Leading manufacturer of high-performance floor preparation products, Setcrete has revealed the top three reasons for flooring installation failures when using floor levelling compounds and adhesives to install textile, resilient or wooden floorcoverings.
The number one cause of floor failure is the presence of damp, compounded by the absence of remedial action before installing the floorcovering. Excess damp may be present in a subfloor in the form of residual construction moisture in the screed or because of rising damp. Subfloor moisture can be easily treated with a rapid set epoxy resin damp proof membrane. Failure to protect against excess moisture can result in the blistering of resilient floorcoverings, warping of wooden floors, and total delamination of a floor covering from the subfloor.
The other two main causes of floor failure are the absence of priming, either before installing a levelling compound or applying adhesive to a subfloor, and the incorrect selection of levelling compounds.
Priming is an essential step in a flooring installation, as it optimises the bond between an adhesive or levelling compound and the subfloor, as well as preventing unacceptably rapid drying of the adhesive or levelling compound when applied over an absorbent subfloor. In both cases, the absence of priming will compromise the integrity of the installation.
Incorrect levelling compound selection is mainly problematic in situations where specific performance characteristics are required. For example, a flexible levelling compound (required for use over plywood or raised access subfloors) will incorporate tiny fibres in the formulation, which act like steel rods in reinforced concrete and allow for slight movement of the compound without it cracking.
Deep base levelling compounds are specially designed to be applied up to 50mm thick, compared to a maximum 15-20mm for conventional compounds. While some levelling compounds are designed to be applied over old adhesive residues (for example when replacing an old floor covering), without needing to remove the residue beforehand.
Using a conventional levelling compound in any of these scenarios risks the likelihood of floor failure.
Commenting on the prominence of these main causes of floor failure, Setcrete Brand Manager Peter Wilson said: “While we see these issues arise relatively frequently, they shouldn’t really ever occur as long as you follow the basic floor preparation rules and select the right products for the job. We try to make things as simple as possible for builders and have a team of technical experts at the end of the phone or contactable via email, who can advise on any flooring situation and the key steps and products needed to deliver a perfect flooring solution.”