FCICA News

Ff and Fl test results are to be monitored, and, if necessary, corrected to within the tolerance stated in Section 3 of the specifications, prior proceeding with the Floorcovering per the specifications as set for the in section 9." Whaaat???

As a specification, Ff & Fl, floor flatness and floor levelness is absolutely foreign to most of us. Especially how this spec corresponds to the old familiar 1/8-in. in 10 ft. we have followed in Section 9. Ff & Fl tests are done usually within 72 hours of the placement of the concrete, and usually are not taken within two feet of the edge of the concrete pour. Why not? Concrete experts told me that they didn't test near the edge because "Concrete usually curls." One of the problems most often encountered by flooring contractors, is how to deal with the "peaking" of the seams in concrete slabs, and more importantly, who is responsible for paying for this work.

While most in the concrete industry do not consider curling as a concrete failure, the flooring contractors' customers usually see curling as an unacceptable condition, and look to us to fix it. So this naturally occurring phenomenon needs to be dealt with in a manner that doesn't penalize either party.

The best way to handle this situation is to be involved before the concrete is poured. Let the general contractor and owner know you wish to be present at the pre-slab conference and make your needs known at that time.

Learn all you can about the conditions that affect the concrete.

The flooring contractor needs to be vigilant as to the causes of concrete curling and cracking, as well as the cures that must be applied when the problem exists. If you are not armed with the knowledge of why problems occur, and how to deal with them, you will most probably find yourself in an argument with the general contractor or owner as to who will bear the cost of fixing the problem. The worst-case scenario puts you in court, and if you find yourself there, bring your checkbook.