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Installation: Preventing hollow spots in hardwood flooring

FCICA Installments

Hollow spots in hardwood installations

By John Brown

John_Brown_Photo_9_15_1One of the most frequent consumer complaints about hardwood flooring installations is the common creaky, hollow-sounding floor that can develop once the job is complete. Noisy floors are annoying and a nuisance that many homeowners prefer to do without. These hollow or loose spots can even detract from the overall visual and essence of a hardwood floor.

Most hollow spots or loose areas in a glue-down wood floor come from not following the flooring and adhesive manufacturers’ installation specifications and limitations.

Hollow spots are often blamed on adhesives but they are rarely the cause. If a bad adhesive is used to install wood flooring, the entire installation would be negatively impacted—not just a few select areas. Most complaints concerning hollow spots make up less than 5% of the entire area that was installed.

The most common cause for hollow or loose spots in a wood floor system is not getting the concrete substrate level to industry requirements. The National Wood Flooring Association recommendation for flatness of the substrate for an engineered hardwood floor installation is no more than 3/16” deflection or variance in the slab within any 10-foot radius of the floor. If the substrate reveals any variance greater than 3/16” in any 10-foot radius, proper subfloor preparation steps must be applied to rectify the situation. Grinding the substrate and/or leveling with a Portland cement underlayment may be required to achieve flatness. Hollow spots will occur if the party responsible fails to ensure the substrate is flat enough for the specific installation.

The flatness of the substrate becomes even more important depending upon the hardwood product being installed. It is imperative to have a flat substrate when installing boards that are greater than ½” in thickness and greater than 5” in width. The thicker and wider the board, the less likely it will conform to any deflection or variance with the substrate and thus the occurrence of a hollow spot.

Other common causes for hollow and loose spots are neglecting to apply the correct amount of adhesive or not ensuring the flooring is in contact with the adhesive during the curing process. If a board is laid into wet adhesive and raises up from the substrate before the adhesive cures, a hollow spot will occur. This can be avoided by applying weight to these areas until curing.

Using the proper flooring trowel when applying the recommended adhesive is very important. Installers’ comprehensive understanding of trowel requirements is highly recommended by adhesive manufacturers. Insufficient adhesive application may cause substandard adhesion and/or final bond strength and in many cases development of hollow spots can occur throughout the installation.

Some hollow and loose areas require removal of the wood flooring, flattening of the substrate and replacement of the wood flooring. This is expensive and time consuming for all parties involved.

Injection repair kits are available and allow an installer to inject additional adhesive under the flooring specifically in the section where popping conditions or voids have developed. This typically alleviates the issue and causes popping sounds or creaky conditions to dissipate. These repair kits are typically easy-to-use, eco-friendly and cost effective. The more user-friendly kits are water-based, which makes them very easy to clean off of a hardwood surface.

Premium-grade, pressure-sensitive wood flooring adhesives will remain tacky for the lifetime of the floor and allow you to simply apply weight or walk the floor to correct the issue if proper contact is not achieved during the installation.

John Brown is a field technical representative for DriTac Flooring Products. He has several years of experience in the hardwood flooring and adhesives industries.

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FCNews webinar recap: CFI’s Varden shares tips on how to profit from installation

By Ken Ryan

Robert Varden is best known as the vice president of the CFI division of the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA). However, for a good part of his career he ran successful, high-profit installation businesses.

To some, high-profit and installation may seem like an oxymoron. After all, how can you make money from installation when home centers and other big boxes are offering “free” installation?

During a recent FCNews-Marketing Mastery Webinar Series, Varden joined Jim Augustus Armstrong, FCNews Marketing Mastery columnist, in a discussion about profiting from a business in which he sells no products—just service, namely installation.

Varden explained how he regularly pocketed six figures from his business and that all of his employees—not subs—fared well economically. Back then Varden oversaw five to seven crews, 10 to 15 individuals in all, so it was not a large business. He said he charged above average prices for installation; the higher profits enabled him to pay his installers more. But it was more than just a better wage. He tried to create an environment so inviting that his installers would not want to leave. Whether that was holding family picnics or other employee-friendly gatherings, it was important to create a positive culture. “You take care of them and they take of you,” he said. “It was a great relationship.”

