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Installation: Self-levelers smooth over rough subfloors

April 29/May 6, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 24

By Lindsay Baillie

For a consumer to get the most out of her floor, the product must be installed properly. As retailers, installers and contractors know, the success of any installation starts with a properly prepped substrate.

To help installers with this important step, manufacturers are developing new self-levelers to shorten prep time and create better working environments for all on the construction site. Here is an overview of some of the latest products hitting the market.

Ardex – Ardex K13
Ardex K13 has a dual water ratio, allowing installers to choose a high flow or standard flow option for their installation. When choosing the standard flow option, the product can be installed up to 1 1⁄2-inch without aggregate and tapered to meet existing elevations. The high flow option has outstanding fluidity and coverage. It can be installed as thin as 1⁄16-inch but still maintains ideal self- leveling properties in these thin applications.

The Ardex K13 unique dual water ratio allows installers the flexibility to adjust to the jobsite requirements with a single product. The installation crew can change water ratios from job to job or even bag to bag on any install to cater to their preference. The product still maintains a 16-hour dry time at both water ratios for most floor coverings. These features are said to provide reduced cost and rapid turn-around fitting any timeline.

Custom Building Products – CustomTech TechLevel WSF
CustomTech TechLevel WSF is a fiber-reinforced, self-leveling underlayment for wood subfloors. Due to its fiber reinforcement, lath is not required for plywood or OSB substrates. What’s more, WSF is compatible with radiant heating systems and can be used in place of backerboard over most applications. It can also be used over non-wood floors, providing one product for all types of subfloors.

CustomTech’s low-prep technology requires no mechanical prep for suitable substrates. It helps installers save time by eliminating the labor involved in installing a wire lath before leveling. “This is a high-flow formula with excellent handling and exceptional flow retention properties that helps production rates,” said Eric Carr, senior director of product and channel management.

Schon̈ox – Renotex 3D System
Schon̈ox’s new Renotex 3D System is designed to exceed the material standards of new and remodeling projects. This versatile and customizable system combines Renotex 3D, a sound and insulation sheet, Schon̈ox RS 50 foam tape and Schon̈ox AP Rapid Plus to provide a fast and cost-effective subfloor renovation system.

First, the sound and insulation sheet is cut to size and loosely laid, sheet to sheet, on the wooden substrate. The high density of this underlayment allows for walkability at any time. Any gaps around the perimeter should be closed adhering the RS 50 foam tape to any vertical structure. The Schon̈ox Renotex 3D reinforcement fabric is then cut to shape and flattened lengthwise to overlap approximately 2 inches. Finally, the Schon̈ox AP Rapid Plus self-leveling compound is poured. The system cures in as little as 24 hours to a completely decoupled, floating and self-bearing system.

MAPEI – Polyplan RSL Rapid Self-Leveler
Polyplan RSL is a two-part self-leveling compound. It is provided in a 30 lb. bag of powder and a 1-gallon bag of liquid latex. Due to this configuration, no on-site water is needed other than wash water, and the compound cannot be over or under watered.

Polyplan RSL does not require the use of a primer over non-porous substrates, making it a time saver for installers. It also has a very fast cure time and is ready for the installation of vinyl flooring three hours after application.

“We chose to put Part B of Polyplan RSL in a plastic bag rather than 1-gallon plastic jug,” explained Jeff Johnson, FCIS product manager. “The reason being if you are using Polyplan RSL on a job of any size you would have a mountain of gallon jugs to get rid of. By using a plastic bag, you will reduce the volume of waste generated and it is actually less plastic by weight as compared to a plastic jug.”

Sika – Sika Level-425
Sika Level-425 is a dust-reduced, high-flow, high-strength self-leveler. Sika Level-425’s dust-reduced technology allows for a clean installation in areas such as medical facilities, libraries, domestic properties, industrial environments and cafeterias. It is a very low-shrinkage, smooth self-leveler that allows most floor coverings to be installed in as little as 16 hours. Apply Sika Level-425 from as little as 1⁄16-inch up to 1⁄2-inch.

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Installation: Underlayments put moisture protection to the test

March 18/25, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 21

By Megan Salzano

 

While a seemingly ancillary product, underlayments have become increasingly more important to the flooring industry. Not only do they help boost the bottom line for retailers and contribute to successful installations across product categories, but the segment also provides protection against a growing consumer concern: moisture incursion.

Subfloor moisture that can adversely affect the integrity of a flooring system may have always been a key issue for some consumers, but the evolution of home and product trends has created an increased focus on the issue. The rising popularity of multilayer engineered flooring, for example, is one factor contributing to the increased utilization of underlayments as protective measures, Wade Verble, vice president of business development and underlayment at DriTac Flooring Products, told FCNews.

“The nature of multilayered flooring, particularly
when installed over concrete, demands a
vigilant defense
against potential subfloor moisture damage,” he said. “As the multilayer flooring category continues to grow, underlayments will likely be seen as an increasingly valuable solution.”

More specifically, LVT has exploded onto the scene with new surface visuals that continue to grab consumer attention, and underlayments have become increasingly more important in these applications. “What’s happening in the market is a lot of these LVT planks are coming with pre-attached underlayment,” said Deanna Summers, marketing coordinator, MP Global. “Those products are marketed as waterproof—and the planks may be waterproof, or the products that they’re made from—but you still have to waterproof the substrate.”

Colleen Gormley, sales and marketing, Diversified Industries, added, “Along with the growth of hard surface flooring installations, consumer’s education on the subject has grown as well. Consumers have learned that underlayment is not just for sound abatement, but an integral part of protecting your flooring system’s joints, providing comfort and of course protecting against moisture problems. Consumers want to do an installation job once, the right way, and be supported by their underlayment in all facets.”

