Tech Talk: What is One of the Unique Challenges You Face in Your Region Related to Wood Floor Installation?

Lenny Hall:
The problem is not technical, limited to wood flooring, and may not even be unique to our area. In southeast Florida, there are some general contractors who sabotage their projects for the sake of minimizing timelines. I find it a shame that some choose to forsake quality and craftsmanship all in the name of maximizing profits.

Scheduling wood floors too early in the build, most times without proper environmental controls and with minimal or nonexistent control of other trades over our in-progress floors makes for a difficult workspace, creates tension between trades, and demoralizes employees that take great pride in their work. The matter is compounded once we are off site and the floors are abused by others with little care or concern.

Kjell Nymark:
One of the most challenging issues with new home construction in the Pacific Northwest is scheduling. The flooring industry has changed considerably in my region and factory finished flooring is installed more often in new home construction than site finished flooring. Many general contractors have not taken this into consideration when developing the construction schedule. Hardwood flooring should be one of the last projects completed, especially if the flooring is factory finished. Trade traffic should be kept to a minimum, and the only trades that a hardwood flooring installer should deal with are the painter and the trim carpenter.

Many flooring contractors fail to realize that commencement of work implies that they have deemed the site acceptable and are, therefore, responsible for its outcome. If the floor fails after installation as a result of starting the project before the site is ready, it is the flooring contractor that is blamed for the failure and has to correct the situation by whatever means is necessary. This could result in heavy losses for the contractor, yet they continually roll the dice for fear of losing the contract.

Jason Elquest:
Concrete moisture. We live in the desert, and everything is dry, right? Not necessarily. We deal with a lot of concrete moisture issues. Concrete is hygroscopic just like wood, so it wants to have the same moisture content throughout, top to bottom. In drier environments, moisture vapor can travel through concrete faster than in a region with more humidity. We also have water of convenience that is added at the time the concrete is poured to keep it from setting up too fast. This gives us a more-porous concrete mixture, in which moisture vapor is allowed to pass through more quickly. Hence, a lot of floors fail due to concrete moisture and improper testing procedures.

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