Nowadays, Varden said dealers are too worried about competing with box stores on price when it comes to installation. As he explained: “Many times the estimate is too short on material for fear of being overpriced, so what they do is cut that yardage down. We would go in there and talk to the customer and say, ‘We could do it this way with this much material. However, if you add two more feet I can eliminate this seam or that seam over there.’ Not one time did they not take us up on the extra material. We gave them options. They are spending thousands of dollars so what is another $100? To come into someone’s home with that knowledge gives the consumer confidence.”

Flooring dealers who hire their installers as employees have control of everything from what they wear to how they are trained.
Flooring dealers who hire their installers as employees have control of everything from what they wear to how they are trained.

 

Independent contractor vs. employee

Varden’s discussion segued into one of the hot topics impacting the installation business today—the Department of Labor’s new classification of what constitutes an independent contractor (IC) vs. employee. Varden said that if a federal government agency like the DOL today walked into most flooring retail stores they would likely classify the dealer’s subcontractors as employees because these subs are working for the dealer every day.

As owner of an installation business, Varden hired his own employees. They were not subs or ICs. “As an employee I can train them and train them correctly,” he said. “We started out with a lot of carpet installers. To teach them another surface was not that difficult. You could take the carpet guy and he could work with the wood guy, and the wood guy could show him the right way. Try to get a sub to do that.”

Varden said there are many other advantages to hiring installers as employees. Take the consumer, for example. The customer would much rather deal with a single entity. She will feel more at ease if an installer comes to her home wearing a uniform or at least a T-shirt bearing the name of the flooring retailer from which she just bought product.

To illustrate the point, co-moderator Armstrong painted this picture: “How would you like it if you are a homeowner and you see some guy wearing a Guns N’ Roses T-shirt smoking a cigarette in your driveway? You worry that he is going to rifle through your underwear drawer when you are not at home.”

Varden recalled being at an installation-training seminar where he encountered an unmarked van in the parking lot noteworthy for a dashboard piled high with papers, assorted trash and a roll of toilet paper. Aghast, Varden went back inside and asked aloud who the van owner was. It turned out to be a good worker with whom Varden trained. Varden told him how damaging it is his for his reputation to show up at a home with an unmarked van looking filled with crap. His point was that a retailer would never let an installer employee show up at a job like that.

The next FCNews-Marketing Mastery webinar, ‘How to Dramatically Increase Your Sales by Eliminating Price Objections,” is scheduled for July 21.

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Labor, installation issues dominate WFCA agenda

June 6/13, 2016; Volume 30, Number 25

By Ken Ryan

Rarely do a few weeks pass without the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) making some significant news, whether it is partnering with another flooring association or funding entities such as fcB2B or CFI. So it was no surprise that the recent WFCA board of directors meeting in Colorado Springs was themed: What is our next move?

Scott Humphrey, CEO of the WFCA, told FCNews that sometimes the next move is to “walk away from a deal; sometimes it is to double down and other times it is to consider something completely different than what you have been doing.”

Following are some highlights from the meeting.

In January, the WFCA announced a partnership with the Floor Covering Business to Business Association (fcB2B) through a financial commitment that included hiring a full-time executive director, Phillip Zolan. WFCA has taken the next step by folding fcB2B under the WFCA umbrella “as a way to secure its future viability,” Humphrey said.

Over the past 15 years the fcB2B team has worked to create a seamless digital program for the flooring industry, and studies show the program could save flooring retailers and manufacturers significant time and money. Humphrey encouraged flooring retailers to embrace this technology. “Not utilizing fcB2B is like using a rotary phone as opposed to a smartphone,” he quipped. Nine new members have joined fcB2B since January; dozens more are being recruited.

