As we embark on a new year with hope, ambition and cautious optimism, you should be aware of changes in the flooring industry you’ll inevitably be facing. Much of the change is being driven by the green movement concerning everyone. But the green movement is not the only reason for the changes. Issues of installation of flooring material and protecting the products integrity on the floor, relative to the installation, are pressing. There are also issues of recyclability of flooring materials and legislation being enacted to insure this takes place. Case in point is the passage of legislation in the fall of 2010 in California.
Why the big push for installation technology changes? A question really not fair to ask as installation is said to be the biggest problem in the industry. It really isn’t. Installation is the number two position holder. Number one is the wrong product being sold into the wrong place. Since installation presents challenges, it stands to reason ways have to be found to eliminate failures. That said, there are several technologies we are working with the developers of to bring these systems to fruition.
Substrate and environmental issues loom large in compromising installation of both hard and soft floor coverings. Moisture in concrete and wood subfloors will compromise installations. Bringing installation systems into play that can’t be compromised by moisture will eliminate astronomically costly failures. One of those systems is the EnviroSTIX installation system. This installation system utilizes a poly acrylic pressure sensitive adhesive that is not bothered at all by high moisture content in concrete substrates. This installation system can be applied to all hard surface flooring materials and hard backed carpet tiles. EnviroSTIX has been and is being used extensively in health care and commercial installation sites. There has never been a failure of this system in the harshest conditions where every other traditional means of installation have failed. It is the “Go To” system as an alternative to costly mitigation of the substrate.
The FreeLay installation system for any type of broadloom carpet, and carpet tile for that matter, is also an acrylic polymer based coating. It is applied to an attached Kanga Trac backing on the carpet. This system can be installed on any clean substrate. The FreeLay system has been employed in locations where there were broadloom carpet failures eliminating those failures from ever occurring again. Bentley Prince Street carpet markets this system under the name Contact Release. There are numerous installations in homes, hotels, public offices, health care facilities and cruise ships.
The Velcro Corporation has developed a hook square installation system that can and is being used for residential carpet tiles, a product that, in my opinion, will explode in the market place if anyone will finally commit to selling it. This is a do it yourself product that can be installed over any surface, even hardwood. The hook squares can be used for a permanent or temporary installation, which allows for the carpet tiles to be used elsewhere. The system, which can also be used for commercial applications, is simple, works extraordinarily well, and with the right face construction in a residential product, makes the carpet look monolithic not modular. Velcro is also developing an even more extraordinary installation system that plays right into the use of recycled fiber content material on carpet backings.
There are also more click systems for hard surface flooring being used. These systems also eliminate the need for adhesive, are less affected by moisture, although the flooring product can still be affected if high moisture vapor emission exists.
All of these systems, and more, take compromised installation procedures out of play. There will be no more concern for too much open time or not enough open time of adhesive, wrong trowel notch being used, wrong tackstrip, no power stretching, effects of ambient conditions after installation, etc. If we can take the reasons for installation failure out of the equation, except for the human factor of inadequacy, we can eliminate almost all flooring installation failures. The biggest hurdle is the paradigm shift of acceptance. Since this is new science, some of it may seem too good to be true,