I was told by a wise man that, “Attention to detail will always make the finished product look better as a whole,” and my father has never given me (or anyone else who asked) bad advice. Did I mention the price was always right too? The following photos are of two commercial vinyl jobsites that both have very similar concerns, the lack of attention to detail. In most of the photos the problems are obvious but in others some explanation is needed so that we can learn from the mistakes made. First and foremost if you are unfamiliar with a manufacturer’s product don’t wing it! Just because you’ve been trained on one particular brand name product line (Forbo, Mannington, Tarkett to name a few) this does not mean all the information and techniques learned can be properly applied to the UNKNOWN product line. Sure they all have similarities; cord welding in particular should be done in wet environments where water (top down) and daily cleanings for disinfecting purposes are the norm like in hospitals. But knowing the different nuances of the welding cord, the profile, the thickness and optimum temperature needed to ensure a structurally sound weld that will stand the test of time varies from one product to the next.
The bottom line is that you do yourself, the customer and the end user a grave injustice when you wing it! Not to mention the bad habits you may pick up along the way. Hey don’t get me wrong, I’m all for putting the head down and “get ‘er done,” but first you should be familiar with the goods your working with. So if you get that gut feeling of uncertainty (we have all had it) because you have never installed the floor before then “You Make the Call” to the manufacturer of the flooring or the local distributor and get in the installation class or seminar and get some know how!
Now let’s look at the photos. Photo 1 has a very obvious problem: there was no attempt made at the pattern match. Because there is a visual line made by the cord weld you don’t have to hit the pattern right on, just get close! The other problem is the weld integrity and aesthetics; I could do a better job with a putty knife and propane torch.
Photos 2 and 3 are of attempts (shortly after the flooring was installed) to repair open seams. Kind of looks like a snake shedding its skin! This ceremonial grouting of the open seams with clear silicon sealer is a bad habit to start. First off, the vinyl floor (in this case) does not like to stick to silicon sealer long term. And discoloration can happen in the gel coat layers of your residential products due to the solvents in the sealers. Oh sure it looks good and it might get you off the job and even paid but there are sealants made specifically for edge sealing; a proper weld is truly the only way to fix this!
Photos 4, 5 and 6 are of the drain detail and the open seams surrounding the supposed drain detail. They call it a drain detail because attention to the drain requires detailing it to ensure a good bond to the substrate and proper seal around the drain area and drain ring. Without the drain detail you have what you see in the photos, a square hole hacked in the flooring that just happens to be over a drain opening that will allow water to travel over the edge, under the flooring and attack the glue line. And then blow all the seams in the area around the drain. No, that’s not a 1-inch grout line, that’s the silicon sealer trick being used again.
Photo 7 is of a coved base seam that should have been welded flat and then put on the FRP wall panel. If the installer had gone to the installation training they would have shown them the proper technique for doing this.
Photo 8 is a corner weld that the pattern match is ok but the over cuts and weld over is neither aesthetically correct nor structurally sound.
Photo 9 is of the cove base seam juncture to the field sheets. The watermark in this area is a sure sign of standing water but where does the water go? Photo 10 is after foot pressure is applied to this area! Water is getting under the floorcovering because of a cold spot in the weld. This will only get worse with time. This area should be pulled up, dried out, re-adhered and properly welded as soon as possible.
Photo 11 is again an open seam in the field sheets with a cold spot. No water has gotten under the floorcovering yet but it will, if repairs are not done soon. In upcoming articles I will show you how these type repairs can be done properly.
Now in Photo 12 what do you see? A well-placed pattern and a properly welded seam that is aesthetically and structurally sound. Do you know how this was done? Practicing the attention to details, being familiar with the floorcovering and not winging it! Thanks again for reading “You Make the Call.” Have a great day!