. Understanding and Preventing Floor Covering Failure. Topics: understand national standards, scope of work, legitimate extras, subfloor flatness issues, moisture testing, surface preparation, floor inspections, problems, resources and solutions. For full details and online registration go to: https://lnkd.in/giZrfNW
Most flooring manufacturers have high manufacturing standards and stringent inspection procedures for their finished products. Nevertheless, all types of flooring should be inspected upon delivery and before installation, and if any suspected defects are noted that might give rise to undesirable visual effects, installation should not proceed until the manufacturer has been given a chance to inspect the flooring and an agreed upon course of action has been established. Source: www.floorcoveringreferencemanual.com
Floor covering-specific, pre-installation site meetings are an NFCA specification requirement. They come as part of NFCA's Quality Assurance Program (QAP), third party inspection service. On the agenda - storage/acclimation requirements, sub-floor flatness and surface preparation, testing requirements (type of tests, provision of results, who performs them and who pays for them), trade qualifications, scheduling, the role of the inspector, number and timing of inspection reports. The NFCA specification helps all parties in the construction process work together to plan for and navigate the many challenges of installing floor coverings successfully. The goal is to leave the client with the product and warranty they expect. For more information go to: www.nfca.ca/inspections.html
When NFCA Floor Covering Reference Manual is specified, clear guidelines and assignment of responsibilities are included for the work. One such item is floor preparation, the relevant section 'PART A13 Patching and Filling' which states, ‘All substrate surfaces to receive resilient flooring, carpet, hardwood, laminate, and other flooring types noted within this manual shall meet minimum NFCA and flooring material manufacturer’s written requirements. 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/or as defined by local trade jurisdiction. General Contractor or Owner shall include for the additional substrate preparation work (shotblasting, grinding, levelling, skim coating, crack filling etc.) as required to meet NFCA and manufacturer requirements. The overall responsibility for the provision of acceptable substrate and surface conditions is that of the General Contractor'. From this position the work can be contracted out fairly and as necessary, as a billable extra, and be addressed without cutting corners. www.nfca.ca
Combine your flooring experience with FCITS training and their designation and help solve flooring issues as a third-party expert. For more details and registration go to: www.nfca.ca/calgary-fcits.html
Installing resilient flooring prematurely before other trades have completed their work or in the presence of personnel not essential to the installation of resilient flooring often results in visible damage, soiling, adhesive failure, delamination, and dimensional instability. These conditions may not be immediately evident. unless otherwise permitted, the installation of resilient flooring should not begin until the work of all other trades has been completed and the area is cleared of all obstacles, movable objects etc., and on-site worker traffic. Source: NFCA Floor Covering Reference Manual of Canada. www.floorcoveringreferencemanual.com
Understand national standards, floor covering scope of work, resources to help secure acceptable conditions, testing requirements, flatness issues, prepping for and pouring cement toppings, LVT, WPC and SPC explained. Useful information for anyone involved in a floor covering project. For more information and online registration follow this link: www.nfca.ca/surrey-bc.html
All floor covering projects where NFCA Quality Assurance Program is specified require that the floor covering contractor provide their own 2-year, 100% Maintenance Bond and provide Trade Qualified (TQ) or Product Qualified (PQ) installers according to PART A05 Trade Qualifications of the Floor Covering Reference Manual of Canada. For information on both Bonding and Trade Qualifications download these sections of the NFCA Manual for free at https://lnkd.in/bK8TFe8
Floor covering installations and small amounts of moisture vapour do not mix. NFCA Floor Covering Installation Standards state: New (and existing) concrete substrates must be properly cured and thoroughly dry before commencement of any flooring installation. As curing depends on such things as environmental conditions, location of the slab and the time of year, substrate surfaces may require more drying time than normal before they may be considered ready for moisture testing. While curing to design strength typically takes 7 to 28 days, drying time for floor coverings can take many months. Allow a minimum 1 month of dry time per 1” of slab thickness (1 day per 1mm). Knowing this a year in advance helps the planning process. Finding out a month from project completion when the floor contractor is scheduled to start work is bad news for all involved. www.nfca.ca
Slip Resistant (Safety) Flooring: This is a general term used to describe a line of slip resistant resilient flooring that is predominantly used in interior areas where slips and falls are more likely to occur. Slip resistant flooring may be composed of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) with plasticizers, colour pigments, stabilizers, fillers, and slip resistant components or synthetic or virgin rubber and is typically available in sheet form with tile also available from some manufacturers. Source NFCA Floor Covering Reference Manual. Link to NFCA members supplying Safety Flooring in your province: https://lnkd.in/gYS-8jK
National Floor Covering Association (NFCA) of Canada welcomes Floors by Design Ltd. of Regina, Saskatchewan as a new member supporting quality assurance and best practices in Saskatchewan’s floor covering industry. http://floorsbydesign.ca
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