Five years ago, Floor Covering Installer launched a new, special issue, the Underlayment and Subfloor Preparation Guide. This special issue was intended to address the myriad issues involved with preparing subfloors prior to installation of flooring, from moisture testing to flooring removal and preparation. Needless to say, the issue was very well received by our readers, and so we have continued with this special feature to this day.

For too long, installers have treated subfloor issues as someone else’s problem: the GC, subcontractor, etc. But, ultimately, it is their problem, as floor covering installation failures are the responsibility of the floor covering installer. It is the installer’s responsibility to determine whether the subfloor conditions are adequate prior to beginning an installation. If there is a problem, it should be addressed before any installation work is done. Once the installation is completed, it is too late to address these issues, and should a failure occur, responsibility will likely fall upon the installer.

To avoid these types of preventable failures, installers first must take responsibility for the job site conditions. If the conditions are not favorable, it will be necessary to repair any problems with the subflooring, and this work should be including when calculating billing expenses. This way, subfloor preparation work can be an important source of additional revenue for installers, rather than an expense that is not included in bidding but is expected to be absorbed by the installer.

With this in mind, we have featured several articles that address the issue of responsibility in subfloor preparation. First, FCI columnist Jon Namba takes on the topic of responsibility in his feature, “Subfloor Preparation: Who is Responsible?” Resilient expert and FCI columnist Christopher Capobianco explains how subfloor prep should be handled when specifying installation jobs in “Spec the Prep.” Finally, Brian Petit of NAC takes a look at the responsibilities of manufacturers in dealing with warranties for crack isolation membranes. In addition to these articles, this issue also features articles on concrete preparation and underlayments, as well as a directory of companies that manufacture underlayment, subfloor preparation products and equipment.

We hope that this special issue of Floor Covering Installer will help you to avoid costly installation failures resulting from improperly prepared subfloors, and will also help you to maximize your profit by charging for necessary prep work. In addition to all the articles in this issue, articles from past issues of FCI are available at If there are any subjects you would like to see us cover in future issues, please write or e-mail me with your comments and suggestions.