As a contractor, you know that a flooring installation is only as good as your preparation. Every job is different and presents unique challenges you’ll want to be aware of before you begin work.

So, what should you be checking before a flooring job? There are generally four things to check before installing any flooring:

1.    Moisture

Before you begin any work, you need to check the moisture content of the room and the product. We discussed this in detail in our first round of hardwood vs. moisture here on the blog.

All building materials, including flooring products, react to the environment around them. Too much moisture and the boards expand. Too little, and they contract—only to expand again later post-installation.

For these reasons, store materials in a climate-controlled place whenever possible. You can also prevent excess moisture on the jobsite by:

  • Keeping humidity levels between 30-50%
  • Keeping the room temperature between 60° and 75° Fahrenheit
  • Installing a vapor barrier in basements and crawlspaces
  • Checking the moisture content of the subfloors throughout the installation process

2.    Substrate Stability and Guidelines

The quality of the substrate has a big impact on the quality of the flooring once it’s installed. The substrate must be free of all foreign materials, including dust, paint, grease, oils, solvents, curing and hardening compounds, sealers, asphalt, and old adhesive residue.

Also, consider the material of the substrate. There’ll be different requirements for concrete and wood.

Concrete Substrate

Start with a visual inspection. Any chips, cracks, and joints must be repaired using suitable patching and leveling materials.

When installing Landmark Interiors products, we recommend using an in situ relative humidity (RH) probe to check that humidity levels are below 75%. Review the manufacturer’s installation instructions for recommended humidity levels. The concrete should be constructed in accordance with local construction standards and should have a minimum compressive strength following the manufacturer’s installation instructions.

Wood Substrate

Landmark Interiors products require that any wood substrate should be free of wax, paint, and oil and have a moisture content below 12%. Refer to the manufacturer’s installation instructions for recommended moisture levels. Ensure the substrate is suspended high enough above the ground based on manufacturer recommendations. Also, be sure to follow manufacturer instructions for grading and underlayment for maximum stability.

3.    Transitions

Considering what kinds of transitions you’ll need—if any—is a vital part of the pre-planning process for any flooring installation. If needed, consider what your customer expects in terms of matching trims, stair nosing, and other transitions.

Many Landmark Interiors products have matching transitions that create a seamless flow from room to room. However, that’s not the case for all manufacturers. When deciding on which transitions to use for your project, we recommend considering the following:

  • Flooring material
  • Color match
  • Durability
  • Installation
  • Type of building (residential or commercial)
  • ADA compliance

You can learn more about choosing transitions in our blog here.

4.    Your Tools

Beyond anything else, ensure you have the tools needed to complete the job. Every flooring product is different and requires specific tools to install properly.

For example, do you require an adhesive for a glue-down installation, or can the flooring click into place? Can you utilize floating flooring installation? You also want to ensure you bring the right moisture meters to the installation. We recommend metering devices from TRAMEX for concrete and WAGNER for wood.

Double-check the manufacturer’s installation instructions before the job to ensure you have all the right tools when you get to the site.

Ask Us: What You Should Be Checking Before a Flooring Job

When you begin a job as big as a flooring installation, preparation is key to the final product’s success. If you want more information about what you should check before a flooring job, contact the team at Landmark Interiors!

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