Another key factor in the need for underlayments is the growing trend toward con- sumer utilization of basement spaces, a location often plagued by moisture. “More and more people are turning basements into living spaces,” said Steve Sennik, president, DMX Plastics. “They are either creating income properties that help them pay for the mortgage or they want additional living space—they make a gym, study or living area. It’s a much more active area than it was 15 or 20 years ago.”

Following is a curated selection of moisture-mitigating solutions in the market.

MP Global
QuietWalk Plus+ advances the fiber blend technology of the original, featuring more versatile applications with the special attached vapor barrier allowing floating, glue- or nail-down applications. Boasting the same performance characteristics as the original, reducing unwanted traveling noise and superior moisture protection and proper compression to support tongue and groove, QuietWalk Plus+ is the universal underlayment covering all installation applications. This underlayment can be installed over wood or concrete subfloors.

DriTac
DriTac EnviroTread rubber underlayment and acoustical barrier is ideal for glue-down and floating installations of hardwood, carpet, carpet tile, ceramic tile, ceramic stone and laminate flooring.
It also offers DriTac’s Dual Force, Silent Fuse technology when utilized
with approved DriTac flooring adhesives
in “double-stick” glue-down applications.The resulting Total Sound and Moisture
Reduction System (SRS) features an
enhanced lifetime warranty. Further, when
used with DriTac MCS 7000 two-part, concrete
moisture control system, the SRS offers moisture mitigation up to 25 pounds per ASTM F 1869 and 100% RH per ASTM F2170

Healthier Choice
Being very aware of the need for moisture vapor mitigation, Healthier Choice has offered solutions for the issue for over 20 years. The company’s Sound Solution Vapor Bloc product, seen here, is extremely effective at handling extreme vapor emissions and is warranted for 10 lbs per 24 hours per the calcium chloride test. In recent years, the company has also developed a similar product called OmniChoice Vapor Bloc that is ideal for floating installations under vinyl floors.

Schönox
Schönox SDG Plus is a rapid drying, ready-mixed acrylic moisture mitigation system suitable on cement-based substrates with residual moisture up to 96% RH or 18 lbs per 1,000 square feet per 24 hours in interior areas before applying Schönox underlayment.

DMX Plastics
DMX 1-Step underlayment is available for a variety of flooring types, including carpet (seen here), area rugs, LVT and laminate and engineered hardwood. DMX 1-Step Carpet is designed for areas where moisture is a problem, such as basement installations. It features a unique dimple design that allows air to flow under the floor so vapor moisture can evaporate. This process prevents mold and mildew from building up under the floor. The dimples are also encapsulated in a closed-cell foam, which is waterproof and keeps floors warm. It has a compressive strength of 6,000 lbs per square foot to help support comfort underfoot.

Diversified
As part of Diversified’s Premium collection, FloorMuffler LVT Encore is ideal for most
direct attach LVT/P flooring installations.
It can also be used in floating installations and is available with and without
the UltraSeal self-sealing lip and tape
system. It features a built-in moisture
barrier that exceeds industry standards
with no additional films required. It also features superior acoustic protection, comfort and durability. It is fully recyclable, mold and mildew resistant and surpasses indoor air quality emissions requirements for CA Section 01350.

Foam Products
All of Foam Products’ underlayments have a moisture mitigation film to help prevent fluids from reaching the flooring planks. Eco Ultimate Silencer, for example, is ideal for laminates and wood flooring. It has a polyester film bonded directly to the premium acoustical polyurethane foam during the manufacturing process. This process eliminates any potential delamination from the foam so there is a 100% moisture vapor film coverage on the subfloor to prevent the moisture from reaching the actual installed flooring and the above surface. The same technology is available in the company’s Silencer LVT, which is ideal for all LVT, WPC and SPC installations.

Laticrete
The Hydro Ban cementitious waterproofing membrane is a single-component, polymer-fortified cement-based waterproofing material for both interior and exterior applications that requires only water for mixing. It is formulated to be Greenguard certified and LEED compliant for sustainable building, equipped with anti-microbial technology and is solvent-free and non-flammable.

WeCork
Silently+, a two-in-one product, offers a vapor barrier and sound control under floating floors, including engi- neered wood, laminates and LVT. Silently+ is a low-pro- file, easy-to-install rubber cork product with attached moisture barrier, which offers superior and economi- cal sound control in a 2mm thickness. Its high density provides a solid but resilient underlayment, which absorbs footfall sounds in the room while preventing moisture issues commonly found in basements and on-grade structures.

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Installation: Molding intros tout form and function

March 4/11, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 20

By Megan Salzano

 

Consumers can sometimes forget the finishing touches necessary to complete a new flooring installation. Accessory items, such as trim and molding, not only help to create a flawless installation but also add to a retailer’s overall project sale.

At this year’s International Surfaces Event, held in Las Vegas in January, trim and molding manufacturers showcased innovative new products meant to help retailers grow sales while also supporting a flawless installation that will keep customers happy. Some suppliers focused on rounding out existing collections in an effort to help retail offer a one-stop solution and account for multiple design trends. Others tapped current floor trends, such as waterproof designs, in an effort to better service the market.

Whether looking to add new SKUs to existing trim and molding offerings or break into the category to help boost the final sale, retailers should keep these accessories top of mind when discussing new projects with their customers. Following is a curated selection of some of those new trim and molding innovations.

Seneca Millwork
Seneca is adding to its SignatureEdge collection with three new stair tread edge profiles. Its eased edge tread has a 3⁄16-inch slightly rounded top front edge; its chamfered edge design showcases a 1⁄4-inch angled top front edge; and the double chamfered design features the 1⁄4-inch angled edges on the top and bottom of the tread.

