Why is surface preparation so important? Simple… it ensures the lasting value of your new flooring installation. When the subfloor isn’t really flat, the “hills and valleys” will, over time, cause problems. Tiles can crack and come loose. Wood or laminate flooring can split or buckle. So, if you expect to stay in your home and enjoy your new floor for many years to come, it’s essential to install the new floor on a well-prepared, flat surface. As I mentioned in the “Flooring Consulation Process,” most floors which fail, do so because of a lack of manufacturer recommended surface preparation procedures.
Most concrete slabs in the Phoenix area don’t meet the Registrar of Contractors guideline of being flat to within 3/16″ inch over 10 linear feet. Many flooring manufacturers specify in order for their material guarantee to be valid, the subfloor must be flattened to a minimum of to 3/16” over 10 linear feet.
Concrete slabs may fail to meet these standards because they weren’t poured flat to begin with, or they may have been affected by soil subsidence over time. It’s not at all uncommon to find floors that have areas that vary a 1/2″ or even more in just 2 feet!
Getting these floors flat is a fairly involved process, and it requires experience and expensive specialized concrete grinding equipment, which most flooring contractors don’t have. Thus, if they address surface preparation at all, many flooring contractors are likely to bring in another company to do it, without the proper concrete grinding equipment – resulting in unforeseen delays and expenses for you… not to mention a big dusty mess in your home.
We have invested over $90,000.00 in highly efficient concrete grinders and state of the art dust control systems. These get the job done quickly and without creating a lasting mess. Our experienced installers use a variety of measuring devices to assure that your floor will be flat over the entire area, not just within ten-foot segments. Because we do the work ourselves, there are no delays in getting your job finished. Our system for flattening concrete is so precise, we can achieve a tolerance of 1/16″ in 50 linear feet.
During your initial flooring consultation, we’ll explain the flattening process and possible costs in detail. If the old flooring material is still in place, we will have to wait until it has been removed before we can determine what condition your subfloor is in, and provide you with definite recommendations and an exact cost.
We feel it is important to educate you about this issue and give you the information you need to make the decision about surface preparation yourself. If your subfloor is not flat to within the manufacturer’s specification and you choose to either not have surface preparation, or have the work done by another contractor, we simply ask that you sign a document releasing us from liability associated with any flooring installed over the areas in question.
If you would like to watch some flooring installation and surface preparation videos, we have many to choose from.
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