Five years ago, Floor Covering Installer added a new special issue, the annual Troubleshooting Reference Guide. The issue was a big success, and we are now in the fifth version of this particular issue.

 When we first conceived of this issue, there were some doubts as to whether there were enough subjects to bear a repeated treatment, but it as turned out those doubts were indeed unfounded, as each year myriad new topics seem to appear as if from nowhere.

One of the main factors in this proliferation of problems is the deluge of new installation products entering the market. Where installers in the past could spend years perfecting their craft on a relatively small group of products, which seldom underwent major changes, today the flooring products and the products and tools used to install them seem to change constantly. In order to stay of these rapid changes, today’s installer needs to invest more time into training, as well as staying familiar with the latest flooring materials and installation products.

Where yesterday’s installers could get away with using an “all purpose” adhesive for several different flooring products, today’s installer is mandated by the manufacturers of the flooring product being installed to use a specific class, or sometimes even a specific brand, of adhesive for each installation. Failure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely can result in voiding of the warranty in the event of a failure. Ultimately, the final responsibility lies in the hands of you, the installer. With the cost of materials and labor on the line, can you afford to take this risk?

The best solution to this problem is education, knowing the latest installation products and techniques, and that is our primary objective at Floor Covering Installer.  In every issue, we offer the latest installation techniques from the top experts in their respective fields, covering all types of flooring: carpet, wood, ceramic, resilient and laminate. We also offer the latest installation products in our product section, as well as hands-on reviews by working installers in our Tool Guide.

In this special issue, the Troubleshooting Reference Guide, rather than revisit the same installation-related problems and issues that we covered in previous versions, we instead focus on new problems we have not addressed specifically before. For example, wood expert Mickey Moore addresses the issue of insect damage in wood flooring. Christopher Capobianco gives an in-depth look at the inspection process. These are just a few of the issues we tackle in this special issue, which we hope will help you to improve your installation skills and prevent callbacks and failures. If you would like to read any previously published troubleshooting articles, they are all available for free on our website: www.fcimag.com.