“Currently, a consumer has basically two stair tread design choices—a bullnose or square front,” said Mark Pacacha, national sales manager. “We feel that adding three additional edge options brings pizzazz and an important variety to our SignatureEdge collection. The eased edge is similar to the square edge but with a smoother, more rounded appearance. The chamfered edge and double-chamfered edge profiles are perfect for an ultra-modern appearance on consumers’ staircases.”

Pacacha noted that by adding more edge designs, the company now has a complete stair package selection for both traditional and modern looks. “Change is happening so quickly in the trim and molding business, and with all the homework a consumer does before making purchases our SignatureEdge collection gives our partners an ‘Edge’ for their customers.”

All treads are manufactured in the USA and are available unfinished or prefinished. Seneca can stain and finish stair treads to match thousands of flooring brands and colors. This includes specialty finishes such as sculpted, wire brushed and glazed. Seneca’s solid wood treads are built to last with only two to three glue lines per tread, and they are coated with a durable, water-based, phthalate-free formulated polyurethane topcoat finish.

Artistic Finishes
Artistic Finishes has added a new look to its Enduracor Stair Nose line of molding. Profile 340 has a square-edged design and fits 5mm to 7mm floors. With this new profile, the company’s Enduracor waterproof line now offers 17 profiles for floors ranging from 2.5mm to 15mm.

“There is always a demand for flush stair nosing when it comes to molding for multi-layer floors. This fits 5mm to 7mm thick floors, which is the largest thickness option in the multi-layer flooring industry and fulfills that need where it’s often found lacking,” said Bill Treiber, technical sales and education manager. “This square-edged nosing gives our customers another option of stair nosing in our Enduracor waterproof core collection with a modern twist. The squared look of the bullnose is the latest trend our customers are requesting to give their staircase a fresh, bold look.”

Selling is about options and staying current with the trends in the industry, Treiber explained. “This sleek new profile is a unique design while still creating durability. It gives our retailers and dealers the flush nosing option their customers need and want for multi-layer floors at a cost-effective price.”

This new profile will be available in April.

Pennwood Products
This year, Pennwood has grown its White Goods assortment of molding products—painted and primed molding in baseboard, quarter round and shoe. “Retailers, builders and consumers are looking for molding that have universal usage and at the same time give a great visual appearance as well as good value,” said Steve Cratch, business development. “The retailers and consumer think white molding actually make the floors contrast better. The retailer controls and turns their inventory better and the installer likes the fixed lengths. Builders like that it is available already painted or primed. Everyone is a winner.”

In addition, Cratch noted it was important to offer retailers a molding line that works with all flooring types, including ceramic, hardwood, vinyl and LVT. “Distributors and retailers today are always looking for items that turn well and help their bottom line. Painted and primed molding help consolidate where necessary and at the same time offer a product that saves time in installation.”

Currently offered in a 12-foot fixed length, the company is set to launch an 8-foot fixed length in the second quarter.

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Adhesive: Suppliers up the ante with latest innovations

February 18/25, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 19

By Ken Ryan

 

Leading adhesives manufacturers are coming to market with new products that claim to be faster, stronger and safer than previous iterations. Indeed, many of the new offerings boast enhanced eco-friendly properties, are able to cure underwater and be installed in higher relative humidity (RH) conditions.

Following are some recent introductions from those manufacturers:

Ardex
The new Henry 647 PlumPro was engineered for today’s fast-track installations and remodels. The fast-track, roll-apply vinyl adhesive is said to be moisture resistant up to 95% RH and pressure-sensitive in minutes. Approved for use on all substrates, Henry 647 can be used with commercial and residential installation of LVT, LVP and fiberglass-encapsulated sheet vinyl.

The company has also released Henry 695, a high RH vinyl flooring adhesive. It is a pressure-sensitive or wet-set adhesive for the installation of LVT, LVP and vinyl-backed sheet flooring. It is also moisture resistant up to 95% RH and has a four-hour working time. Its versatility and overall performance make it suitable for all formats and sizes of vinyl-backed flooring.

DriTac
DriTac is venturing into spray adhesives with the introduction of DriTac SprayTac 2500 (SG), 2600 (LVT-CT) and 2700 (VCT). According to David Clarkson, DriTac’s vice president of strategic development, this line of resilient flooring spray adhesives is suited for the installation of approved sheet goods, luxury vinyl tile, carpet tile and vinyl composition tile in both commercial and residential applications. Clarkson said SprayTac requires less adhesive than traditional troweled adhesives, allows immediate traffic and is easy to clean up while wet. In addition, SprayTac affords the green community a spray adhesive with zero VOCs, no offensive odors and non-flammability. The water-based, highly moisture-resistant (up to eight pounds and 95% RH) and pH-resistant adhesive is available in 22-ounce aerosol cans.

Laticrete
Laticrete has introduced MultiMax Lite, a one-step, non-sag, large and heavy tile mortar for interior and exterior installations of ceramic tile, porcelain tile, glass tile and stone. Boasting superior bond strength and adhesion, the company said, the adhesive exceeds ANSI 118.15, an industry standard for cementitious-based adhesive mortar. A 25-pound bag provides the same coverage as a 50-pound bag of standard mortar, the company said. Additionally, the adhesive contains no silica sand, which benefits workers on the jobsite with reduced exposure to respirable silica, the company said.

In addition, 125 Tri Max is a soon-to-be-released, three-in-one adhesive, sound-control and crack-isolation product that is designed to eliminate the need for sound and anti-fracture mats. Because of the versatility and lightweight nature of this product, 125 Tri Max is said to save construction professionals money on storage, freight and logistics. The product contains 36% post-consumer recycled materials to contribute to LEED points and is GreenGuard certified.