 

CFI

The WFCA, which absorbed CFI as a standalone division last year, has amended its bylaws so CFI will have at least two positions on the board. This is meant to give CFI a voice within the WFCA hierarchy. Tom Cartnell, who has two years remaining on the board, is currently the lone CFI member. However, CFI will create an advisory council to choose a second CFI member who will join the board during the next board rotation in January 2017.

 

Overtime law

In a move with implications for scores of flooring retail owners, the Department of Labor recently announced its biggest changes to overtime regulations in more than a decade, essentially doubling the salary threshold at which workers are eligible for time-and-a-half if they work more than 40 hours per week.

The final rule, as it is called, focuses primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for executive, administrative and professional workers to be exempt. Specifically, the final rule sets the standard salary level at the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region, currently the south ($913 per week; $47,476 annually for a full-year worker). Additionally, the final rule amends the salary basis test to allow employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10% of the new standard salary level. The effective date of the final rule is Dec. 1, 2016.

The WFCA, lobbying on behalf of independent dealers, urged the Labor Department to adopt the southern data, which in this case lowered the salary threshold by $3,000 to $4,000. According to Humphrey, more than 270,000 comments were submitted on this law, with the final rule included WFCA’s proposal to recalculate and lower the minimum salary requirement, to include bonuses in salary calculations and to make no changes to duty test.

The OT rule is one of several actions being addressed by the lobbying arm of the WFCA. There is the much-discussed employee/independent contractor issue, which puts flooring installers and retailers at the mercy of various government agencies and their specific benchmarks for what constitutes an IC vs. an employee; and the Marketplace Fairness Act, in which a state cannot require out-of-state online sellers to collect the sales tax owed from its customers who purchase flooring products. WFCA members, however, must collect the local sales tax, which ultimately affects the final price on their products.

Humphrey noted the WFCA’s lobbying efforts are gaining influence. “It’s because we represent the mom and pops. The lawmakers see the mom and pops on Main Street as having real votes—they matter. The legislators look at Walmart as one vote. I want our dealers to understand the power of their influence. We want to amplify their voices; we want to give them more clout in the marketplace.”

 

In other news…

Paul Pumphrey, now 90, is going to Washington, D.C., to visit the National World War II Memorial. The trip was made possible by the WFCA in recognition of Pumphrey’s contributions to the association as well as his military service. He served in the U.S. Merchant Marines from 1943 to 1945. He will be joined by Humphrey and others who will go to Washington to meet with lawmakers.

Pumphrey is the only individual to have served as president of both the Western Floor Covering Association and Retail Floorcovering Institute (later named the American Floorcovering Association), the predecessors of the World Floor Covering Association. Pumphrey, who regularly attends WFCA meetings, is a member of the association’s Hall of Fame.

 

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NWFA awards recognize creative installations

May 23/30, 2016; Volume 30, Number 24

By Reginald Tucker

Charlotte, N.C.—Expert wood flooring craftsman and contractors from the U.S. and abroad were recognized for their creativity during the 2016 National Wood Flooring Association’s (NWFA) annual Floor of the Year competition held here. The Wood Floor of the Year awards program, now in its 26th year, was developed to encourage innovative installations. Since the program began in 1990, more than 200 awards have been presented to NWFA member companies worldwide. A panel of judges comprising trade and consumer press editors, industry leaders as well as professional designers evaluated the individual categories. And the winners are…

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WFCA execs discuss installation during FCNews webinar

By Ken Ryan

What do you get when you have three leaders from the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) discussing arguably the most pressing issue in the flooring industry today—installation—during the monthly FCNews Marketing Mastery webinar series? A record turnout of flooring retailers with a 50% increase in attendees from the previous webinar.

Scott Humphrey, CEO of the WFCA; Tom Jennings, vice president, member services, WFCA; and Robert Varden, vice president of WFCA’s CFI division, joined Jim Augustus Armstrong, FCNews Marketing Mastery columnist and marketing/customer service expert, in a full-throated discussion on “Conquering the Installation Crisis.”

