Last October, we launched a new issue of Floor Covering Installer magazine, the "Underlayment and Subfloor Preparation Reference Guide." The idea behind this new special issue was to give the installer a single reference source that would address the numerous issues regarding concrete substrates, moisture control, subflooring systems and other related subjects, which consistently seem to be among the top concerns for floor covering installers. Problems with underlayment and subfloor preparation are one of the main causes of failure in all types of flooring installations, and this trend has increased in recent years with the rise of fast-track construction methods, which often do not allow sufficient time for concrete to cure properly. Even when flooring is installed correctly, failure can still result if the underlayment or sublfoor is not properly prepared, as many installers have found out the hard way.

In the first "Underlayment and Subfloor Preparation Guide," we focused in on all aspects of underlayment and subfloor preparation, including concrete moisture problems, underlayment technology, crack isolation and waterproofing systems, deflection and causes of underlayment failure. As we had hoped, the issue was an unqualified success; we got very positive feedback from our readership, and so we are continuing this issue again this year in this, the second edition of the guide.

This time, although we are revisiting many of the same issues, such as concrete, underlayment systems, and moisture control, we are taking a different approach to the issues, and addressing different aspects of these problems that continue to confront floor covering installers every day on the job site. One such issue is the business side of the floor covering removal equation, which is often misunderstood by the installation community. Columnists Jon Namba and Gary Kloth both address the issue of how floor covering installers can maximize their efficiency and their profits, and turn floor covering removal into a lucrative part of their business. When Namba asked several industry professionals how they estimate the projected expense of floor covering removal, he was surprised to find that was really no consensus on how this should be done. This fact underscores the need to develop consistent and uniform methods for factoring floor covering removal into the business of floor covering installation.

This special issue of Floor Covering Installer is the result of much hard work on the part of our production staff and our talented and knowledgeable columnists. We hope that it will help you to work more effectively and avoid many of the common underlayment- and subfloor-related problems that affect our industry. Remember, quality installations begin with proper underlayment and subfloor preparation.