Namba's World

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Those tricks of the trade, the little things we as installers do to make our jobs a little easier, look better, and make us look good too; here are a few that I have found to be useful.

Full Spread Installation of Resilient Flooring

Have you ever had a problem with an adhesive ridge telegraphing through where you have lapped the vinyl in half, spread the adhesive on both halves, placed the vinyl into the adhesive, rolled with the proper weighted roller only to find a slightly visible ridge line on the materials surface where the product was folded in half?

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Here are two things that may help you to avoid the ridgelines.

After you have carefully lapped the material, strike a straight line with a white chalk line (Photo1), spread adhesive to the line and place the material into the adhesive (Photo2); after proper open time, place the material into the adhesive and roll the half that is adhered to within six inches of where the adhesive line is. Carefully fold, or lap the other half and spread adhesive to within 1/8-inch of the first glue line; do not overlap the new adhesive into the adhesive that has already been spread (Photo3).

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Once you have spread the adhesive and are waiting for the proper open time, use a clean white cotton towel and slightly dampen with clean water, wring out any excess, and wipe the towel along the bend where material will transfer onto where the adhesive seam line is. Lay material into adhesive, roll with proper weighted roller and finish trimming.

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Photo 4 shows no ridgeline where the lighting is reflecting off the surface of the high gloss material.

The Golf Ball As an Installation Tool

When installing products that are directly adhered to a concrete substrate, I will bounce a golf ball along isolation joints, contraction joints, around areas that have had concrete repairs, stress fractures, or just randomly throughout the slab (Photo 5).

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Listen to the sound of the golf ball; if while bouncing off the concrete it makes a hollow sound, there may be some underlying problems that you cannot see on the surface of the concrete, such as hollow spots under the slab, poor consolidation of the concrete at time of pour, or settling. These areas can lead to potential slab movement. If you are patching stress fractures, keep in mind that something caused the fracturing of the concrete; the possibility of the patching compound being displaced by slab movement may come back to you as a call back.

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Document the areas that have a tone difference.

You will also want to address these concerns prior to installation of the flooring materials with the general contractor or end user. Some installers use a steel chain or a steel ball, which is fine, but the golf ball is a simple and convenient method, without having to drag around the ball and chain.

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By doing some simple field tests to determine the possibility of a problem in the future, you may be able to save costly time and money, and use the money you made and saved to improve your golf game!

Laminate Troubleshooting

Laminate floors are constantly evolving, and so many individuals and companies are constantly trying to improve on the tools used for laminate flooring.

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The WFCA RITE laminate installation class was sent some Teeshims (Patent Pending) that are easy, and functional. The Teeshims are designed with either a 5/16-inch spacing or 1/2-inch just by turning the shim over (Photo 6). The Teeshims are helpful in areas that the sheet rock is up off the floor, as it has a 1 3/8-inch edge to prevent the spacers from folding under the sheet rock. The spacers are easy to remove also, as they extend out onto the floor (Photo 7).

I have had comments regarding the tap and lock type laminate floors, where the joints tend to come apart from the repercussion of the hammer and tapping block. If you are having difficulty with this, try using a few laminate straps after you have tapped and locked the laminate panel in place (Photo 8).

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Tighten the strap to where it is just snug, being careful not to damage the tongue or the groove, depending on the manufacturers guidelines as to beginning with the groove side or tongue side to the starting wall; finish installing the row and move the strap, and follow the same steps as you start a new row; this will help minimize some of the rebound that the planks encounter during installation.

Also, after tapping in the end joint, tap the long edge, working the tapping block toward the tapped in end joint (Photos 9 and 10). We also use a dead blow hammer to absorb some of the repercussion when installing laminates. So you see, there still is a use for those straps in a glueless world, if you get into a situation where the joints want to open up.