There’s nothing more frustrating than starting a job only to find out that you’re missing a key tool. Do you find a substitute and keep working, or delay starting the job so that you can get the right tool for the job? Either way, there is valuable time lost, and the job may not turn out right. For do-it-yourself projects, the substitution approach may be a viable option, but for professional installers, there is no substitute for using the correct tool.

Even the slightest variation from the recommended tools can lead to installation failure. For example, using a too-wide tip on a heat welding gun can actually burn or distort the flooring, lead to a costly failure. When your reputation is on the line, can you afford to take this kind of risk?

Even experienced installers can fall into the trap of using the wrong tool, sometimes inadvertently. Perhaps they’ve gotten used to using the same type of trowel for multiple applications, and never had a problem. Then they get a job that specifies a larger notch for adhesive application. By using too small a notch, the material doesn’t receive enough adhesive, which will eventually lead to loss of bond strength. We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: always the read the manufacturer’s instructions, even with products you’ve used before. As product formulations change, so do the installation instructions.

This month,Floor Covering Installerintroduces Tool Time, a new column devoted to installation tools and accessories. Each column will focus on a particular type of installation, with an in-depth look at the tools most commonly used, as well as unique and specialty tools. In this issue, we examine tools used for residential and commercial carpet installation, from seaming irons to power stretchers. In addition to the product information, we’ve also included videos of the tools in action, which you can access on your handheld device using mobile tags.

A mobile tag is a two-dimensional barcode that transmits data using the camera of a smartphone or mobile device. The mobile tag contains a URL for information addressed and accessible through  the Internet. To learn how to use mobile tags, visit http://tag.microsoft.com. Be sure to check out the tags in the article. For a look at the uses of mobile tags, just scan the tag below.

If there’s a particular tool you would like to review, send us your brief (3-5 minutes) video review, and you may be featured in an upcoming edition of Tool Time.  The next issue will focus on wood flooring installation tools, so be sure to let us know if there’s a particular wood tool you’d like to see featured.