Almost all resilient flooring manufacturers recommend bond testing of their products when a direct glue down installation is being considered.Correctly performed bond testing is critical to the success of the installation as it shows whether a floor covering is indeed going to bond to the subfloor/substrate of the space. The bond testing indicates if any number of conditions are existing in the building ambient conditions, the subfloor profile and the bonding of the adhesive will either produce a successful installation or a flooring failure. Bond testing is just as important as moisture and pH testing when considering a direct glue down installation.
Testing parameter standards are either set by the manufacturer or ASTM Standards or both. When any testing is performed those standards must be met, whether it is bond testing, moisture testing or pH testing. The standards are in place to compare the testing results to them and qualify a particular installation.The procedures and parameters for bond testing of resilient flooring have been set by the Armstrong Flooring Company and the information is used by all resilient flooring manufacturers. In the Armstrong testing procedures, there are no numbers or percentages by which to compare test results. The testing is performed as the flooring would be installed, left for the proper time frame as described in the testing parameters and the flooring is then pulled from the subfloor by hand. The testing agent then views the bond strength, adhesive transfer and “legs” of the adhesive.
There is testing performed in accordance with ASTM D7234 which instructs the user in the test method for the pull-off strength of coatings using a portable adhesion tester. This test actually uses a device for this procedure having a gauge showing the amount of pull was needed to remove a coating from a subfloor. This is used to test moisture mitigation products and how well they bonded to the subfloor. Moisture mitigation products are adsorbed into the subfloor profile and have completely different characteristics from resilient flooring being glued down onto a subfloor.
When this testing is used for resilient flooring, the results are completely invalid. There are no manufacturing numbers or percentages to compare the test results to. That being the case, what is the gauge actually telling anyone if there is no base line to compare to? This method used in this manner does not produce workable results for the flooring contractor. Any results are misleading and can be the cause of a flooring failure. Performing bond testing in accordance to the manufacturer’s recommendations will produce a go or no go result the installer is looking for.
Today’s laminate floors are spectacular when it comes to available designs and construction of the products.There are so many styles and colors it can be very hard to choose which is right for your home or place of business.
If a laminate floor has been chosen, the installation procedures are extremely important. It is absolutely necessary to follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions completely. For instance, the expansion spacing that is recommended is crucial to a successful floor. Laminate products have shown to react more dramatically to moisture than solid or engineered wood flooring.
All laminate producers call for a climate controlled room or home where the flooring is to be installed. The expansion spacing they instruct to follow is in regards to the climate controlled home. If you do not have central A/C in your home, then a greater amount of expansion space will be needed. The flooring needs more room to move into as it swells in size from the excess moisture in the air during higher humid seasons.Not having enough room will cause the floor to stop moving and buckle.
That space must be continuos all the way around the room and at vertical obstructions, like a basement support column. It only takes one corner of one plank to be against a wall to stop and buckle a whole floor. It is also necessary to leave a tiny gap between the base trim and the flooring face so the base does not pinch the planks as it is attempting to move into the expansion space.
Lately a number of concerns have come up regarding the performance of bamboo flooring after it has been installed. A number of contractors/installers have encountered callbacks to rectify problems with cupping or gapping of the planks. The most valuable key to installing bamboo is acclimating the boards or planks. Bamboo has greater sensitivity to ambient relative humidity. This means it has different needs regarding acclimating to the space it is being installed into. The planks or boards must be removed from the carton and plastic wrap to be fully exposed to the room’s ambient conditions. In the case of solid strand, this is especially important, and, strand must be left open in this manner for 7 days or more.
Some moisture meters are not reliable in accurate moisture content readings in bamboo and pin meters do not work in strand bamboo. This is the reason for the extended acclimation time frame. And, of course, concrete subfloors require proper moisture testing before any installation. We can help you with that.
Whose floor is it anyway?
The purpose of a third party, independent inspection is just that- independent of bias or having any connection to a retailer, installer or manufacturer of flooring. The need for non-biased inspections exists to provide accurate inspections based solely on the results of facts, measurements, and readings procured from the inspection process. It is based on science and physics. Any inspection report influenced by an outside source is no longer a non-biased inspection report.
