Common Mistakes: Resilient Flooring

May 1, 2007
Make sure you base your flooring purchases not on the latest color or pattern trends, but on the needs of your application

Employing a team of experts to help you make your resilient flooring decision might be the best way to avoid a major mishap. Working with a flooring dealer and an interior designer/ architect can help ensure that all bases are covered. "I have almost never seen that combination fail," notes Russ White, president, RWA Flooring Solutions, Grapevine, TX. Involving a knowledgeable team means that all potential challenges will be identified ahead of time; it can also reduce fingerpointing if problems occur, says Bob Murdoch, vice president at Point Pleasant, NJ-based M.E. Sabosik Associates Inc.

White emphasizes that the flooring chosen should be complementary to the usage of the space. "A lot of times, it's just picked because of color or because it's cutting edge." Think about whether the application has a lot of foot traffic, whether it will be subject to scratching, etc. Most of the time, choosing light-colored resilient flooring is not a good idea in rooms and hallways where people are constantly moving around. Rockville, MD-based Resilient Floor Covering Institute Technical Consultant Bill Freeman's advice: In heavy-traffic areas, consider specifying medium to dark multi-colored, patterned floors. He also recommends patterned, textured resilient flooring if you're installing over an existing subfloor that isn't very smooth.

In addition to understanding your application, be aware of your team's maintenance capabilities. If you can't spend the time needed to properly maintain resilient flooring, own up to that fact. "I've dealt with facilities professionals that say, 'We're locked in to this maintenance program because of certain reasons and our maintenance program won't be changed,' " says White. If this is an issue, durable wear layers should be the first characteristic you look for in a resilient floor. Freeman says that some sheet flooring includes high-performance coatings that offer reduced maintenance and provide a newer-looking appearance for an extended period of time.

Find out what the manufacturer's recommendations are before buying any type of flooring system. Freeman says that manufacturers should be able to tell you about load limits, moisture and chemical resistance, light-reflectivity values, and impact-noise ratings - all of which will influence whether or not a certain resilient floor will be appropriate for your application.

As Murdoch points out, every resilient flooring product has its advantages and disadvantages. VCT often features lower installation costs, but higher long-term maintenance costs. Sheet vinyl is typically more resistant to moisture from above, but is restrictive in terms of how much moisture it can tolerate from below due to a low tolerance for slab moisturevapor emission rates that are 40-percent below that of VCT. The trick here is being aware of the challenges presented by your application.

SIMON SAYS: Find a product with an established history and a reputation for performing well over time. Otherwise, you’ll be faced with a product that looks good online or in a sample, but doesn’t live up to your expectations.

Other common mistakes:

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