Some highlights from the discussion:

  • There are three essential problems with installation today—an overall shortage of people, a paucity of truly skilled mechanics, and the challenge of how and where to recruit the next generation.
  • The shortage of installers today is not a flooring-specific problem, Humphrey pointed out; it is an issue that confounds the entire construction industry. The fact that today’s younger generations, in general, would prefer to use their minds rather than hands in the pursuit of work is another factor.
  • Humphrey and Jennings both agree the industry does not value the installation trade as much as it should and that out of desperation retailers will use installers who may lack the credentials to carry out a difficult job. “We ought to build this trade up and make it a differentiator,” Humphrey said. He wondered how many installers would proudly tell their neighbors they are installers, noting they should be proud of their craft.
  • The recession that started in 2006 produced a double whammy. Many journeyman left the field for good which also meant they were not around to train the next set of apprentices when the economy started turning around. “We lost one generation as well as a generation that would apprentice the next,” Humphrey explained.
  • Jennings noted just as “all politics are local, all problems are local” as well. “Most dealers, both large and small, have been in denial on the impending shortage of installers,” he said. “Many need to look themselves in the mirror. Inspect what you expect. Maybe you don’t expect much. For some reason installation has been a cost savings” rather than deemed a profit center.

Long-term solutions

Varden said there are young people out there who do want to work with their hands, but “we just haven’t done a good job finding them.” The International Certified Flooring Installers’ (CFI) first training school in Forney, Texas, has been a step in the right direction. Classes are offered in “bite-sized” pieces of one to two weeks for cfi adhardwood training and five weeks for carpet instruction. What’s unique about the five-week course is CFI trainers will take inexperienced, raw individuals and turn them into job-ready installers when they graduate.

How it works: A flooring retailer who wants to send an employee to the training school pays $5,000 for the five-week course, plus expenses (hotel, transportation, food, etc.). If a dealer thinks $5,000 to $8,000 is too big of an expense, Humphrey suggests an owner think of it this way: If you were looking to hire a senior-level person, you would pay an executive recruiting firm at least that much money—probably a lot more. Having a trained mechanic on staff gives a retailer the confidence to pursue jobs, knowing the end result will be completed correctly.

So far, the results have been positive. “It’s absolutely amazing to think of the impact this five-week training course had—and will continue to have—on the lives of the two students I sent to the school,” said Lonnie Presson, owner of Lonnie’s Carpet Max in Rockford, Ill. “I could not be more thrilled.”

Of note, the WFCA sponsors a trade scholarship of $500 that is available to its members. It can be applied toward CFI certification and new school installation classes.

Subcontractor vs. employee

Next to the great recession purge, in which upwards of 25% of independent flooring dealers went out of business, the installation issue threatens to wipe out another significant percentage of dealers if it plays out, Humphrey warned. The gravity of this Department of Labor reclassification is not to be taken lightly. Humphrey and WFCA lobbyists have met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill on this issue and while some politicians are sympathetic to the plight of small business on this matter, many more believe there are “crooks” out there looking to take advantage of the subcontractor issue. Now, government agencies are going after the violators. As well, subcontractors are seeking remuneration through class-action lawsuits.

Humphrey said the states that are particularly aggressive on this issue are California, Washington, Oregon, Maryland and Illinois. The interpretations on this measure vary by state as well as agency. In other words, the IRS may view the independent contractor (IC) issue differently than the Department of Labor. To that end, Humphrey encourages dealers to join the WFCA, which works on behalf of flooring retailers.

In his book “Independent Contractor,” WFCA counsel Jeff King included an entrepreneurial test to help retailers ascertain whether their subcontractors are truly ICs or would he be considered employees.

King recently said the government is looking for ways to bring new revenue out of the hides of small businesses and plaintiff lawyers are sniffing around looking for examples where a corporation was guilty of misclassification. “The IC issue can be costly; it is spreading rapidly and it is not going away,” he noted.

Humphrey added, “You better be on the right side of this thing.”

For more information on this issue, visit wfca-pro.org.

