Subfloor preparation is an aspect of flooring installations that isn’t getting the attention it deserves. The root of many flooring failures can be traced back to inadequate preparation and not following the guidelines of flooring product manufacturers, says Jeffrey Africa, Managing Director at Tyl-Pro.

“Inadequate subfloor preparations can lead to a number of problems in the final installation such as the delamination of screeds, movement of tiles and extension of failures. It is something that we see in the industry a lot and it is an issue that can be avoided with the right research and preparation. If the right surface preparation methods are followed, there will be much fewer failures in the market,” says Jeffrey.

Jeffrey is of the opinion that the flooring industry as a whole should be more proactive about educating installers about subfloor preparation.

“As product manufacturers, we should be training people to install our products so that they perform according to specification. Contractors also have a responsibility to educate themselves about the right installation conditions, products, techniques and tools to use,” says Jeffrey.

Another challenge in the industry is specifiers who aren’t necessarily requesting product specifications upfront. A good tip for specifiers is to have a comprehensive specification for contractors to quote on.

“Many times the correct surface preparation hasn’t been budgeted for in the project costs and then contractors need to cut corners in order to meet budget restrictions. If specifiers have a detailed, step-by-step specification then contractors can quote for every aspect of the job. That way, clients won’t be tempted to opt for the cheapest quote because many times a lower quote is an indication of a contractor who is side-tracking a large portion of the project, such as subfloor preparation,” explains Jeffrey.

Besides specifications from manufacturers, other aspects that need to be considered include the temperature during installation, the curing time of products, the moisture content of the subfloor as well as making sure that the correct water ratios of self-levelling screeds are being used.

“Water ratios in screeding compounds can be a very crucial part of a tiling project, for example. If you don’t get this right, you could end up with hairline cracks, colour variations and delamination of tile screeds,” says Jeffrey.

Jeffrey has been in the tile adhesive industry for almost three decades and Tyl-Pro offers a wide range of adhesives for virtually any type of installation. The company has a factory in Johannesburg, and in 2016 opened a factory in Cape Town to service the local market.

For more information, contact Tyl-Pro on Tel: +27 (11) 762 1179 or via www.tylpro.co.za.