Here’s a quick look at Floor Craft’s installation services and approach to the different flooring installation options we offer.
In a residential setting, the most common installation method is what is known as “stretched in.” This is performed by installing new tack strip or reusing existing tack strip around the perimeter of the room, and then stretching the carpet and essentially hooking the carpet onto the pins in the tack strip. However, before stretching the carpet, it must be seamed to fit the overall size and shape of the room. In order to do this, measurements are taken and the largest “drops” (full 12′ wide pieces) are cut and then smaller “fill” pieces are seamed onto them in order to cover the entire room. Although it may seem bizarre, carpet actually does have somewhat of a grain to it, meaning that it all must run the same direction or it won’t look the same. So a room’s fills must be seamed up in a way that keeps the carpet all running in the same direction. Take a look at the diagram below to see how this works. Since carpet almost always comes in 12′ wide rolls, rooms any wider than that will always have an unavoidable seam. With a quality installation, those seams are often times completely unnoticeable.
A floating floor may sound like a strange concept, but it has been commonplace in the industry for many years now. Today’s floating floors mostly consist of laminate and rigid vinyl floors, but some wood floors have the ability to float as well. This installation technique is just as it is named: the flooring floats over the substrate or existing flooring unattached to the house itself. The reason the floor remains detached is so that as the house moves and shifts over the years and throughout the seasons, the flooring does not develop gaps or buckle. In order for the floor to float but be contained, it must be bordered on all sides with some form of an overlap profile. This means at walls, a gap is left beneath the baseboards; at cabinets and vanities it is hidden by quarter round or base shoe; and where it meets other flooring transitions, an end cap or T-cap is used to overlap the floor and allow it to move. Floating floors must be installed after cabinets in order to not be pinned down by them. A major advantage of floating floors is their ability to go over existing floors, avoiding expensive removal fees and potential asbestos testing (depending on the existing flooring).
Glue down is probably one of the more generally understood product installation methods, likely due to things like linoleum and VCT (vinyl composition tile) being so prominent years ago. Glue down installations pertain primarily to sheet vinyl and vinyl plank, although some of the wider wood product require gluing as well. This section is mainly going to focus on vinyl products though.
Depending on whether or not the product is going over concrete or a plywood substrate determines if an underlayment is required. If the product is being glued directly to concrete, the area needs to be swept and cleaned thoroughly, along with having and divots or imperfections in the concrete patched. Really rough concrete may require grinding to prevent the imperfections from telegraphing through the vinyl product. If the substrate is plywood, then a 1/4″ plywood underlayment is installed over the top using numerous staples, and all seams between the sheets are sanded to be as flush as possible. Vinyl planks are laid, typically in a random staggered pattern, and glued down with a pressure sensitive adhesive. Sheet vinyl is loosely laid and then cut to fit the area, then glued down. For larger areas, sheet vinyl may require seaming, which is a chemical weld done between two pieces to essentially fuse them together.
If you are interested in installing the product yourself, we would highly recommend going with a vinyl plank. Planks can be pulled up and re-set if not laid perfectly the first time, extra pieces can be ordered in case one gets damaged, and most importantly, the installation is not as difficult as the one shot approach with sheet vinyl.
Tile installation is similar to glue down vinyl installation only in the sense that the subfloor dictates whether or not underlayment needs to be used. Here at Floor Craft, if underlayment is required, we use cement backer board or Schluter Ditra, depending on the application. The cement board is mortared and screwed to the wood substrate, and then a thinset mortar is troweled atop that. From here the tile is set in the desired pattern. If the tile is being set on concrete, such as in a basement, the mortar is typically troweled directly onto the concrete without the use of an underlayment. If you are considering taking on a tile DIY project, make sure to keep the tile spaced consistently, and trowel the mud so that the tile sits plumb and level as well. Depending on the condition of the concrete or plywood, this can be easier said than done.
For wall tile installation, often times a mastic glue is used to adhere the tile to the wall. This is most frequently used for backsplashes and smaller wall tiles. When installing floor tile on walls, thinset can provide a stronger bond to support the weight of the larger tile.
Wood installation could really have its own dedicated section due to all the various installation methods, depending on which manufacturer, size, and specs you’ve selected. However, this section is mainly going to address the nail down method, because it is the most common method used for the floors we sell.
Prior to the wood being installed, a heavy duty paper is rolled out to lay between the wood and plywood to act as an additional barrier and help absorb some of the small imperfections. To begin the installation of a wood floor, the first row is face nailed with a narrow gauge nail to the floor, and then all subsequent rows are stacked off of the first row. Nearly all wood products come with a tongue and groove to help them interlock better. Each groove is slid into the previous tongue, and then its tongue is nailed at an angle all along the edge to secure it before another row is added on to it. This is done repeatedly until the entire floor is covered. Wood can be a fickle product in Colorado’s dry climate, so make sure you take a look at our wood floor disclosure (hyperlink) if you’re interested in this product for your home.