A replay of the entire webinar can be found at http://marketingmasterywebinar.com/replay.

Editor’s note: Varden will be the guest expert on the next Marketing Mastery free webinar, “How to Generate Massive Profits with Your Installations,” on Thurs., June 16, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST. Visit fcnews.net to register.

 

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Installation: Self-leveling products keep the flooring world flat

May 9/16, 2016; Volume 30, Number 23

By Ken Ryan

When it comes to a quality flooring installation, the axiom, “It’s what you don’t see that makes the difference,” rings especially true regarding subfloor preparation and self-leveling products. Proper substrate preparation creates the foundation for floors with exceptional aesthetics and performance capabilities. Conversely, taking shortcuts or misusing products can lead to telegraphing and uneven floor surfaces that are not only unsightly but can lead to claims.

Given today’s technology, however, there is no shortage of versatile products from which installers and tile setters can choose. Following are some recent entries to the market and their advantages.

 

Ardex

Customers came to Ardex seeking clearly defined solutions for the range of leveling challenges they typically encounter. The company responded with products that possess specific differentiating qualities branded under the Choose Your Solution program. Choose Your Solution provides leveling choices for standard, exceedingly absorbent and non-absorbent concrete; non-porous surfaces; non-water-soluble adhesive residue over concrete; epoxy coating systems; and even steel or metal.

“If you have a product that makes everybody’s life easier they are going to buy it—especially if it is cost effective,” said Greg Hunsicker, category business manager, flooring and finishing segment, Ardex. “We’re cutting out steps in the installation process, making it more efficient and [resulting in] a better floor.”

Ardex has launched three solution-oriented products. Ardex K-10 with a 25-minute heal time can be reactivated with a spike roller that allows for better blending of pours to create a level finish. Ardex K-16 installs at a thin coat with high compression strength. Moisture-insensitive tile and stone can be installed after six hours; most other flooring surfaces can be installed after 16 hours. Ardex K-60 is a versatile product that does not require water or priming for most applications. “Every now and then you are on a job site and need water but don’t have a source for it,” Hunsicker said. “You don’t need water with this product; you get a perfect mix.”

 

Custom Building Products

Custom Building Products uses its proprietary CustomLite technology in its LevelLite product that is positioned as 40% lighter than other self-leveling underlayments, meaning it is easier to pour and carry. It is most suitable for installations in which weight is a concern.

The company said a 30-pound bag of LevelLite covers the same area as a comparable 50-pound bag of another product. LevelLite helps level floors prior to the installation of ceramic tile, natural stone, resilient flooring, carpet, wood and other flooring options. This quick-setting underlayment can be applied to 2-inches thick in one pour and seeks its own level in minutes. A specially formulated curing technology helps eliminate installation problems such as bond failure, crumbling and staining of resilient flooring caused by the free moisture found in traditional underlayments, the company said.

Another product from Custom Building Products, LevelQuik RS, is a quick-setting underlayment that can be applied to 1.5-inches thick in one pour and also quickly seeks its own level. With proper installation, the use of LevelQuik RS can achieve an extra-heavy rating for high-impact use in food plants, dairies, breweries and kitchens.

 

HPS Schönox

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 11.24.01 AMHPS Schönox, known for its synthetic subfloor levelers, recently introduced a self-leveling compound that can be used as a top level wear layer in addition to a new moisture-resistant acrylic adhesive for use with resilient flooring.

DSP is a wear rated, cement-based, self-leveling compound for use as a concrete topping with a wide range of uses including installations in retail spaces, restaurants, public buildings, entryways, offices, warehouses and even manufacturing areas with moderate industrial loads. With a compressive strength of 7250 psi, Schönox DSP provides an extremely dense and durable surface that can be stained, sealed or polished in interior and exterior areas.

HPS 92 is an acrylic adhesive made for use with resilient flooring including VCT, vinyl enhanced flooring, solid vinyl, and luxury vinyl tiles and planks. It is moisture resistant with subfloors not exceeding 92% RH and can be used over porous and non-porous substrates.

