With so many repair and patching solutions on the market designed to help eliminate flooring installation problems associated with disbonding, crumbling, mold, mildew and staining, defining which to use, how to use it and when will dictate your success. Jody Proudfit, Ardex product category manager patching and finishing, is here to help us answer those questions.

FCI: What’s new in repair and patching solutions?

Proudfit: People are definitely looking for ease of application and simplicity, while getting strength and coverage out of the product. People are making sure that they are getting the biggest bang for their buck and the most coverage for their purchase. With the increasing demands on the patch within the floor—like it has to be able to handle roller wheel traffic, it has to be strong enough to hold up to some of the thinner laminate floors that are coming out—strength and performance are always the key, but making sure that it’s simple and easy to use. Installers just need a nice, creamy product to go down, versus having to muscle something into place. From an Ardex perspective, we focus on that creamy nature and that easy, simple application and making sure it’s strong enough to hold up to today’s traffic.

FCI: How are manufacturers’ latest repair and patching introductions addressing installers’ common challenges?

Proudfit: Our latest introduction is the Feather Finish XF, and the goal there was to provide a product that maintained that creamy nature that went down smooth and was a workable product that gave that coverage that everybody is looking for. With some of the technology, it makes stuff super strong, but it becomes super stiff. So it’s about finding that balance between the strength that it needs to have and that workability and ease of application that it needs. A lot of what we’ve been doing is focusing on delivering on the key value points installers are looking for.

FCI: What should installers keep in mind with working with these products?

Proudfit: With so many patching solutions being available, larger bags don’t always equal bigger performance. You want to make sure that you are looking at your coverage, you’re looking at your performance and you’re getting out of it what you expect. I don’t want to carry around 25lb bags if I can carry around a couple of 10lbers. The overall feel and performance of the product is important. When a product is creamy and smooth and goes down well, it leads to the less need to have to go back and retouch or sand or ultimately refinish the floor. When your products perform well, you shouldn’t have to go back and manipulate it. Look for patches that work well under your trowel and are right for your condition, because not every patch is going to meet your needs.

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FCI: How do you pick the right patching solution for the job?

Proudfit: Sometimes you’re going to need a dedicated moisture-resistant patch, sometimes you’re going to need a standard patch; it’s going to depend on your substrate and what you’re trying to achieve. Keep those things in mind.