Best Job Practices: Fundamentals of Good Job Practices
A good floor covering installation results when the right installation products are used by the installer in combination with proper installation practices and a pre-installation visit of the job site. This visit can uncover conditions that did not exist when the job was bid - rough patch areas, stains in the subfloor, cracks in the floor, etc. You can also review where the best location of seams should be to minimize locations of heavy traffic on them.
There are several reasons why the cost of installation products, such as tackless, pad seam tape, adhesives, patch, and underlayment, should not be the cheapest available. The few pennies saved will add to the cost of the installation when you have to redo some of the areas because the product was not the quality required for the installation.
Are you staying up to date with the new carpet backings and new formulas of floor covering adhesives on the market today? For most jobs, the cost of adhesive accounts for a very small portion of an adhesive-installed job, three to five percent of the total cost. It is self-defeating to try to save money by purchasing installation materials at the lowest possible price.
This practice often produces job failure, which results in expensive callbacks. It is quite important to select the correct adhesive for the job. Consideration must be given to open time, working qualities, ability to bond the adherents, drying time, grab, water resistance, VOC emissions, odor, and similar product issues. All of this information is provided by the adhesive manufacturers on product labels and data sheets.
Adhesive manufacturers call attention to potential safety hazards, offer suggestions for good results, caution against poor job practices, specify trowel sizes and provide information on open time, spread rates, etc.
An adhesive can only bond the surfaces it wets or contacts. When carpet is stuck to a dusty concrete floor, the adherent is dust not concrete. If it is applied to a waxed vinyl floor, it is only sticking to the wax. If applied to a painted floor, the adherent is paint.
Moisture problems are likely when floor coverings are installed over wet concrete. The problem usually arises because concrete will carry moderate loads three days after it is poured, and people therefore tend to forget it is still wet. At least 28 days are required for chemical hydration to become practically complete.
The correct quantity of adhesive is the minimum amount that will fill minor depressions in the surfaces to be adhered; wet 65-100 percent of the two surfaces involved. Do not skimp on the amount of adhesive you use. To do so can result in a bond that is not adequate. Too much adhesive can cause a lumpy surface, staining or too much wetting of the carpet back. The correct amount of adhesive to use is specified on the product label or on manufacture direction sheets. The dimensions and shape of the notches in recommended trowels determine, with considerable accuracy, the quantity of adhesive that tests and experience have proven to be needed.
Successful floor covering contractors keep enough records on major jobs by materials, labor, waste, etc. so they can compare actual costs to planned costs and also to find negative vs. positive costs that can be used during bidding processes.