“There is a significant need for a high quality, durable wear layers like DSP as well as the moisture resistance HPS 92 provides,” said Doug Young, executive vice president.

He explained avoiding costly removal of existing substrates and floor coverings is a big concern; as such, Schönox’s synthetic leveling compounds are designed to be poured directly over wood, vinyl, ceramic and a variety of other flooring products or subfloors, eliminating the need for removal that would add to down time.

 

UFloor Systems

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 11.23.54 AMUFLoor Systems, the North American subsidiary of Uzin-Utz AG of Germany, is based in Aurora, Colo. However, its U.S. products are made in a new manufacturing facility in Dover, Del., and sold under the Uzin brand.

Its first batch of U.S. products includes a special raw material technology known as Level Plus Effect. According to Jim Muggleton, product manager, Level Plus Effect provides exceptional flow characteristics to achieve smooth, uniform surface appearance. NC 170 LevelStar, for example, is a product that utilizes Level Plus Effect with a self-drying cementitious leveling compound that provides an extremely smooth finish without depth limitations.

NC172 BiTurbo offers a highly plasticized leveling compound that will allow foot traffic after approximately 60 minutes. “You can hit the job one time, put together a consistent layer and you will have a surface to walk on in one hour,” Muggleton said.

BiTurbo is ideal for use in heavy-duty and industrial areas. As a result of its ability to dry rapidly, complete renovations are possible within one day. Muggleton noted the product was recently used in a hospital project; by the next morning medical staff was walking on the surface. “Cover-ready substrate finishes save the contractor on labor for reduced time in applications.”

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Installation: Study clarifies moisture myths

May 9/16, 2016; Volume 30, Number 23

By Jason Spangler

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 11.19.33 AMIt is well known that water—too much of it, anyway—can wreak havoc on a construction project. No flooring installer or builder wants excess water to be present when the finished floor is installed over a concrete slab. Too much water inevitably leads to a catastrophic flooring failure, which can translate into costly repairs and a damaged reputation. So it is essential that the moisture condition of the concrete slab be evaluated before installing the finished floor.

Scientific studies in recent decades have consistently shown that relative humidity (RH) testing is the most accurate and reliable method for assessing the true moisture condition of a concrete slab. But what about the time needed for ensuring a reliable, accurate test? A soon-to-be-released ASTM Precision and Bias inter-laboratory study that focuses on the ASTM F2170 Standard may prove extremely important for flooring installers and others in the flooring industry. The ASTM F2170 Standard addresses this issue and sets forth other important guidelines that people in the concrete and flooring industry rely on for highly accurate RH testing of concrete moisture. Adherence to the ASTM Standard is important because it greatly reduces the risk of significant moisture-related flooring problems.

The current standard requires that in-situ probes must acclimate in the hole drilled in the concrete for at least 72 hours prior to taking and recording a RH measurement. Until now, it had been assumed that 72 hours was the time needed to allow the air inside the probe to be in moisture equilibrium with the surrounding concrete.

However, the ASTM Precision and Bias study has provided data that indicate otherwise. No appreciable difference was found in RH readings taken at 24 hours when compared to readings taken at 72 hours. Based on a statistical analysis of the data, the new ASTM study shows that when using in-situ probes to measure relative humidity, moisture equilibrium is achieved within 24 hours. This breakthrough finding suggests that changes to the ASTM F2170 Standard may be in order.

In ASTM’s Precision and Bias study, the laboratory tested several manufacturers’ RH products, taking temperature and RH readings at various times from one hour to 72 hours. The results of the study indicated that the 24-hour readings for the tested RH sensors were essentially identical with the 72-hour readings. Some slight variation occurred but it fell well within the acceptable range as laid out by the ASTM Standard.

In other words, the test showed that when installers conduct RH testing properly in the field, they can confidently and soundly know what the RH measurement will be at 72 hours. This is due to the fact that the 24-hour measurement is essentially the same. Of course, installers still need to take measurements at 72 hours to fulfill the ASTM Standard’s requirements. But there is no longer a doubt about how long you must wait to get the necessary data to help you move forward on your project.

