Different flooring types have their own requirements when it comes to tools and equipment for removal, maintenance and installation. Not only does this ensure that the floor is installed for its intended purposes, but using the right equipment prevents potential installation delays and future flooring failures.

In a previous feature, we gave readers a comprehensive guide on which tools and equipment are needed for removal, maintenance and installation per floor type. For information about using the right techniques and tools, scan this QR code to view this article.

In this feature, we’re looking at the problems that the industry currently faces concerning the use of correct tools and installation methods.

When floors fail due to incorrect installation methods
Flooring failures continue to be a challenge in the industry which results in unsightly and often costly and time-consuming errors to rectify. According to Facilities.net, failures resulting from substrate issues of moisture, alkalinity and inappropriate sealers, concrete treatments or additives, are costing more than a billion dollars in losses each year. Other causes of flooring failure are installers bidding on jobs that they are not qualified to do, contractors hiring the lowest bidders due to a slowdown in the economy and installers who don’t have the tools to install a flooring system according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Flooring installation is as much of a science as it is an art and many trained as well as the inexperienced can tell whether a floor was laid by a professional or not. But whose responsibility is it to ensure that flooring installation entities are providing their contractors with the correct tools and are properly trained to use these tools?

Many South African flooring manufacturers offer product warranties, but these warranties won’t apply if the floor fails as a result of a faulty installation. Moving heavy equipment or using tools that you aren’t trained to use can also pose a safety risk to installers and other people on site. It is for this reason that flooring product manufacturers have taken matters into their own hands and offer everything from extensive knowledge databases and on-site training to product-specific tools so that installation companies not only understand how their products should be installed, but are certified and equipped to do so.

Depending on the severity of the failure or damage and its location, the only option may be to replace a section of the flooring or the entire floor. It is for this reason that hiring the right flooring installer and making sure they are equipped with the correct tools and equipment is worth the extra effort.

Tips when hiring a flooring installation service provider
•    Hire companies who have reputable experience installing the specific flooring material.
•    Ask for references as well as proof of references. An experienced installer will be able to point out potential problems, so make sure they have worked on similar projects before.
•    Ask flooring manufacturers if they have accredited installers that they would recommend.
•    Consult the flooring manufacturer about the correct tools and equipment that should be used for the installation and make sure the installer is equipped with the tools.
•    Consult FITA (www.fitasa.co.za) to find accredited fitters for installation.
•    An improper flooring installation may be covered by a professional installer’s warranty, so ask about warranties before hiring an installer.
•    Ensure there is an open line of communication so that the installer can point out any issues that may arise during the installation project.
•    Don’t be fooled by installers who advertise superfast installations. Even with easy installations, the correct floor preparation and installation can take a considerable amount of time, so make sure this time is adequately accounted for in the construction schedule.
•    Educate yourself on the industry guidelines and standards.
•    Work closely with the installer throughout the project. Don’t be afraid to question an installer if you think you need to.
•    Remember that quality workmanship is more costly but it will pay off in the long run.

Professionally installed floors can make the interior of a building look flawless and increase the value of a project. Ensuring that installers are using the right tools and equipment isn’t one specific stakeholder’s responsibility, everyone should contribute to make sure the job is done right the first time around and that clients get the most out of their installation.

Specialised tip: Many South African flooring manufacturer offer product warranties, but these warranties won’t apply if the floor failed as a result of faulty installation

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to www.facilities.net, www.fitasa.co.za, www.networx.com, www.mkfloors.com.au, www.sawlfa.co.za and www.turnerpeirson.co.za for the information contained in this article.