As a flooring inspector I have seen many different things involving flooring, the one thing that is constant; if a floor fails, the homeowner suffers. Sure...
By Jason Cantin
Did you know that the NWFA (National Wood Flooring Association) has an installation guide that is recognized as the industry standard for proper installation techniques and tolerances? The TCNA (Tile Council of North America) also has an installation guide indicating what are acceptable and minimum requirements for a tile/stone installation. And in September the BSR-IICRC (Institute of inspection cleaning and restoration certification) will have the S600 for professional carpet installation. These are consensus documents to help have consistency in the installation and maintenance of all flooring.
As flooring professionals we should be adhering as closely as possible to these standards on all installations. A couple excerpts that I find deficient in many installations.
1) All flooring that is glued to a substrate requires a proper moisture test prior to installation. Including wood flooring, carpet, and vinyl. This will help to ensure that the glue will not fail when exposed to moisture. It is also recommended to perform a PH test to ensure that the glue will not fail if the subfloor is too acidic or base.
2) NWFA guidelines state concrete meters can be useful in identifying moisture problem areas, however NWFA guidelines specify using ASTEM F2170-11 or ASTM F1869 (NWFA installation guide section 2 page 26)
3) Wood flooring is hygroscopic which means when it gains moisture it swells and when it loses moisture it shrinks. That is why, especially in Florida, acclimation is very important and the HVAC must be on in the space where flooring is to be installed.
4) When staggering tile “with any side of the tile over 15” your stagger cannot be more than 33%. And the grout joint should be a minimum 1/8” wide for rectified tiles.” TCNA manual page 36
5) When installing carpet if you want the warranty from the manufacturer you must power stretch the carpet (the knee kicker that everyone is using is not sufficient), and at all seams a seam sealer must be applied.
6) The flooring that is being installed is only as good as the substrate that it is being installed on. In most cases this requires some amount of floor preparation including grinding high spots and patching low spots to get with in industry standards of typically 1/8” in 6’ or 3/16” in 10’.
I recommend that you have a conversation with the companies that you are doing business with; verify that they know the industry standards and are following them, replacing a floor can be a costly experience. I am certified as both an Installer and Inspector with the NWFA and serve on their Bamboo Standards Committee. I am also certified with the FCITS (Flooring Consultants and Inspection Training Services) to perform inspections on tile/stone, laminate, carpet, vinyl and perform moisture testing (ASTM 2170-11 and 1869-11) as well as serving on their Board of Directors. Our industry standards are frequently being updated to reflect today’s technology. Continuing education is vital to doing it right the first time. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. My information can be found on my websites www.ConciergeFlooring.com, www.FloorGuruFL.com, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter @floorgurufl and @conciergefloors.
Owner of The Flooring Guru and Concierge Flooring, Inc.