The ASTM Precision and Bias study’s significant finding about RH readings provides strong evidence that may support a change in the ASTM F2170 Standard from 72 hours to 24 hours. Based on the study’s findings, this should in no way sacrifice the accuracy and reliability of the RH test. Yet such a change would be beneficial to flooring professionals and their clients as it would help people in the concrete and flooring industry accelerate their projects as needed. This would allow installers and contractors to make important business decisions related to concrete moisture earlier in the sales process.

About the author: Jason Spangler, sales manager for the flooring division of Wagner Meters, has 17 years experience in product developing, including concrete moisture testing equipment.

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CFI’s accelerated carpet Installation training classes filling up

cfi installersDallas–Retailers and students across the country are contacting and booking seats for the International Certified Floor Covering Installers (CFI) exclusive accelerated carpet installation class, the association announced.

To accommodate demand and access to the class, CFI will be offering two options for the next class which will start on May 16th–one class will be available at the CFI training facility in Forney, Texas, and another will run in the WFCA office building in Anaheim, Calif.

“We hit the ground running with our training facility in Forney, and since March we have been turning out certified graduates ready to begin work immediately,” said Robert Varden, vice president, CFI. “This expansion has been a part of our plan. The facility in Anaheim offers the same level of accredited professional instructors, latest equipment, tools and products that are available at the Texas based school, as well as a vast space for training.”

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Protect-All’s Rapid Weld aims to ease installation

March 14/21, 2016; Volume 30, Number 19

By Nadia Ramlakhan

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 10.34.27 AMProtect-All Flooring, which specializes in recycled commercial vinyl flooring, recently launched Rapid Weld, a chemical welding system designed to reduce installation time up to 70%.

Manufactured in the United States, Rapid Weld boasts advantages over grout; while grout can sometimes draw in bacteria, Rapid Weld is not porous so bacteria cannot penetrate it. Another plus: No grout means installers don’t have to regrout the floors every few years. But what tends to resonate most with end users is its environmentally friendly aspect.

“It’s kind of a cool story,” said Jenny Bruzewski, marketing communications manager for Duro-Last, Protect-All’s sister company that manufactures PVC roofing membranes. “Duro-Last found a way to recycle the scrap from the manufacturing process. So we grind it all up and put it through an extruder and make the flooring from that; it’s very unique.”

Several other features of Protect-All flooring include its slip resistance, durability and comfort. “It’s actually more slip resistant when it’s wet [versus] dry, which makes it a really good fit for commercial kitchens and spaces where things are always on the floor,” Bruzewski explained. “It also has a little bit of give to it so it’s more comfortable for people who are standing on it all day. With this floor, they don’t necessarily need the mats that are typically used in commercial kitchens.”

In addition to commercial kitchen applications, Protect-All is ideal for gyms, fitness centers, weight rooms and the like. Due to the floor’s ease of maintenance and cleanability features, the company is expanding into health care facilities as well. “We are starting to branch out into other areas like health care—anywhere you need a watertight, clean, even floor,” Bruzewski explained. “It’s so easy to clean; you spray it down, use a simple solution and scrub, then spray it down again and squeegee it to the drain.”

Protect-All comes in 5 x 8 sheets in a variety of colors with gloss or matte finish options.

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Adhesives: New products go the ‘extra yard’ to simplify installation

February 29/March 7, 2016; Volume 30, Number 18

By Ken Ryan

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 10.41.36 AMAdhesives manufacturers have made a considerable investment in recent years developing products designed to be more environmentally friendly than their predecessors while offering improved bonding properties that accelerate installation times. In particular, many of these new offerings for 2016 were developed to meet the installation demands required for today’s longer, wider planks.

Following is an overview:

Bostik

Ultra-Set SingleStep2 uses Bostik’s Axios Tri-Linking polymer, which combines high-strength adhesive, moisture barrier and sound abatement underlayment technologies in one formulation.