Mapei
Mapei recently launched Ultrabond ECO 811, a mint-colored adhesive designed to provide an enhanced, aggressive tack for installing all types of carpet tile and has releasable properties for easy removal of flooring. The adhesive is said to provide a secure adhesive base for standard PVC-backed carpet tile as well as non-PVC-, polyolefin-, felt- and bituminous-backed carpet tile. This universal carpet tile adhesive can also be used to bond fiberglass-reinforced vinyl sheet flooring. In addition, the adhesive is specially designed to provide the option of a permanent or releasable base, accommodating the remodeling cycles typical in residential homes, office buildings, hospitality settings and institutional locations.

Mapei also introduced Ultrabond ECO 977, a fast-setting, 100% solids, one component, moisture-cured urethane adhesive specifically designed for domestic solid and engineered wood flooring.

Mohawk
Mohawk Group now offers a patented, waterproof flooring installation system with the addition of Aquaflex M100Plus. Aquaflex is a system of products developed specifically for commercial customers designing, upgrading or repairing installations based on concrete subfloors. “Aquaflex M100Plus represents the type of disruptive technology that will move the industry forward, providing a solution that will set severe moisture issues aside without the extreme cost of mitigation,” said David Thoresen, senior vice president of commercial hard surface.

The system consists of Aquaflex M100Plus adhesive, a waterproof solution with the ability to cure underwater; Aquaflex M100Plus Patch & Skim Mix, a silica-free concrete repair mix; and Aquaflex M100Plus Adhesive Remover.

Schönox
Roll and Go is Schönox’s most popular green adhesives designed for luxury vinyl tiles. Roll and Go can be applied from a standing position, resulting in a faster, cleaner, easier job for the installer. LVT installation can begin just 15 minutes after application. Tiles are bound and can bear loads immediately, the company said.

The easy-apply acrylic adhesive can contribute up to five points in a LEED v4 project, according to the company. Schönox Roll and Go contributes to low-emitting materials, environmental product declaration and material ingredients. It has been recognized as an EC 1PLUS Regulated product yielding very low emissions.

 

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Laticrete looks to pull out all the stops at TISE 2019

November 26/December 3, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 12

By Nicole Murray

 

Laticrete is preparing to showcase its breadth of products at The International Surface Event (TISE) 2019 in Las Vegas. Following is a preview:

Laticrete Strata_Heat is an electric radiant floor heating system designed to go under tile and stone flooring. The system uses thermal diffusion technology to uniformly distribute heat through the adhesive, which results in an evenly heated flooring surface. The system also transfers heat quickly, saving both energy and cost. What’s more, the Strata_Heat package includes a high-performance floor heating wire, an uncoupling mat and can be controlled using a Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat.

“We recommend Strata_Heat to anyone in need of floor warming,” said Joel Tully, founder, Trends in Tile, Bridgeton, Miss. “The electric radiant floor heating system offers customers design flexibility and completely eliminates cold spots, making it easier for the floor to reach a specific temperature faster.”

Laticrete will also showcase its Hydro Ban Board, a lightweight, easy-to-install wallboard suitable for bonded tile or stone installations. This ready-to-tile product is made with a waterproof membrane on both sides and contains a high-density, waterproof polystyrene core to help protect against water and vapor. The Hydro Ban Board is included in Laticrete’s Pre-Formed Shower System, which contains an expansive line of pre-sloped and linear shower pans, niches, seats and benches as well as linear and square drains in multiple sizes and finishes. “Laticrete’s Hydro Ban line performs extremely well and requires beginner-level skills to successfully install,” Tully said. “This is a huge added benefit as older methods require more skilled workers for the same high-quality result.”

Next up is Laticrete’s Permacolor Select, a high-performance, crack-resistant cement grout designed to withstand extreme environments and is suitable for residential and commercial installations. Permacolor Select is a fast-setting, color-consistent cement grout that only needs to be mixed with water and can be placed in as little as three hours.

“I highly recommend Permacolor Select because it reduces inventory levels and waste for my customers, thus resulting in more satisfied and return buyers,” Tully explained. “There are hundreds of colors available, and the non-sanded version can even be reused.”

Then there is Laticrete’s 257 Titanium, a silica sand-free, thin-set mortar best used when installing gauged porcelain tile, gauged porcelain tile panels and slabs as well as porcelain tile and stone.

“We recently used 257 Titanium for a thin panel installation at Carlisle High School in Carlisle, Pa., and this product helped my team easily install Crossville Laminam Panels over existing block walls because the product was so easy to spread,” said Kevin Killian, president, ProFast Commercial Flooring, Monrovia, Md. “The non-sag performance of the thin set was a big help because the panels were held 6 inches off the existing terrazzo floor.”

Installation: ­­J-Lock spacers keep floating floors in check

October 29/November 5, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 10

By Mara Bolletieri

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: An installer is getting ready to lay down a laminate floor. He has all the necessary tools for the job—including the plastic, wedge-style spacers that came with the standard installation kit he purchased at the store. While the spacers were designed to ensure the requisite space around the perimeter of the installation, he finds the planks keep moving anyway.

This is precisely what happened to Adrian Battle, a 35-year carpenter and installer, who works in the San Diego market. Over the years, he grew weary of using traditional spacers that were not always effective in keeping floating floors—especially laminates—in place during installation. In one instance, Battle was in a customer’s home installing laminate flooring on a steamy summer day. On this particular job site, there was one section of the wall that was not perfectly straight. So every time he would get to that section, he would push the floor together but the planks would pop apart, leaving him to start the installation all over again.

