“If you don’t have a competitive advantage,” former General Electric chairman Jack Welch once advised, “don’t compete.” His perspective is just as true for the flooring installation industry as it is for any other business sector. One way that floor covering installers can separate themselves from the pack is by taking advantage of technologies both old and new that are designed to address on-the-job challenges. Here are three hurdles commonly faced on the jobsite by floor covering installers and a product solution to address each of them.
- Challenge 1: Efficient and Effective Moisture Testing in Concrete Slabs
- Challenge 2: Meeting Tight Timelines in Fast-Track Construction
- Challenge 3: Preventing the Incursion of Water into a New Concrete Slab
One of the biggest jobsite challenges for flooring installers—as well as architects, specifiers, contractors, facility managers and building owners—is accurately testing for moisture in concrete slabs before a flooring installation. If moisture testing is not done or done incorrectly and an installation is compromised, the results are often costly remediation, dissatisfied end-users and a black eye for the installation contractor and the flooring industry as a whole. The moisture testing stakes are high because liability for a failed flooring installation rests with the flooring company or installer, unless they have been contractually excluded from responsibility. In some cases, the exclusion still may not hold up in court.
This past May, Wagner Meters introduced the Rapid RH L6 System, an enhanced version of the Rapid RH system. The new moisture testing system consolidates many concrete moisture testing tasks into a simpler process using advanced technology that makes reporting moisture levels faster, easier and more reliable, even in concrete with higher relative humidity (RH). The new L6 sensor is capable of providing concrete moisture readings up to 100% RH. In addition, each L6 sensor can store 512 time-stamped measurements, making it possible to recover historical data years after the original moisture testing took place.
The successful installation of commercial flooring, which is typically one of the last elements of a construction project to be addressed, can be a detailed and complex endeavor—often conducted under the time pressures that represent today’s fast-track construction environment. The concept that time is money has never been truer for installers of commercial flooring. Their challenge is to find ways to accelerate the installation process while meeting or exceeding the highest installation standards.
Chapco TrowelFast is a user-friendly adhesive ideal for vinyl tile and plank, VCT and solid vinyl sheet goods. TrowelFast has many features that allow for a fast-track installation: it accepts flooring in 10 to 20 minutes, heat welding can begin within 60 minutes and it accepts up to 99% RH on new concrete with declining values. In addition, TrowelFast has an extended open time of six to eight hours and resists flooring indentations and disbonding from the displacement of adhesive under heavy rolling loads. For standard vinyl flooring, each 3.5 gallon bucket offers between 945 and 1,015 sq. ft. of coverage.
A recurring issue in the commercial flooring industry is the incursion of moisture into a new concrete slab after initial moisture testing and a completed flooring installation. This situation can create costly havoc in virtually any type of commercial building, including medical facilities and schools.
A case in point is a U.S. government-owned medical center on the East Coast—the hard-surface flooring installed in the facility’s 5,000 sq. ft. community room came to a cost of $35,000 but then buckled almost a year after installation. The price tag to replace the flooring was $80,000; more than twice the cost of the initial installation. The challenge for flooring installation contractors and other decision-makers in commercial construction projects is how to permanently eliminate moisture migration in concrete slabs.
SCP 327, recently introduced by Spray-Lock Concrete Protection, is spray-applied at the time a concrete slab is placed, ensuring that the concrete floor will permanently resist moisture migration. Flooring can be installed in just 14 days after concrete placement; foot and trade traffic can access most slabs in just one hour and high-density concrete slabs in three hours. Additionally, there is no need for a curing membrane and an epoxy-based water migration system, according to the manufacturer.
The SCP technology can also potentially reduce slab curl, shrinkage and expansion, as well as scaling and spalling. The application of SCP 327 does not change the ability of the flooring to bond to the slab and floors can be removed and replaced without affecting the SCP 327’s features and benefits. Most importantly, SCP 327 is water-based, non-flammable, non-toxic and odorless.
This is a look at only some of the many tools out there for the professional. If you have any questions about the tools you currently use or what’s new in the market, contact your local distributor or preferred manufacturer. The industry is always evolving, and these tools and technologies are designed to keep contractors and installers working smoothly, efficiently and far ahead of the competition.