JJ Haines 3rd Quarter Installation Newsletter

Installation Things I Am Seeing

Training-

I continue to receive calls from hospitals, schools, and other medical facilities on having installation training for their maintenance staff. Facility managers are looking at keeping expenses down and keeping the work in house. These facilities are looking at having their own maintenance staff install all their new flooring. The problem is, these facilities are not looking for training in VCT or LVT installation, they want to know how to install and weld sheet flooring. Just because someone is handy, it doesn’t mean they are a flooring installer. These facilities are not taking a look at the entire installation picture of what it takes to install a floor. The Big Box stores have already done this to us with all the DIY products they sell to homeowners. They are not looking at what all it takes to get a subfloor ready for installation. They have no clue what moisture testing is or how to skim coat or float out a bad concrete subfloor to make it acceptable for a smooth faced commercial sheet floor. To me, this just shows the lack of respect for the floor installation trade. Anyone can do this job. They think two days of training will have their maintenance staff qualified as professional installers. To date, I have resisted training these facilities maintenance staffs on total installation training as it would take weeks, not days to just get them to understand the basics of floor installation.

I don’t fault the facility managers totally on this. Flooring manufacturers have been “dummying up” products for years. They continue to make flooring products easier to install for anyone taking the professionalism away from the trade. They continue to take tools out of the installers’ hands to

simplify installation and also help reduce flooring claims. Look how the industry has evolved with floating floors. We have any type of floating resilient floor there is from Ceramic to LVT, to Carpet Tile. Floating floors have reduced adhesive complaints.

The other issues I see is that flooring installers are not taking the time to become familiar with all the changes happening in the flooring business. Flooring products today are changing every 6 months. There is always some new product or installation system being introduced. For instance, Nora has introduced a rubber sheet product with self-stick adhesive on it. Nora is claiming that the product cuts installation time by as much as 50 percent when compared to standard PVC sheet installations. According to Nora, this product features a pre-applied, solvent-free self-adhesive that minimizes prep work and eliminates drying time to simplify the flooring installation process and save contractors valuable time and money. Wonder why facility managers want to install their own floors. It’s getting to easy. This product has taken the trowel and bucket out of the installers hand and eliminates troweled adhesive issues such as the wrong trowel notch or not enough dry time.

The other issues I see is that flooring installers are not taking the time to become familiar with all the changes happening in the flooring business. Flooring products today are changing every 6 months. There is always some new product or installation system being introduced. For instance, Nora has introduced a rubber sheet product with self-stick adhesive on it. Nora is claiming that the product cuts installation time by as much as 50 percent when compared to standard PVC sheet installations. According to Nora, this product features a pre-applied, solvent-free self-adhesive that minimizes prep work and eliminates drying time to simplify the flooring installation process and save contractors valuable time and money. Wonder why facility managers want to install their own floors. It’s getting to easy. This product has taken the trowel and bucket out of the installers hand and eliminates troweled adhesive issues such as the wrong trowel notch or not enough dry time.

I dug into this product from Nora only to find out; it is not quite as simple as promoted. Nora marketing doesn’t tell you the concrete has to be prepped to a CSP of #1 which requires grinding and sanding. Secondly, you must skim the floor with the special Nora patch which then needs sanded. Thirdly, you must prime the floor with the special Nora Primer, which then needs sanded. This does not sound like a 50% reduction of installation time to me.

Just because someone has been installing for 30 years, it doesn’t make their ways right. Sales people, you need to know the attributes and limitations of these product changes as well. As a business, we all need to keep up with the changes on the products we are selling.

Moisture – Moisture issues continue to dominate the flooring world. The fast paced construction schedules are doing no one any good. The Barrier One and other concrete additive products promoting no need for concrete moisture testing don’t help the situation either. The other week I sent out a list of High Moisture Adhesive options for almost every flooring product available today. The adhesive and subfloor prep products continue to elevate moisture levels as well. There is a range of products out on the market today to handle 100% Relative Humidity or 25-lbs. Calcium Chloride and still install flooring. Please remember the higher the moisture level, the higher the cost of these products. Controlling moisture issues is not a cheap solution.

The Hardwood Adhesive industry continues to evolve in now promoting hardwood adhesives with- out the need for moisture testing as well. Before going down this avenue, check into these products, look into what kind of subfloor prep is required before using these products. I have seen the sub- floor prep vary from requiring a CSP of 1-3 which is similar to a broomed finish concrete to just requiring the concrete to be sanded of all foreign debris.

It still amazes me that hardwood, one of the most sensitive products to moisture and we have adhesives today that require no moisture testing, plus also they provide sound reduction, and can establish an anti-fracture membrane that can bridge cracks up to 1/8”. Time for the resilient tile and sheet adhesives to step it up!

Sound Control – Sound Control continues to grow in the flooring market as commercial and residential customers desire the need for sound reduction. IIC measures a floor/ceiling assembly’s resistance to the transmission of structure-borne or impact noise. IIC is measured in terms of sound impact, or how well vibration travels through a floor to the room below. Generally, an IIC rating of 50 will satisfy the building code requirements, however I have seen numbers being specified in the low 70’s. The Uniform Building Code (UBC) contains requirements for sound isolation for dwelling units in Group-R occupancies (including hotels, motels, apartments, condominiums, monasteries and convents).

There are many subfloor/ceiling factors to consider that can affect the IIC rating. Many sound reducing membrane manufacturers will publish an IIC rating, but will not specify what the tested subfloor/ceiling system is, which can make quite a difference in the IIC rating.

JJ Haines and CMH Space have a host of Cork, Rubber and Foam Underlayments designed to reduce sound transmission in Carpet, Ceramic Tile, Floating and Glue Down Engineered Hardwood, Linoleum, LVT, LVP, and VCT both Residentially and Commercially.