Setcrete argues that its specialist products will provide a maximum return for the trades.
With the pressure on to cut costs and reduce your prices or go for the cheapest option to protect your profit margin, there’s huge temptation to trade down to lower cost products when visiting your local builders’ merchants. Peter Wilson, brand manager of floor levelling compounds manufacturer Setcrete shows how going in the opposite direction and opting for premium or specialist products can actually pay dividends in terms of huge time savings on a job or deliver ‘professional shortcuts’ that enable builders to circumvent normally required aspects of the subfloor preparation process.
With the economy the way it is – increasing materials prices on one side and pressure to keep job quotes as low as possible – it’s natural to look at lower cost materials to keep your costs down for customers. OK, you’ll probably have to compromise a bit on quality and the products you use might not be as user friendly as your usual brand, but at least you’ll cut costs.
However, when it comes to subfloor preparation and levelling compounds, there are some situations where it actually pays to trade up from your ‘go to’ preference and use specialist or premium products that will save you time and money and boost your profitability.
Rapid setting, rapid drying levelling compounds, for example, make it possible to level a subfloor so that it’s ready to receive a floorcovering after only two hours. Furthermore, as these superfast products are ‘walk on hard’ after just 30 minutes, they minimise the time that an area is out of commission.
This compares with conventional compounds which need 2-3 hours to become walk on hard and 24 hours before a floor covering can be applied.
The timesaving allows a complete flooring installation to be undertaken in a single day, rather than having to return the following day to finish the work. If you’ve got a full work diary, the efficiency savings mean you can get through jobs more quickly, as well as using a levelling compound that’s a pleasure to work with.
Deep and meaningful
Also, on the time-saving front are deep base levelling compounds that enable floor areas to be built up by up to 50mm and be ready for the next stage of the floor installation just six hours later. Conventional, general purpose levelling compounds can be applied up to a maximum thickness of around 10mm.
These deep base products can be used to level up adjacent floors, for example, where an extension has been built next to a kitchen/dining area, or to fill in a trench where an internal wall has been removed.
Superfast drying delivers a walk on hard time of 90 minutes and the subfloor is ready to receive a floorcovering after just six hours.
Achieving the same result using a sand/cement screed would require a day or two before the floor could be walked on and weeks before the subfloor was dry enough to install a floorcovering.
In situations where an old floorcovering has been taken up, as part of a refurbishment, old adhesive resides will often be left behind, firmly bonded to the subfloor. Before applying most levelling compounds to re-level the subfloor for the new floorcovering, it is essential that this old residue is removed, which normally requires hiring a grinding machine or scabbler.
Otherwise, the stresses imposed on the adhesive residues as the levelling compound is curing can detach the adhesive from the subfloor, creating weak spots that will compromise the integrity of the finished flooring.
However, specialist levelling compounds are now available that are designed for this specific application. They can be applied directly over firmly bonded adhesive residues without risking floor failure. In addition, in such applications, the subfloor does not need to be primed beforehand, saving a further stage of the preparation process as well as the cost of a primer.
Again, with a walk-on hard time of just 90 minutes and ready to receive floorcoverings from just four hours, these levelling compounds offer huge time savings on a job as well as cutting out two usual preparation steps and their associated costs.
When times are tough and money’s tight, the natural instinct is to look at where you can make cost savings. There might also be a temptation to cut corners and, maybe, compromise on the quality of the job. But that can be a risky venture.
Taking a look at the alternatives on offer and trading up instead of down is often a more cost-effective way to go. You’ll also get to use products that are purpose-designed for the job and have the reassurance of the product delivering a high-quality finish.
For further information of Setcrete visit https://setcrete.co.uk/products/.