A reality check

You problem know about our technical hotline – it’s a way you can contact us with any queries or issues. What sort of calls do we get? Read on…

The problem

Our technical hotline received a call about a failed vinyl floor in a pub kitchen.

The floor had lifted in various sections at the hot welded joint. This meant that water and various contaminants had got under the floor, causing the glue line to degrade and ultimately causing the vinyl floor to shrink back, exposing the subfloor. Clearly, as well as the obvious aesthetic and practical problems this was creating, this was also a hygiene concern, made worse by the fact that the floor was in a commercial kitchen.

Our response

We visited the site to confirm the problem and establish why the floor had failed.

Having established the state of the floor at surface level, we needed to dig a little deeper and take a good look at the subfloor. We had been advised that the subfloor was concrete slab and 18mm plywood. This type of plywood is too thin and totally unsuitable as a subfloor. Also, upon inspection, it was clear that the concrete led down to the plywood via a slight ramp meaning the subfloor wasn’t level.

As standard when investigating a failed floor, we carried out an indicative damp test on the subfloor. The results showed high levels of moisture. Although some water had penetrated the floor due to the failed weld, this wouldn’t be enough to explain the reading. It was clear that there was no damp proof membrane (DPM) in place; there was nothing there to prevent moisture ingress.

Our solution

We recommended the removal of the current floor, followed by its replacement using best practice preparation and installation.

Once the old floor had been removed, the first step was to clean and prepare the surface of the slab. This should always be done in line with the code of practice for the installation of resilient floor coverings (BS 8203: 2001+ A1: 2009). It plays a key role in ensuring a successful installation that will go the distance.

Next we recommended replacing the 18mm plywood with flooring grade plywood. We knew that once the plywood was removed, the exposed slab was most likely to be damp as the concrete slab had been and so recommended the application of a suitable surface DPM.

For a floor to lay correctly and to last, it’s important to have a smooth, flat subfloor. As this had been an issue in this installation, we suggested using a moisture-tolerant smoothing compound over the DPM, to a minimum thickness of 3mm.

Attention also needed to be paid to installing the replacement plywood, ensuring it be securely fixed, allowing no movement. All joints should be feather-edged out, smooth and free of high spots.

Preparation complete then on to replacing the floor.

Given this was for a commercial kitchen, we recommended Altro Stronghold 30. This has our highest rating for slip resistance (Pendulum Test Value ≥55), and was designed specifically to prevent slips in areas where grease, oil, and other related contaminants, such as flour, are found. At 3mm thick it also makes life a bit easier on the feet of busy kitchen staff.

To secure the floor we recommended Altro Fix 19 Plus adhesive; this is moisture-tolerant and therefore ideal for a kitchen environment where spillages and steamy conditions are the norm.

So, all’s well that ends well. The installation was completed and the pub now has a safe kitchen floor that looks good and performs just as it should.

If you do ever have questions about an installation, do contact us on 01 907 5821 and we’ll do our best to help you.

Posted: 11/09/2017 08:00:00 by Lea Charnley | with 0 comments