Indentations getting you down?

Roger Moore looks at what led to a call in to our technical hotline and how we helped solve the issue.

The problem

A call came in about a wet room floor with several track or line indentations showing on the surface of the floor. This particular wet room is in a care home, meaning wheelchairs are used regularly and could be responsible for creating the marks. Water was pooling in the indentations, which staff had to squeegee away between each use, adding to their work load and creating a potential safety issue. Our wet environments floors, Altro Aquarius and Altro Pisces, are designed to cope with wheeled traffic, so straight away this sounded like an installation problem.

Our response

We visited the care home to check the installation, confirm the problem and recommend the best solution.

We could see that the floor had been installed to a good standard; however, it appeared that the adhesive had not cured out in the area where the floor had been laid over the shower tray former. This meant that when pressure was applied, with a wheelchair being a good example, the adhesive would move, creating an indentation in the floor.

The reason that the adhesive behaved like this was down to the type used – it was water-based. It was locked between the shower tray former and the floor, leaving no way for the moisture in the adhesive to evaporate or to soak into the substrate. The result was that the adhesive stayed soft and malleable, meaning it moved whenever put under pressure.

Elsewhere in the room the floor has been installed onto a plywood base and, being slightly porous, this had enabled the adhesive to cure, so there were no issues with the floor here.

In the affected area, the plywood subfloor and the shower tray former met at slightly different heights. This could ultimately affect the life expectancy of the floor as it was sitting proud and would be susceptible to damage. This could have been prevented if a fine smoothing compound had been used to smooth the area where the two materials met. This would have compensated for the slight height difference and created a flat surface for the floor to go onto. Instead, to reduce the height difference, it appeared that extra adhesive had been applied. As much of the adhesive was on the shower former, it couldn’t cure, resulting in the indentation issue mentioned above, made worse by the fact that there was extra adhesive in place. When wheelchairs were moved across the plywood/shower former, the adhesive was pushed further into the shower area which made the indentations worse in that area.

Our solution

To fix the issue in this installation we recommend the following:

  • cut back the floor to beyond the shower tray onto the plywood subfloor. As Altro Whiterock wall sheet had been installed with our recommended hidden transition strip, the floor was easily removed from the upstand areas. The replacement material could then be tucked behind the bottom edge of the wall sheet to create a watertight seal

  • remove all old adhesive ensuring the tray was clean, flat and smooth

  • fill out the difference between the plywood and the shower tray with a suitable smoothing compound and allow it to dry

  • cut and fit the new floor in place

  • install the floor using an appropriate adhesive, one that is suitable for wet areas or for adhering flooring to an impervious surface

  • cove the floor up the walls, bond to the wall and cover former

  • weld all seams, external and internal mitres with a matching weld rod

  • seal the bottom edge of the Altro Whiterock sheet at the junction with the coved skirting with Altro Transparent Sealant

To avoid this type of problem in the first place, we recommend double checking the adhesive you use is right for the material you’re working with, as well as the area you’re installing in. We also recommend using a smoothing compound for any differences in height, or bumps in the floor, as it can head off any problems with imperfections showing through.

If you do ever have questions about an installation or need guidance on adhesives or any other accessories, do contact us on 01 907 5821 and we’ll do our best to help you.

That’s it from me. Until next time…

Roger Out.

Posted: 19/02/2018 08:00:00 by Heather Mussett | with 0 comments