Page 10 - TFSWinter2020
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You’re Only as Good as Your Foundation

                               By Don Styka, CFI #383 of Tarkett

             he photograph on the cover of this magazine
             highlights what can be accomplished when the
        Tsubstrate is properly prepared prior to the installation
        of the resilient flooring materials. I have been asked to visit
        job sites to inspect an installation that did not meet the
        customer expectations. Some of these visits took place
        during or immediately after installation, while others were
        several months after the floor was put into service. On
        many of these occasions it was obvious to see that the job
        was doomed before the installation of the flooring material
        ever started and the lack of proper subfloor preparation was
        the direct cause of the problem or a significant contributing
        factor to the customer’s displeasure and the issues related
        to the claim.
        Undulations and waviness of the substrate can disrupt the
        installation process in a number of ways.  One common
        problem is tile and plank run-off because of the unevenness
        of the substrate. While it appears the flooring is out of   customer’s standards because of the peaks and valleys in the
        square or tolerance when trying to install, in actuality, the   substrate.
        substrate is the problem. Uneven subfloors can also cause
        problems on sheet installations when utilizing a power   Over time high spots in the slab can become abraded or
        groover or automatic heat welding equipment, which can   damaged by the maintenance equipment.  Occasionally the
        directly impact the integrity of the finished seam.    customers have equipment they use in their facility that
                                                            can cause damage related to unevenness in the subfloor. In
        While telegraphing from the substrate contributes to   this photograph the unevenness of the substrate created a
        installation issues, it is also unsightly and detracts from the   blotchy appearance because the buffing pad was not flexible
        visual appearance and design vision of the space. Installations   enough to provide the same gloss level in the high and low
        that include intricate patterns, feature strips, borders and   undulations of the concrete.
        insets can vastly be impacted by the unevenness of the
        substrate and the installer’s ability to prevent run-off or hit   One project in particular that I will never forget, was a
        critical layout points that might tie into walls, doors and other   resilient tile floor and wall base installation at a new municipal
        elements of the designer’s vision.                  building constructed for the police and fire departments to
                                                            share. A meeting was conducted as the building was being
        Floor maintenance and cleaning issues can also be attributed   prepared for occupancy that included just about everyone
        to improper substrate preparation. These type of problems   involved in the construction project; the general contractor,
                                               are usually   architect, designer, flooring contractor, distributor, flooring
                                               not reported   manufacturer, and representatives from the city and the
                                               until weeks   safety forces.
                                               or months
                                               after the    The problem was so obvious that it didn’t require a tape
                                               installation   measure or laser equipment to see that the finished floor
                                               is completed   had a significant slope and did not meet the flooring
                                               after damage   manufacturer specifications or industry standards for
                                               has been     preparing the substrate. During the meeting, the architect
                                               done to the   laid a marble on the floor and it rolled from one end of the
                                               floor or the   room to the other. The distance between the two walls was
                                               maintenance   approximately 30 linear feet, with the slope of the floor
                                               program      measured to be over 2 inches.
                                               is not
                                               meeting the   A major problem with this scenario is that none of the

   10       Flooring Specialist       Winter 2020
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