It was in that exasperating moment when he envisioned a spacer that would hold the floor in place properly. This led him to devise his own solution: The J-Lock spacer. “I was frustrated,” Battle recalled. “I thought, what if I had something that was in the shape of a ‘J’ on top of the board?”

Battle said the spacers he used in the past were either too expensive, very clunky, wouldn’t stay put and/or were difficult to pull out. The beauty of J-Lock, he said, is it stays in place and it’s easy to remove.

How it works: The longer leg in the “J” rests between the flooring material and the wall, while the shorter leg sits on the surface of the floor. If there’s a gap under the drywall that’s big enough for the flooring to slide under (something that, according to Battle, happens often when you push against it), the J shape will make it lock in place on top of the board. “It gives you a nice, stable, vertical surface to push and work against,” he explained. “And they’re easy to get out—I can stick my finger under there and pull them out.”

Designed with both novice installers and professional floor layers in mind, the J-Lock spacers—which are made of high-density polyethylene and come 20 to a pack—are easy to use and intuitive, according to Battle.

End-user approved
Installers and retailers alike are singing J-Lock’s praises. Independent contractor John Herald, located in San Diego, was skeptical about using the J-Lock spacers at first, given the fact they were a bit wider than the spacers he normally used. But his reservations quickly subsided. “I used them on a job and was impressed,” he recalled. “The base still covered all the way around the room, and my gaps were wide enough for expansion and contraction.”

While designed primarily for floating floors, the J-Lock spacers can be used in other installation scenarios as well. “I’ve also used them on glue-down products,” Herald noted. “They sit on top of the product; they don’t get down in the glue. It just makes things a little easier.”

Dezarai Gonzales, customer service supervisor at San Diego-based Coles Fine Flooring, an NFA retailer, is also a believer. In fact, she was so impressed that she insisted that all of her installation crews switch to J-Lock spacers exclusively. Aside from expediting installation, she touted another major advantage: Use of the spacers provides a bit of a legal “cushion” in cases where potential claims might arise out of challenges regarding the provision of perimeter expansion gaps. At present, the J-Lock spacer is patented in the United States, Europe and Turkey. Battle is optimistic about the future potential of his installation invention. “It’s my hope it will become the industry’s standard,” he said.

For more information, visit: jlockflooringspacers.com.

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Installation: Latest adhesives tackle subfloor moisture issues

October 29/November 5, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 10

By Lindsay Baillie

 

A floor’s ability to resist water starts with a properly prepared subfloor. To that end, many adhesive manufacturers are developing moisture-mitigating products and systems to assist installers during the installation process.

Following is a sampling of some of the new adhesives and systems designed to inhibit moisture in the subfloor.

DriTac
DriTac 7800 Supreme Green is DriTac’s latest multifunctional adhesive solution for the wood flooring industry. The product is a single-component, premium sound and moisture control hybrid polymer adhesive that can serve to isolate old cutback adhesive residue and suppress concrete subfloor cracks.

Supreme Green also provides unlimited subfloor moisture control with no testing required and has a lifetime warranty. “This is the very first wood flooring adhesive that offers five installation solutions in one pail, allowing retailers to now stock one SKU where several were required in the past,” said John Lio, vice president of marketing.

DriTac 7800 does not contain isocyanates, VOCs or solvents and has been independently tested and certified by CRI for indoor air quality. What’s more, Supreme Green is manufactured in the U.S., and the product can be used to install multi-ply engineered plank, solid wood plank, bamboo flooring and more.

Sika
SikaBond-T21, a polyurethane, all-in-one adhesive, and SikaBond-T100, a hybrid polyurethane all-in-one adhesive, are two of Sika’s moisture mitigating products. Both can be used for solid planks up to 8-inches wide and engineered planks up to 14-inches wide as well as mosaic parquets, industrial parquets, wood paving, chip boards and plywood.

According to the company, once cured, both products generate a strong bond to a variety of substrates for glue-down installations. In addition, SikaBond-T21 and T-100 form membranes that reduce moisture vapor transmission from the subfloor and reduce sound. Both products are also permanently elastic, allowing planks to expand without damage to the adhesive. SikaBond-T21 can be elongated up to 270% and T-100 up to 150%.

No moisture testing is required with the use of SikaBond-21 and T-100, and both have excellent Green Grab, according to Sika.

Laticrete
Laticrete’s NXT Vapor Reduction Coating is a single-coat, low-odor, 100% solids epoxy coating designed for controlling the moisture vapor emission rate from new or existing concrete slabs. In addition to being UL Greenguard certified and a component of the Laticrete system warranty, NXT Vapor Reduction Coating is compatible with NXT underlayments as well as non-water-based adhesives for hardwood, vinyl, carpet and tile installations.

NXT Vapor Reduction Coating offers installers an insurance policy against excess moisture levels as well as wrapping the Laticrete flooring system in a long-term warranty, according to Jeff Bonkiewicz, Laticrete channel manager.

Additionally, the product can be applied over new concrete in as little as five days. It also features fast-curing properties that allow for finishing floor coverings or NXT underlayments to be applied within 12 hours.

Schönox
Schönox EPA and EPA Rapid are two of the company’s moisture mitigation solutions that can be used prior to applying an adhesive. These products not only offer a one-coat application, a low viscosity and moisture resistance up to 100% RH, but they are also suitable for both interior and exterior applications. These rapid curing, two-part, epoxy-based moisture mitigation systems contribute to LEED v4 category EQc2 with one to three points in low-emitting materials. What’s more, EPA has been designed for leveling in four to six hours, while EPA Rapid is ready for leveling in as little as two hours.

Once the concrete surface is sufficiently smooth and level, a Schönox adhesive can be applied directly to EPA and EPA Rapid within the first 48 hours after curing. The company’s recommended adhesives are Schönox MSP Classic, Schönox Emiclassic and Schönox Roll and Go.