Ultra-Set SingleStep2, which was applied in actor Ed Begley Jr.’s LEED Platinum home, also contains Bostik’s patent-pending Thickness Control Spacer Technology, a proprietary feature ensuring that ideal membrane thickness between substrate and hardwood flooring is maintained.

“Ultra-Set SingleStep2 represents the highest feature set of any Bostik hardwood adhesive,” said Eric Kurtz, marketing manager. “Not only does it offer unlimited moisture vapor protection, but it also provides sound abatement properties equivalent to ¼-inch cork underlayment.”

Kurtz explained the Thickness Control Spacer Technology helps ensure the required membrane thickness for moisture control and sound abatement is maintained, even if installers walk on the flooring before the adhesive has cured.

DriTac

Supreme Green/DriTac 7800 is the company’s newest adhesive for the hardwood flooring industry. Supreme Green is a single-component, premium green sound and moisture control hybrid polymer adhesive that also acts as a crack suppressant. John Lio, marketing director, said Supreme Green is a next-generation adhesive solution that can also isolate old cutback adhesive residue.

Supreme Green offers five solutions in one 4-gallon pail—it’s a hybrid polymer wood flooring adhesive, a concrete moisture control system, a sound control system, and crack suppressant that can isolate problems.

DriTac is also introducing DriTac 7900 Super Grab and Eco-5900 MegaBond. DriTac 7900 Super Grab is a premium-grade urethane adhesive developed for long-length/wide-width plank wood flooring. Its advanced formula is said to provide installers with a permanent bond adhesive that Lio said can control high levels of concrete moisture vapor emissions.

Eco-5900 MegaBond is a premium-grade resilient flooring adhesive that has been specially formulated to help minimize vinyl plank shrinkage, a common problem in the field. This zero-VOC, zero-solvent flooring adhesive can be used for permanent (wet-set) or releasable (dry-set) installations with roll on or trowel application capabilities.

Karndean

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 10.41.44 AMKarndean Designflooring, which has been supplying adhesives to the U.S. market since the late 1990s, is unveiling two adhesives for 2016—Karndean DrySet and Karndean K-Spray. Both adhesives are for use in glue-down products.

Available now, Karndean DrySet is applied quickly and easily with a basic nap roller. It is sold in 1- and 4-gallon pails, providing 350 to 450 square feet of coverage per gallon. The typical drying time after application is 10 to 15 minutes, the company said.

Karndean K-Spray provides an alternative application format to traditional methods. Each 22-ounce spray can provides 150 to 185 square feet of coverage and the adhesive dries in 10 to 20 minutes. The company said its K-Spray uses 80% less adhesive when compared with traditional trowel-applied epoxy and bucket adhesives.

According to Karndean, the products offer increased coverage and bonding strength and are also designed to work with VersaShield moisture barriers. What’s more, Karndean’s DrySet pails are biodegradable and the K-Spray cans are recyclable. “These installation solutions equip retailers and installers with proven technology that provides reliability, quality and ease of use,” said Emil Mellow, vice president of marketing.

Stauf USA

Stauf USA recently introduced Stauf PUK-455, a new adhesive developed specifically for the installation of solid planks without limitations on width, length or thickness over any suitable subfloor.

While Stauf says many single-component urethane adhesives are formulated with great shear strengths for most typical installations, the company claims its PUK-455’s shear strength exceeds 680 psi. As a result, the adhesive can stabilize and help control common cupping problems associated with wide-width solid flooring.

W.F. Taylor

Taylor TruRenew Premium Bio-Renewable is a pressure-sensitive adhesive that the company says is solvent free, nonflammable and water based. This clear acrylic adhesive—which is specifically formulated for the permanent installation of modular carpet tiles, vinyl backed carpet and pad to substrate—can be used wet or dry on horizontal surfaces. In addition, TruRenew is qualified for environmental credit programs and has extremely low VOCs, according to W.F. Taylor.