In my travels, I notice that the flooring community is slow to accept change, but in today’s world we are now in a flooring world that is changing at a rapid pace. Flooring products and installations systems continue to evolve and change. Think back 10 – 15 years ago where you were with your busi- ness and how things were done back then. Almost everything in the flooring world has changed and it is hard to keep the pace:
Look at where technology has taken your business in the last 10 – 15 years. Now, just having a website is not good enough as you must be attached to the Social Media outlets as well. Take Haines Connect for example. How many other suppliers and distributors give you the ability to check inventory, order or hold material, and obtain product and installation information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and all at your finger tips at your convenience. For more information on Haines Connect, please contact your JJ Haines Sales Representative. The other week I gave you information on a web- site called Floor Docs that allows you to take pictures and log job site information and create an installation job report right from your computer or mobile device for $1.00 an installation. For more information on Floordocs, please feel free to contact Linda Lockwood at 609-660-1717 or visit Website Link: http://www.floordocs.com or Mobile Link: http://www.m.floordocs.com
20 years ago, felt back products ruled the vinyl world and LVT was a just a thought. Now you have 3 or 4 selections of vinyl flooring (mostly fiberglass), and how would you like your LVT; glue down, floating, click together, lock’n fold, grip strip, or loose laid? 20 years ago 2-1/4″ wide Solid Hardwood was the thing in hardwood. Now, how wide will it go? We have Engineered Hardwood that is 6″ – 7″ wide and now 5″ wide Solid Hardwood is the hot item.
Every flooring manufacturer today has at least one, if not two adhesives in their portfolio that go to 90% Relative Humidity and at least 7-lbs. Calcium Chloride and its still not high enough for some people. We now have some Hardwood Adhesives not even recommending testing for moisture. The only requirement is that the slab must be at least 30 days old. 20 years ago, the highest allowable Calcium Chloride reading was 3 -lbs. and Relative Humidity Testing was not even a thought in the United States.
20 years ago, not many people tested for moisture. Today, the first question on a complaint is “what are your moisture results.” Bad news is, still not enough people are testing and documenting for moisture. Moisture testing is now one of the biggest factors you better be doing before proceeding with an installation. With the trend of wide width hardwood, you better learn how to take moisture readings as the moisture sensitivity of these products has increased.
A lot of installers who installed 20 or 30 years ago are still using the same installation concepts back then on the products today. Many times, those concepts don’t work with the products today. One of the biggest issues I deal with is lack of expansion with flooring products. Years ago, most products were fit net to the wall. Today, with all the floating floors and releasable adhesives you must leave expansion around all vertical objects or these products will fail. There are installers perimeter gluing, straight edge and butting seams, leaving no expansion with the Fiberglass Sheet floors and causing them to fail. They are installing these floors like they did with products 10 – 15 years ago. They did not change their ways. The sad news is that there is more information available today than there was 10 – 15 years ago and it does not get used by the right people. I never get a call on a product complaint were the installer is younger or inexperienced. Every time it is the shops best installer and they have 20 – 30 years experience. If these seasoned installers have not changed their ways or adapted to the products today, they are probably no longer your best installers.
Last but not least, the customer today has changed immensely. We talked above about technology above. Well, your customer has technology at their finger tips too and they use it. I have been in situations, where the customer knew more about the flooring product they were purchas- ing than the store who was selling it. Most customers today, know what they want and have researched the product and the reviews before coming in your store. The customers’ expectations are very different than they were 10 – 15 years ago. A customer has a bad experience with you and you get slammed through web site reviews and social media without even knowing.
I saw this quote on a school billboard and it really hits home in the flooring worlds:
By Failing to Prepare,
You Prepare to Fail!
DriTac: “The Golden Bullet” which is a premium “green” urethane adhesive used for the installation of Engineered, Solid and Bamboo flooring with no moisture testing required and acts as a moisture barrier. The Golden Bullet also offers sound reduction and crack suppression. The only requirements is that the concrete subfloor be sanded with a #3-1/2 open coat sandpaper to remove any dirt or surface contamination and the concrete should be at least 60 days old. There are other products out on the market promoting the no moisture testing, however they are requiring the concrete slab to have a broom finish which will add additional cost for prepping the concrete to this degree.
Armstrong S-500 Seam Coater: Armstrong has introduced the use of S-500 Seam Coating Kit which will be the only recommended seaming solution for the Armstrong residential vinyl sheet floors with a felt backing, including Initiator, Starstep, Memories, Canyon Creek, Station Square, and Royelle. Residential vinyl sheet floors with fiberglass back or vinyl back (Stratamax), both S-761 Seam Adhesive and the S-500 Seam Coating Kit will be recommended seaming options.