If your click flooring installation has problems, whose fault is it?

If you are installing laminate or luxury vinyl yourself, what do you do to insure the installation doesn't fail? There are things that every installer needs to do if you want a job to go smoothly. Some have to do with getting the job site ready, and others deal with what you buy. Every product has specifications that you are to follow to insure that the job does not fail. Unfortunately, they can't tell you everything.

Like any project, preparation is the first step to a good job. When it comes to flooring, the sub-floor has to be prepared. If you are working on concrete, there are three things to look for or to be aware of before you start. The very first thing is to seal the floor for moisture. Do not go by what others say about using a plastic vapor barrier. It will hold moisture back, but only under the plastic and you can get a buildup of moisture and then mold. The best type of product is a chemical vapor barrier. You can roll it upon the floor and with two coats it will seal the floor. If you don't have a moisture meter to measure the content in the concrete, this will ensure that you won't have a problem later.

The second and third issues are close. Any cracks in the floor need to be filled, and you will need to make sure the floor is as flat as possible. High spots will either need to be feathered out or low areas filled with a leveling compound. This would have to be done on a wood sub-floor as well. Cracks in the floor would need to be filled and high and low spots dealt with. A good way to see if you have low spots is to use a 6' level on the floor and see if you have any gaps between the floor and level. If you have to use a level compound, wrap your level in painter's tape and you can use it to smooth out the compound. You can then take off the tape once you are done.

If you are replacing a floor, make sure the old flooring is totally removed and any damage from the removal is repaired. If you are using a product that glues to the floor, use a primer on the sub-floor to make sure that the adhesive sticks to the sub-floor properly. Putting a new adhesive over an old adhesive or any residue from another flooring may not react well, causing a failure. Any water damage will need to be repaired if you are on a wood sub-floor.

Be aware of what type of flooring you are installing in different environments. If you have large windows, sunlight will create issues if they are not properly insulated or tinted. Wood floors can change color over time with sunlight. Floors that are glued down can have issues under extreme heat if there is a lot of light. Vinyl plank flooring may not react well to intense heat and may buckle if it can't move when clicked together.

It is important to make sure that you leave enough space under the wall trim for flooring to expand and contract. Larger rooms need more space depending on the flooring. If you install floating floors without leaving space, you may cause your floor to buckle later if it can't expand properly. Wood flooring absorbs moisture and then will loose it during winter sometimes causing it to expand and contract.

The last issue is the flooring staying together properly and not coming apart. The best way to avoid this is to buy products found in flooring retail stores. Every time a product comes out and changes the industry as laminate or Coretec, there becomes a large demand for the product. To get more sales and profit, larger corporation box stores buy products with a lower lesser quality and sell it to you. As the quality is lessened to get a better price, the more issues that the product will have over time and fail. That happened with laminate when box stores had an abundance of low cost laminate. Down the road, it would not hold up against moisture and the clicking system would not keep the boards tight. The same has begun with luxury vinyl. The clicking systems have not kept the boards tight, and making the product thinner has allowed it to get damaged easier and not hold up against temperature fluctuations.

When you are purchasing the flooring and getting ready for your project, go to your local retail store such as BPS Southeast Flooring and ask lots of questions. If you can save money doing the installation yourself, then go for it. Just make sure you take the time to do the work to get the floor ready and buy quality flooring. It is worth the cost to have a floor that will not fail you over time. Make sure you do everything that the manufacturer wants you to and that will help protect you if you have an issue down the road. There is no guarantee that you may get an issue, but buying flooring from a retail store means that they will help you file a claim and help get it taken care of to get repaired. Following the manufacturer's steps will ensure you that they will replace any faulty materials and help you get it replaced. You may not get the same service from a box store.