FCICA, the Flooring Contractors Association, recently celebrated its 35th annual convention in San Antonio, Texas, with another high turnout. A total of 153 people, including more than 40 first-time attendees and six first-time exhibitors, were on hand for an event where the group reminisced on its past while also looking toward the future.

FCICA staff reported that its flagship Certified Installation Manager program (CIM) continues to be successful, with 102 candidates currently in the program and an additional 20 applicants ready to start. The CIM program also receives visibility in the industry through the quarterly Bruce Newbrough Memorial Scholarships, sponsored by Ardex and nora systems, as well as an annual scholarship through INSTALL.

Fred Acton of Acton Flooring, a founding member of FCICA, spoke during the opening session about his fond memories of the organization and the industry in general. “In 1982 a group of flooring contractors met in Chicago to talk about starting a flooring organization of our own. Through the years, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.” He added that one never stops learning in this industry, and FCICA is a group well-suited to providing that education. “There is never a ceiling or cap on knowledge,” he noted.

This year’s meeting included presentations from MAPEI’s Cris Bierschank, covering “LEED v4—How it Affects the Commercial Flooring Professional”; Sloan Bailey, legal counsel for FCICA, who offered his take on legal issues facing independent contractors and fielded questions during a live Q&A session; Amorim’s Larry Lyons, discussing “Sound Control Systems”; and Ardex’s Seth Pevarnik on “Floor Prep—Why It’s THAT Important.”

Live demos and trade show

The Commercial Flooring Trade Show returned to the convention for its second year with participation from nearly 50 manufacturers and flooring groups. Among the newest exhibitors to the event were Commercial One and EnvirOx.

According to Joe Weber, Commercial One’s vice president of sales and operations, “We’re a division of American Home Surfaces Group, which has been around since 2000 and represents about 400 independent flooring dealers with more than 700 showrooms. That’s the retail side. Commercial One focuses on the commercial side, and we’re here specifically to recruit more commercial members.”

Jeff Sorensen, executive vice president of sales and marketing, explained the benefits of EnvirOx, a cleaning process designed specifically for luxury vinyl floors in high-traffic environments.

“Luxury vinyl is a new-technology flooring. It’s supposed to be low maintenance. But after the installer leaves and the janitorial crew takes over, cleaning the floor the way they’ve been trained, the floor looks terrible and in 10-12 weeks someone gets a call.

“The problem is cleaning crews are using neutral cleaners designed to clean wax floors. Luxury vinyl flooring is not a wax floor. So you get this residue buildup that not only destroys the aesthetics of the floor, but promotes bacterial growth and can also become a slip and fall hazard.

“EnvirOx takes the approach of using the right product, process and props (tools). Those three Ps are wrapped into our training. We feel this market is underserved right now. We are looking to partner with retailers, distributors and those in the installer space.”

Tony Dominguez, technical services manager, specialty flooring, for GCP Applied Technologies, spoke about his company’s VersaShield underlayment as well as new corporate ownership. “We are a new division of GCP, formerly Halex. The parent company is all about high technology, so our product is a perfect fit.”

Tom Guilfoyle, Royal Adhesives & Sealants’ OEM business development manager, showcased his company’s new spray adhesive. “It’s approved for anything that’s vinyl-backed, including VCT, carpet tile, vinyl tile and vinyl plank. It flashes off fast, is non-flammable and is good up to 90% RH. The coverage is approximately 150 sq. ft. per can.”

Product demonstrations from Ardex, Schonox HPS North America, Protect-All Flooring and Koster American Corp. rounded out the event. Pevarnik helped demonstrate VR 95, a vapor retarder good up to 95% RH and K 22 F, a high-flow, fiber-reinforced self-leveling underlayment, with colleague Tim Ellison.

Regarding K 22 F, Pevarnik stated: “We’ve had a product for many years called GS-4, which stands for Gypsum Saver. It doesn’t create stress or strain to the subfloor underneath as it cures, so it can go over gypsum. The next generation of products were high-flow materials. You install them thinner and still have a flat, smooth floor. We took GS-4 technology and married it to a high-flow formula and included microfibers to create K 22 F. It can be used over difficult substrates including plywood, gypsum, etc.”

David Stowell, Schonox HPS North America technical director, along with Daniell Tallman, the company’s strategic business manager, demonstrated the company’s AP and APF underlayments. “Our product is an alpha particle (AP) gypsum, so it has a crystalline structure. That means the molecules stack one on top of the other for extreme durability and strength. It’s also a low-dust product, a neutral pH material, and it doesn’t shrink,” Tallman noted.

Scot Dehner of Protect-All explained his company’s Rapid Weld process. “Our product is 90 percent recycled material, and the 10 percent that isn’t is dye. Rapid Weld was originally a repair system for heat welding, but it was so efficient that it actually replaced heat welding. It cures in up to 30 minutes, and there’s no skiving.”

The final demonstration during convention featured Koster’s David Zeagler and Roman Mahles, explaining how to install the company’s family of VAP I 2000 moisture control systems. They stated that all four products are one-coat systems, and two of them—VAP I 2000 Zero VOC and VAP I 2000 FS—feature zero VOCs.

FCICA said it plans to hold its Mid-Year convention Oct. 9-12 in Columbus, Ohio, and its 2018 convention in Biloxi, Miss., March 18-21, 2018. For more information, visit fcica.com.