Installments: Behind the eight ball

Home Columns Installments: Behind the eight ball

by Brent Fike

Everyone wants an installation that happens on time and within the budget. But construction delays throughout a project do one thing: they put the flooring contractor behind the proverbial eight ball.

Common mistakes

One of the more common mistakes we see is not consulting or following the manufacturer’s recommendations. Manufacturers spend hours developing procedures for successful installations. Failing to follow those directions means important steps may not be performed resulting in a problem installation, product failure, an unsatisfied customer, or some combination of all three.

Most commonly skipped steps are the proper floor preparation to receive or remove an existing product. Manufacturers are happy to discuss the proper preparation for covering existing flooring materials and you and I know this is the most essential element for a good installation. Yet, when an end user wants to save money on a project, floor prep is usually skipped and when the resulting job is not acceptable, they are unwilling to admit why that is. By this point, it is too late and the manufacturer and dealer both get the blame.

Sometimes installations occur over existing substrates and an adhesive designed for a porous base ends up between two semi-porous products.

Taking the proper steps to prepare substrates can greatly reduce the amount of time the installer spends on the job site. Most flooring contractors know and understand these adhesives will take longer to dry or will not dry at all, but some take the chance anyway. The communication element between the shop and the installer is crucial to avoiding these types of errors.

Frequently, we see improper use of adhesives for the product being installed. Although going over existing flooring is a bigger issue, the problem also happens with new substrates. Failure to determine porosity of the concrete can lead to improper trowel size or improper use of an adhesive. That installation will have visible trowel ridges or the adhesive will not dry properly and result in displacement.

Last-minute change

The final, and probably most devastating, mistake that we see comes from the specification of installed products at the job site. Designers choose products for what they believe to be accurate plans or drawings for a facility but sometimes construction changes or common “real world” conditions are not taken into account after the bidding process.

For example, there are many styles and designs of rubber stair treads. Some work on multiple step profiles and others only work well on limited designs. When a flooring contractor performs a take off from plans using the specified type and style of product, and a change occurs during construction, he must consider the product type.

Real world conditions do not always allow a job site visit prior to ordering the product. However, a site inspection should always be done before installation is scheduled. Changes will be caught, thereby avoiding the incorrect sizing or design.

Mistakes lead to job site visits with unhappy clients, and may prevent involved parties from securing additional jobs in the future.

Don’t end up behind the eight ball.

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