Gerflor
The Gerflor Dry-Tex System is a moisture mitigation system integrated into the backing of the flooring. It is a 100% full-spread adhesive solution applied directly to the slab, resulting in no risk of the floor curling or shifting under pressure from rolling loads, according to the company.

The Gerflor Dry-Tex System withstands up to 100% RH and 25 lbs of moisture. Products installed using the Gerflor Dry-Tex System will not promote mold growth on, within or directly under the installed floor, according to the company.

The Gerflor Dry-Tex System also offers up to 70% cost savings compared to third-party mitigation systems, because there is no additional labor required or need to purchase moisture barriers.

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Installation: J-Lock spacers keep floating floors in check

By Mara Bollettieri

 

J-Lock spacers are designed to hold floating floors firmly in place during the installation process.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: So an installer is getting ready to lay down a laminate floor. He has all the necessary tools for the job—including the plastic, wedge-style spacers that came with the standard installation kit he purchased at the store. While the spacers were designed to ensure the requisite space around the perimeter of the installation, he finds the planks keep moving anyway.

This is precisely what happened to Adrian Battle, a carpenter with 35 years of experience who works in the San Diego market. Over the years, he grew weary of using traditional spacers that were not always effective in keeping floating floors—especially laminates—in place during installation. In one instance, Battle was in a customer’s home installing laminate flooring on a steamy summer day. On this particular job site, there was one section of the wall that was not perfectly straight. So every time he would get to that section, he would push the floor together but the planks would pop apart, leaving him to start the installation all over again.

It was in that exasperating moment he envisioned a spacer that would hold the floor in place properly. This led him to devise his own solution: The J-Lock spacer. “I was frustrated,” Battle recalled. “Then I thought, what if I had something that was in the shape of a ‘J’ on top of the board?”

Battle noted the spacers he used in the past were either too expensive, very clunky, wouldn’t stay put and/or were difficult to pull out. The beauty of J-Lock, he says, is it stays in place and it’s easy to remove.

How it works: The longer leg in the “J” rests between the flooring material and the wall, while the shorter leg sits on the surface of the floor. If there’s a gap under the drywall that’s big enough for the flooring to slide under (something that, according to Battle, happens often when you push against it), the J shape will make it lock in place on top of the board. “It gives you a nice, stable, vertical surface to push and work against,” he explained. “And they’re easy to get out—I can stick my finger under there and pull them out.”

Designed with both novice installers and professional floor layers in mind, the J-Lock spacers—which are made of high-density polyethylene and come 20 to a pack—are easy to use and intuitive, according to Battle. “There’s not a lot to figure out about how to use them. You just put two on every long edge and one on every end, and you get going. Plus, they’re small—you can just throw them in your bags and go on to the next job to use them again.”

End-user approved
Installers and retailers alike are singing J-Lock’s praises. Independent contractor John Herald, located in San Diego, was skeptical about using the J-Lock spacers at first, given the fact they were a bit wider than the spacers he normally used. But his reservations quickly subsided. “I used them on a job and was impressed,” he recalled. “The base still covered all the way around the room, and my gaps were wide enough for expansion and contraction.”

While designed primarily for floating floors, the J-Lock spacers can be used in other installation scenarios as well. “I’ve also used them on glue-down products,” Herald noted. “They sit on top of the product; they don’t get down in the glue. It just makes things a little easier.”

Dezarai Gonzales, customer service supervisor at San Diego-based Coles Fine Flooring, an NFA retailer, is also a believer. In fact, she was so impressed that she insisted that all of her installation crews switch to J-Lock spacers exclusively. Aside from expediting installation, she touted another major advantage: Use of the spacers provides a bit of a legal “cushion” in cases where potential claims might arise out of challenges regarding the provision of perimeter expansion gaps.

“I’m sick and tired of manufacturers denying claims,” Gonzales said. “With the J-Lock spacers, we can put them in room by room, snap some pictures and leave those in our file. Then, if we have a claim on that floor in the future, we have proof that we did, in fact, leave an expansion gap. It’s not disputable.”

J-Lock spacers have even made an impression among installers outside the U.S. James Scully, a senior fitter/installer who formerly worked for Floors & Doors in Palmers Green, London, commended the product for its innovative design. “These spacers are a game changer,” he said.

At present, the J-Lock spacer is patented in the U.S., Europe and Turkey. Battle is optimistic about the future potential of his invention. “It’s my hope it will become the industry’s standard,” he told FCNews. “I think it’s going to end up being like peanut butter and jelly—when somebody goes into the store to buy laminate, the salesperson might say, ‘You need a few packs of those J-Locks.’”

 

Visit jlockflooringspacers.com for more information.

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Installation: For underlayment suppliers, silence is golden

Sound-deadening padding provides noise-control solutions

September 3/10, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 6

By Reginald Tucker

In today’s fashion-centric world of flooring, a lot of emphasis is placed on style and design. But it’s important to not overlook what lies beneath the flooring—specifically underlayments. Not only can these innovative, functional products extend the life of the flooring materials they support, but they also provide numerous benefits for end users, especially noise suppression.

Centaur

Centaur Sound Reducer is a composition rubber sound-control underlayment engineered for use directly under most floor finishes. Available in 48-inch-wide rolls and a variety of standard and custom thicknesses, Sound Reducer yields exceptional impact sound insulation results, even under hard surface flooring for concrete or wood-framed construction. Sound Reducer is backed by more than 400 independent laboratory and field tests.

Also available with a waterproof membrane, Sound Reducer can be installed under most types of grouted, glued and floating floors, including hard tile, hardwood, engineered wood, laminate, LVT and carpet. Product installs easily and is compatible with radiant heat systems.