So, you have selected a floor covering for a room or rooms in your home. You have written a check or submitted your credit card to pay for it and it is now installed. It is your flooring. But, you may see a problem with the flooring. Whether it is carpet, hardwood, laminate or vinyl, or another flooring, problems can become evident from different sources.
You now call your retailer to come and take a look at the perceived problem. There is a good chance he will not be able to identify what the problem is. He tells you he may have to call the distributor or the manufacturer to send someone to inspect it.
Within the next few days you may get a call from the distributor or manufacturer telling you an inspector has been assigned to your claim and he will call to set an appointment with you. He calls, sets the appointment and arrives at the day and time you and he had arraigned. He completes his inspection and a week later you receive a copy of his report. You read the report and find you disagree with the inspector’s findings. You call the retailer and discuss this with them and you are told you can hire an inspector, but, in the case of hardwood flooring, you are told they will only accept reports from certain certification body.
You may have been given what sounded like a good reason for this but does that sound like a non-biased viewpoint concerning your problem with the flooring? There is a number of inspection certifying organizations training inspectors to perform accurate, quality flooring inspections. A few of them have been training people for many, many years having decades of experience to teach from. Most good inspectors see to it they take continuing education courses to stay abreast of trends and to stay fresh in their knowledge and expertise.
It is your floor. You have the right to hire an independent inspector. Check his credentials and certifying body and you can ask him for referrals. You want the best non-biased inspection report your money can buy. Anyone telling you they only accept certain inspectors or certifying organizations just is not going to be fair. Read between the lines if they respond in this manner to your concerns over your flooring.
Generally, when flooring retailers and contractors think of concrete moisture testing, they are considering commercial building slabs. But, residential lower level slabs can pose dramatic problems to the flooring installer. The majority of residential slabs do not have a vapor retarder installed before the concrete is placed. This allows the ground moisture to enter the living space directly through the slab. That situation, coupled with normally higher RH in the lower level, can cause several issues affecting the flooring performance and life span.
Not only can elevated moisture levels reduce flooring adhesive’s ability to adhere but the moisture can destroy the floor covering itself. With higher moisture levels, mold can also become a problem situation for a family to experience.
Proper concrete moisture testing in residential settings is the sure method of preventing expensive corrections to the installer and the disruption to the homeowner’s family life. We are here to help you with our ICRI Certified Concrete Moisture Testing.
One of the concerns we come across in conversations with people when we are in their homes is the care of their hardwood floor. It’s fairly common to find out they are cleaning their floor using a wet sponge mop. The cleaning solutions being used are generally vinegar and water or Pine Sol or something Grandma used back in the day. Lately, people have been using a wet Swiffer or something similar to it. Television sells a lot of floor cleaning tools and detergents and we see them when we are called to look at a floor having a problem or two.
The flooring company’s warranty states to use only a cleaner designed specifically for wood floors. Mopping with water or detergents added to water will, over time, reduce the sheen and eventually cause the finish to deteriorate. Hardwood finishes cannot tolerate the acid levels in plain vinegar and will break down.
The Bona company makes a wood floor cleaning kit having the correct detergent and a micro-fiber tool to use when cleaning the floor. Other wood floor companies produce a similar product. They are inexpensive, very easy to use and can be found at your flooring retailer. In order to maintain your floor with that like new appearance, and so the finish lasts longer, pick up one of these cleaning kits. Grandma was wise but this is one area where you don’t want to follow her advice.
Lately a number of concerns have come up regarding the performance of bamboo flooring after it has been installed. A number of contractors/installers have encountered callbacks to rectify problems with cupping or gapping of the planks.
The most valuable key to installing bamboo is acclimating the boards or planks. Bamboo, not being a wood product, shows to have different needs regarding acclimating to the space it is being installed into. The planks or boards must be removed from the carton and plastic wrap to be fully exposed to the room’s ambient conditions. In the case of solid strand, this is especially important, and, strand must be left open in this manner for 7 days or more. Your moisture meter is not reliable in accurate moisture content readings in bamboo and pin meters do not work in strand bamboo. This is the reason for the process and extended acclimation time frame.
And, of course, concrete subfloors require proper moisture testing before any installation. We can help you with that.