Diversified Industries

FloorMuffler Ultraseal has been the gold standard for flooring underlayment, offering the highest sound ratings in the industry for the past 14 years. The polypropylene formula used to create FloorMuffler not only provides optimal sound abatement attributes, but it also features a built-in moisture barrier. FloorMuffler is an all-in-one underlayment for use under laminate, engineered and solid hardwood flooring and boasts IIC ratings up to (74) dB, an STC up to (73) dB and a delta IIC up to (25) dB.

FloorMuffler LVT Ultraseal is also made of polypropylene. The product is 1mm thick, providing a more dense product for use under luxury vinyl tiles and planks and boasts IIC ratings up to (71) dB, an STC up to (66) dB and a delta IIC up to (25) dB.

Dri-Tac

DriTac introduces DriTac 8501 RecycUL, a sound and moisture control felt underlayment for glue-down, floating and nail-down wood and laminate flooring installations. Made from 100% recycled fibers, this thick plastic moisture barrier provides enhanced acoustical abatement and can be used for the installation of multi-ply engineered plank, solid plank, bamboo and more. American made, RecycUL provides moisture vapor blocking technology, with improved foot-fall sound performance.

DriTac also offers two premium-grade foam acoustical abatement underlayments: DriTac 8301 Impact for resilient floor installations and DriTac 8302 Double Impact for wood and laminate floor installations. Both provide enhanced acoustical abatement properties and a total sound reduction system when used with approved DriTac flooring adhesives.

Foam Products

Foam Products introduced one of the first acoustical underlayments, The Silencer, back in the mid 1990s. Today, it produces premium acoustical underlayments for all laminates, wood and vinyl plank flooring using the Silencer brand name.

The company offers Eco Ultimate Silencer/Eco Silencer HD FOF premium acoustical underlayments for use with laminates, bamboo, engineered wood and hardwoods. They are intended to reduce noise transmission in two- to three-story residential homes, condos, apartments or other high-rise buildings. This product has acoustical ratings of up to IIC 73, STC 70 and Delta IIC 22, depending on the subfloor and installed flooring composition. These acoustical underlayments eliminate the hollow, “clicky” sounds inherent in many laminate floors.

Silencer LVT premium acoustical underlayment is designed for a range of vinyl plank flooring products (LVT/LVP/WPC), including the 2mm – 3mm glue-down planks used in many apartments. This underlayment has all the sound control, acoustical rating and moisture protection benefits available with the aforementioned Eco Silencer products while adding comfort underfoot when walking on the thinner vinyl planks. The Silencer LVT is extra dense to protect the thin locking edges on the vinyl planks from breaking.

Foam Products’ underlayments are constructed to minimize the noise associated with hard surface flooring and are GreenGuard Gold certified. Foam Products’ underlayments are made with high-density polyurethane foam, which rebounds from applied pressure and is designed to last the lifetime of the installed flooring.

Laticrete

Laticrete Fracture Ban is a high-performance, pliable, lightweight, peel-and- stick membrane designed for use under thin-bed adhesives for ceramic tile, stone and other hard surface installations. This reinforced, high-strength membrane performs as a crack isolation and an acoustical underlayment system that eliminates the transmission of stresses from the substrate, while dampening the transmission of impact and airborne noise through the floor to the room below.

Laticrete 125 Sound & Crack Adhesive is a superior crack prevention/sound isolation adhesive mortar designed to achieve high Delta IIC ratings and independently tested to ASTM E2179. Laticrete’s 125 Sound & Crack Adhesive provides sound transmission protection while simultaneously protecting the surface finish from any cracking in the substrate. Equipped with lightweight technology and reinforced with Kevlar to provide maximum strength and durability, 125 Sound & Crack Adhesive is an alternative to time-consuming, thin-set membrane or mat combinations and allow for a more cost-effective tile and stone installation.

MP Global

QuietWalk Plus, MP Global’s signature underlayment, literally does it all. It is versatile in its application and can be used under floating, nail-down and glue-down floors. QuietWalk Plus is made from recycled fibers in a patented process that offers excellent sound reduction at a very affordable upgrade option when compared to cork and rubber options. The product is popular in high-rise multifamily applications as it helps diminish the transfer of impact and airborne noises from traveling to rooms below. IIC ratings are 71 dB and STC 66).

QuietWalk Plus also boasts a factory-attached vapor barrier, which protects hard surface floors against harmful moisture emissions found in concrete subfloors.

Insulayment, a cousin to QuietWalk, is made from the same recycled materials, but is denser and offers more support under glue- and nail-down hardwood applications. It has good sound ratings as well and boasts an FIIC of 60 and STC of 53, making it suitable for multifamily and single-family dwellings.  Due to their fiber makeup, both Insulayment and QuietWalk products inherently offer insulation value, and there are no harmful off-gassing or VOCs. Furthermore, the products are GreenGuard certified.

WE Cork

WE Cork’s latest addition to its family of sound-control products is WECU Silently-LVT, a high-density rubber and cork underlayment specifically designed for use under glue-down LVT. WECU products are ideal for use in single-family homes as a better and best upgrade under flooring for step sound within the room as well as transmitting sound from rooms above. WE Cork has also test results using the DELTA IIC ratings, with performance up to Delta 26.

WE Cork’s cornerstone product is WECU-Soundless (1⁄4 inch) and Soundless+ (1⁄2 inch), one of the most dense cork underlayments on the market. It is ideal for use directly under ceramic tile and stone with an IIC rating of 53 dB, based on laboratory testing for 6-inch concrete structure (without suspended ceiling) and one of the highest performing products on the market. WECU-Soundless products also meet or exceed building code requirements in wood-joist buildings for use under hardwood and stone flooring.

WE Cork also offers Warm&Quiet (1⁄8) and Warm&Quiet+ (1⁄4), a medium- density product line for use under hardwood and carpeting. WECU-Warm&Quiet+ provides an IIC 59 rating under hardwood and significant thermal insulation as well.

QEP

Roberts Consolidated Industries, a division of QEP, offers SoundBarricade Universal Sound Control Underlayment featuring advanced rubber foam technology that delivers enhanced sound absorption and antimicrobial protection. The ratings are IIC 69, STC 63, Delta 25 under luxury vinyl tiles and plank, and IIC 68, STC 63, Delta 22 under laminate and wood products.

Schönox

Schönox TS improves impact sound insulation by up to 17 dB. This impact sound insulating underlayment is available in a thickness of just 1⁄8 of an inch. Schönox TS is made of cork and recycled urethane granules for sound reduction and provides additional thermal insulation as well. It is suitable for installation under resilient floor coverings such as vinyl and cushioned vinyl or carpet. It’s also made for all wood flooring, floating laminate floors or on wood substrates such as plywood, oriented strand board or well-bonded floor coverings such as ceramic.

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Installation: Adhesives aim to ease the task at hand

August 6/13, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 4

By Ken Ryan

The installation crisis—a shortage of installers and a lack of skilled workers—has created a backlog of business for many flooring dealers who worry that projects will not be completed satisfactorily or on a timely basis.

In today’s environment, products that can ease the burden for installers and save time and money for dealers are golden. Fortunately, many of today’s new adhesives add value to the installation process through quicker bonding techniques that ultimately make the job more cost efficient.

Following is a rundown of some of the latest adhesive offerings.

Ardex/Henry

The new Henry 647 PlumPro was engineered for today’s demanding world of fast-track installations and remodels. The fast-track, roll-apply vinyl adhesive is moisture resistant up to 95% RH and pressure sensitive in just minutes. Approved for use on all substrates, Henry 647 can be used with commercial and residential installation of LVT and LVP as well as fiberglass-encapsulated sheet vinyl. Using Henry 647, installers can install flooring minutes after application; flooring can be immediately opened to traffic and property owners can access the space as soon as installers clean up their tools. The product’s unique, purple color is easy to see and allows the installer to achieve even coverage during application.

DriTac

DriTac recently unveiled a solution-based, multi-tier adhesive and underlayment system for wood and resilient flooring installations. Called Total Sound Reduction System (SRS), this dual-force, silent-fuse technology consists of both sound and moisture reduction systems. The company said these types of system-based installation solutions offer proven technology and value with increased profits for distributors and retailers.

DriTac’s double-stick method consists of two layers of adhesive above and below a layer of underlayment. “When done properly and adhering to manufacturers’ specifications, this type of comprehensive application can often times offer the highest degree of overall value associated with sound control and moisture resistance,” said David Jackson, field technical services manager, DriTac Flooring Products.

Gerflor

The Gerflor Dry-Tex System is a one-step, full-spread adhesive solution with a moisture-mitigation system integrated into the backing of the flooring. Available on Gerflor’s resilient sports flooring, Taraflex, and new heterogeneous resilient sheet flooring Premium designs, the system comprises DTx, a textile backing that allows a proper bonding of the adhesive onto the flooring; and Gerpur, a proprietary, moisture-cured adhesive using breakthrough technology that reacts to humidity.

This one-step system resists up to 100% RH/25 lbs. and helps save time and money for installers by preventing delays and unexpected costs due to high moisture within concrete slabs. With Gerflor Dry-Tex System, there is no risk of shifting or curling floors under heavy rolling loads. Plus, no water trapping means reduced risk of mold growth.

Laticrete

Laticrete recently introduced Prime-N-Bond, a versatile primer designed to enhance the performance and mechanical bond of mortars to a variety of smooth or low-absorptive substrates to which adhesion may be difficult. Prime-N-Bond is low VOC and does not emit a strong odor, making it ideal for use in interior or occupied areas.

Prime-N-Bond is designed to allow for a faster preparation which can save contractors time and money on the job site, according to Jonathan Scott, senior product manager. “This product is a perfect example of how advanced building material technology has helped to drive the construction industry forward while helping installers do their jobs more effectively.”

Schönox

Schönox’s newest addition in adhesives is HPS 1100—a clear, thin-spread acrylic adhesive that offers benefits of the company’s most popular adhesives. Much like HPS 92, HPS 1100 does not require any sort of priming. HPS 1100 can also be roller applied, similar to Roll and Go, thus providing an easier application for the installer.

Because HPS 1100 can be roller applied without priming, the application is much more efficient. This process reduces time and costs by eliminating the priming step while extending the adhesive product to its fullest range. This labor-saving rolling technique requires a 100-lb roller in both directions—North-South and East-West for best results.

Sika

SikaBond-T100 is a new, low-VOC, all-in-one wood floor adhesive from Sika that doesn’t require moisture testing, can be used to glue down engineered and solid wood flooring and easily cleans off prefinished floors before and after use. SikaBond-T100 allows installers to save time on a job since moisture testing is not required. What’s more, the product is easy to clean and the low-VOC formula helps achieve a healthier environment.

Uzin

Uzin KE 2000 S is a premium, universal adhesive designed for the installation of various floor coverings on porous and nonporous substrates. It features high shear strength, resistance to plasticizers and is quick drying for fast installations. Uzin KE 2000 S is also low odor and easy to trowel, making it ideal for commercial and residential use.

KE 2000 S is a LEED v4-contributing product with low-emitting materials. Furthermore, its high coverage area equates to low cost per square foot, which saves money.